Title – Kafan & Other Short Stories
Author – Munshi Premchand [Hindi]
Type – Fiction / Anthology of Short Stories
Reading Prompt – #12 – A book written by an Indian author who writes in a language other than your mother tongue or English
For this prompt, I opted to read a book in Hindi. It’s been ages since I’ve read a page, let alone a book, in this language.
I’m familiar with Munshi Premchand, as his short stories have been a part of the school syllabus.
‘Kafan Evam Anya Kahaniyan’ or ‘Kafan & Other Short Stories’ is an anthology of short stories. I was only familiar with Kafan. Reading this was a breezy experience, as it triggered beautiful memories of my Hindi classes.
As I continued to read further, the enjoyment diminished a bit. And I blame myself for it.
Premchand’s Hindi, as we all know, is peppered with lots of Urdu and colloquial words. The problem began when some shuddh Hindi words appeared. I had to pause and reread the sentence for context. [I was too lazy to consult a dictionary].
Nevertheless, I managed to finish the book in three days. Some instances were hilarious, and it was almost as if Premchand were a visionary.
In Kashmiri Seb, he talks about how Indians accept anything if it’s validated by a person from the West. Pandit Moteram ki Diary talks about an unscrupulous person who writes anything related to the cow is sacred to Indians. Deja vu, anyone?
I slowly got the hand of reading in Hindi after a long time, but next time, I will opt for a contemporary writer. Even if it means that his work is accompanied by lots of English phrases like complex, apartment etc.