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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. 

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