Indian Literature

Now I Remain For Myself By Bahinabai Chaudhari

Now I Remain for Myself by Bahinabai Chaudhari

Now I Remain For Myself By Bahinabai Chaudhari
Now I Remain For Myself By Bahinabai Chaudhari


“Now I Remain for Myself” is a collection of Marathi poems written by Bahinabai Chaudhari, a prominent Indian poetess who comes from the state of Maharashtra. Originally composed in the late 19th century, Chaudhari’s verses beautifully express her personal experiences, emotions, and reflections on various aspects of life.

Bahinabai’s poems reflect her life experiences, her observations of nature, her love for her land and culture, and her wisdom and philosophy. She wrote about the joys and sorrows of a farmer’s life, the festivals and rituals of Maharashtra, the beauty and bounty of nature, and the spiritual quest for self-realization. Her poems are simple, spontaneous, lyrical, and profound. They have a universal appeal and resonate with the common people.

One of her most famous poems is “Now I Remain for Myself” (मी आता माझ्यासाठी राहिले), which expresses her sense of liberation and detachment after losing her husband and children. The poem is written in the first person and has four stanzas of four lines each. The poem has a regular rhyme scheme of abcb in each stanza.

About Bahinbai Chaudhari

Bahinabai Chaudhari was born into a poor and illiterate family of farmers. She was married at the age of 13 to Nathuji Khanderao Chaudhari, who was also a farmer and a poet. She had four sons and two daughters, but only one son survived. Her husband died when she was 30 years old, leaving her alone to manage the farm and the household.

Bahinabai Chaudhari learned to read and write from her husband, who encouraged her to compose poems. She wrote about her daily life, her joys and sorrows, her love and devotion for her husband, her struggles and hardships as a farmer, and her observations of nature and society. She also wrote about her spiritual beliefs and her devotion to Lord Vitthal, a form of Vishnu worshipped by the Varkari sect.

Bahinabai Chaudhari’s poems were not written down by herself but were memorized and recited by her son Madhusudan, who later published them in various magazines and books. Her poems became popular among the masses as well as the literary circles, and she received recognition and appreciation from eminent writers and critics such as N.C. Kelkar, V.S. Khandekar, P.K. Atre, and Sane Guruji.

Themes Of Now I Remain For Myself

Nature and Rural Life

Chaudhari’s poems often celebrate the beauty of nature and capture the essence of rural life. She vividly describes the changing seasons, the agricultural activities, and the natural elements surrounding her, reflecting a deep connection to the land and its rhythms.

Feminine Sensibilities

 Chaudhari’s poetry portrays women’s experiences, emotions, and struggles in a patriarchal society. She addresses themes such as love, marriage, motherhood, and societal expectations, offering a glimpse into the complex inner world of women during her era.

Spirituality and Devotion

 Deeply religious, Chaudhari’s verses frequently convey her devotion to the divine. She explores faith, spirituality, and the pursuit of inner peace, infusing her work with a sense of spiritual transcendence.

Summary Of Now I Remain For Myself

The poem begins with the speaker lamenting the loss of her husband, who was her companion and support in life. She feels like a bird whose nest has been destroyed by a storm. She wonders how she will survive without him, who will take care of her, and who will share her joys and sorrows. She feels like she has lost everything and has no purpose in life.

In the first stanza, the speaker says that she has now remained for herself after losing her husband and children. She says that she has no one to call her own or to care for her. She says that she has become free from all worldly attachments and expectations.

In the second stanza, the speaker says that she has now become indifferent to praise or blame, happiness or sorrow, honor or dishonor. She says that she has transcended all dualities and distinctions. She says that she has attained a state of peace and equanimity.

In the third stanza, the speaker says that she has now realized her true self, which is beyond birth and death, name and form, time and space. She says that she has merged with the supreme reality, which is eternal, blissful, and pure. She says that she has become one with God.

In the fourth stanza, the speaker says she has become free from all desires and fears. She says that she has no need for anything or anyone. She says that she has reached the ultimate goal of life.

Analysis Of Now I Remain For Myself

The poem is a remarkable expression of the poet’s spiritual journey from grief to liberation. The poem shows how the poet transformed her suffering into an opportunity for self-discovery and enlightenment. The verse also shows how the poet embraced the philosophy of Vedanta, which teaches that the true self is identical to Brahman, the supreme reality.

The poem uses simple words and images to convey profound truths. The poet uses metaphors such as “the world’s net” (जगाचा जाळा) to describe the bondage of worldly attachments, “the sky’s limit” (आकाशाचा थोर) to describe the transcendence of time and space, and “the ocean’s shore” (समुद्राचा किनारा) to describe the attainment of bliss and peace.

The poem also uses repetition to emphasize the poet’s transformation. The phrase “now I remain for myself” (मी आता माझ्यासाठी राहिले) is repeated at the beginning of each stanza to mark the contrast between her past and present state. The phrase “now I have” (मला आता) is repeated at the end of each line in the third stanza to show her realization of her true self.

She concludes the poem by saying that now she remains for herself, but not in a selfish or egotistic way. She says that she remains for herself as a part of the whole creation, as a drop of water in the ocean, as a ray of light in the sun, as a flower in the garden. She says that she remains for herself as an expression of God’s beauty and bliss.

The poem is also notable for its feminist perspective that challenges the patriarchal norms and values of Indian society. Bahinabai Chaudhari expresses her autonomy and agency as a woman who has survived many hardships and oppressions. She rejects the roles and duties that are imposed on women by men and society. She claims her right to live according to her own will and desire. She affirms her dignity and worth as a human being who has a unique identity and voice.


The poem is a powerful testimony of Bahinabai Chaudhari‘s courage, wisdom, and spirituality. It shows how she overcame her grief and suffering by finding meaning and joy in herself and in God. It shows how she challenged the norms and expectations of society by asserting her individuality and freedom. It shows how she celebrated her womanhood and humanity by embracing her nature and spirit. The poem is also an inspiration for women who seek to assert their individuality and freedom in a male-dominated world.

The poem is also an inspiration for anyone who seeks to overcome suffering and find meaning in life.

Poem Short Version

Now I remain for myself,
No one to blame or praise,
No one to love or hate,
No one to please or displease.

I am my own master,
I am my own guide,
I am my own friend,
I am my own judge.

I am free to choose my own path,
I am free to follow my own dreams,
I am free to be myself.

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Borders and Boundaries by Ritu Menon

Borders And Boundaries By Ritu Menon and Kamla Bhasin

Borders and Boundaries by Ritu Menon
Borders and Boundaries by Ritu Menon


            “Borders and Boundaries” is one of the best books of partition Literature, written by two Indian writers and activists – Ritu Menon and Kamla Bhasin. This book describes – Women’s experiences who lived during the partition, the country’s bloodiest event. The Independence of a secular India and the establishment of an Islamic Pakistan in 1947 triggered a wave of violence along the border areas. Statistically over eight million people have fled their homes as a result of the crisis and approximately one million have died as a result of it. The women were widowed, Kidnapped and murdered, or forced to marry men as revenge.

About Title

            “Borders and Boundaries”, full title “Borders and Boundaries Women in India’s Partition” describes the events that occurred by showing the perspective of two groups of women: firstly the survivors of domestic violence and secondly, the workers or NGOs who helped them get them on their feet.

The book is divided into four parts.

  1. The first part provides an overview of the historical context of Partition.
  2. The second part examines the violence against women during partition, such as communal riots, mass suicides, and abductions.
  3. The third part looks at the recovery of women after Partition, such as their repatriation, resettlement, remarriage, or rejection.
  4. The fourth part analyses the impact of Partition on women’s identity and citizenship, such as their sense of nationhood, religion culture, and feminism.

The Suffering of Women During Partition

         In order to better understand the struggle faced by the women in India during the partition, it is first best to understand the historical context of the region and the cause of the partition.

            The partition of India is considered to be one of the greatest tragedies in history. The partition resulted in the division of both Hindus and Muslims who had resided together for hundreds of years. This led to immense territorial conflicts such as – boundary disputes three wars between both India and Pakistan, a nuclear arms race and cross-border terrorism, and the Kashmir conflict remaining unresolved.

During five decades, they have fought four wars. Three of those wars were over the disputed region of Kashmir. Thousands of women, both Hindu and Muslim, were abducted by men of the other community during the communal riots. That the states of India and Pakistan intervened to recover a total of over 30,000 abducted women from each other’s territories until 1957, and later the Abducted Persons Recovery and Restoration Act 1949.

            The Novel “Borders and Boundaries” begins by emphasizing how women were instructed or forced to mass Suicide, had their body parts such as their feet, hands, and breasts cut off, and were kidnapped and raped, in the midst of the regional conflict between different religious groups such as – The Hindu, Muslims, and Sikhs. The authors try to target a different aspect and in specifically explain the recovery of women, the Hindu and Sikh women of India, and the Muslim women in Pakistan in the aftermath of the partition.

            The Novel talks about a series of events that explores the histories as recounted by authors. In the book, the women during the partition who were sent back to the country and the women who organized for these women to be sent back are defined to be the protagonists.

            Once, a group of Muslim girls who are forced to go to Pakistan bitterly ask the woman who arranged their repatriation, “Who are you to decide for us?”. But “Mridula Sarabhai”, who spearheaded the bill for the return of Kidnapped and abducted women, argues that repatriation is a citizen’s right.

            So, partition forced women to become victims of the riot situation. They felt dislocation and lost their respect and dignity because of abduction and sexual abuse. Women were tied down by cultural obstacles within their respective communities through a patriarchal system. Men come back heroes from the war, while after the riots and the war, women’s existents seem to hold no meaning at all and they remain in the calamity all the time.

            Thus, Borders and Boundaries Women In India’s Partition is a book that explores the impact of Partition on women’s lives, identities, and citizenship.

Analyse of The Preface written by Ritu Menon

        In the preface, Menon writes that she was born in 1951, four years after India’s partition. She says that she grew up with a sense of pride in being a part of a new nation that had won its freedom through a non-violent movement led by “Mahatma Gandhi”. She also says that she was aware of the trauma and violence of Partition, but only as a distant event that had little impact on her life.

She admits that she knew very little about the experiences of women who had suffered during the partition. Menon realized that there were millions of women like her who had been silenced and marginalized by history. She also realized that partition was not a one-time event, but a continuing process that shaped the lives of women across borders and generations.

            So, Ritu Menon’s writing reflects a sense of pride and celebration of the freedom achieved through non-violent means in India. The phrase “glorying in the Freedom gained through non-violence” suggests the author views the method of non-violence, as a noble and honorable way to achieve freedom.

             Furthermore, the author’s use of the phrase “Our gift to liberation Struggle everywhere” implies that the success of India’s non-violent struggle for independence served as an inspiration to other liberation movements around the world.

            The Author’s use of the phrase “Safely between the covers of our History book” suggests that these events were viewed as something to be learned from and remembered but not necessarily directly relevant to contemporary times. This reflects that, after gaining independence, India was looking forward to a new era of Freedom and Progress.


         Thus, the book “Borders and Boundaries” by Ritu Menon and Kamla Bhasin is a feminist history of the partition of India in 1947, which resulted in the creation of two nations, India and Pakistan, and the displacement of millions of people. The book focuses on the experiences of women who faced violence, abduction, rape, widowhood, and loss of identity during the Partition. The Authors argue that Partition was not only a political event, but also a social and cultural one, that affected women differently than men.

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Ice Candy Man Cracking India

Ice Candy Man By Bapsi Sidhwa | Cracking India Summary

Ice Candy Man Cracking India
Ice Candy Man Cracking India


          Ice Candy Man by Bapsi Sidhwa is a historical fiction first published in India in 1988. It was translated into English under its new title ‘Cracking India’ in 1991. The events of the novel are based on the 1947 partition of India that created the majority-Muslim country Pakistan. It is set in Lahore, a city in Punjab that suffered many riots and violence among Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs and that finally became part of Pakistan. The Partition forced all non-Muslim people to migrate to other cities or to convert to Islam. The partition of India is regarded as the largest mass migration in human history and its brutality is even compared to that of the Holocaust.

            The Political and Social upheaval engendered by independence and partition included religious intolerance that led to mass violence, killings mutilations, rapes, dismemberment, and therefore the wholesale slaughter of infants, Children men, and women.

About Bapsi Sidhwa

            Bapsi Sidhwa is a Pakistani American novelist and women’s rights activist. She has produced four novels in English that reflect her personal experience of the Indian Sub-continent partition, abuse against women, immigration to the US, and membership in the Parsi community. She was born in Karachi and witnessed the bloody partition of the Indian subcontinent as a young child in 1947. Her first and second novels The Bride and The Crow Eater received countless rejections. But after she has received numerous awards and honorary professionals for these two works and her two most recent novels, Cracking India (Ice-Candy-Man) and An American Brat which have been translated and published in several languages.

Justification of The Title

         The title of the novel Ice Candy Man seems to be contradictory. Because the story of this novel revolves around the bloody partition of the Indian subcontinent during the late 1940s. Moreover, the novel focuses on feminism. However, the title Ice-Candy-Man holds great significance.

            Ice Candy Man in a broader sense refers to every man of the Indian Sub-continent. The men are as sweet as candy before the partition. There exists communal harmony among the people belonging to different communities. The masseur, the gardener, the Ice-Candy-Man, etc. all belong to different faiths yet they sit in one group cracking jokes and talking about trending issues. But this situation vanishes with the breaking of violence of partition. Ice-Candy-Man is seen celebrating the vista of Lahore burning in flames and feels excited about the death of the masseur. All this show how fake is the sweetness of man.

            The other perspective of vindicating the significance of the title is to narrate the story of Ice-Candy-Man. He is a good person having a humorous nature when we meet him in the beginning. But when the partition takes place, he changes into a villain. He helps the Muslim mob locate Ayah’s hiding, who drags her out of the house and takes her to Kotha, where she is gang raped and forced to become a prostitute. But again he finds a transformation in his character and he repents his actions and marries Ayah. He also becomes a poet. He tries to convince Ayah about his true love but she leaves for Amritsar.

            This shows the complex nature of a human being that cannot be judged. Hence the title Ice-Candy-Man of the novel carries a great and profound significance both in terms of humanity as well as the individual.

Themes of The Novel


         Partition is one of the main themes of Ice-Candy-Man. Lenny an eight-year-old child is the protagonist of the novel. She is innocent and unaware of the bitter differences among different communities. But as the novel develops, her innocence withers away and the bloody experience of the partition takes its place. She gradually becomes aware of the dark realities of life. She witnesses the city of Lahore burning into flames. She also becomes aware of the violence that happens. Males are butchered and women are raped.

            Such incidents of violence bother Lenny very much in the beginning, but with the development of the novel, she becomes used to it. Burning flames, fights, Slogans, rapes, mass killings, etc. become the incidents of every day. In most of the novels dealing with partition, leaders like Master Tara Singh, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Jinnah, and Gandhi are represented as heroes. But in Ice-Candy-Man we find them represented as Culprits of violence in the views of Lenny.

            According to Bapsi Sidhwa, the unnecessary bloodshed to gain a separate country will always haunt the minds of those who lost their families, friends, and close ones.


         Bapsi Sidhwa is entirely a feminist. In this novel, she describes the theme of marriage and the problems of women regarding different aspects of their lives. Writing from the perspective of feminism, there is also an issue of early marriages. Society limits women by bounding them into marriage and making them responsible before time. Women shouldn’t curse, lie, and steal but men can do all this. Lenny is not comfortable with all restrictions and complains by saying:

“It’s okay if cousin swears
 but if I curse or lie
 I am told it does not
 Suit the shape of my
 mouth. Or my personality
 and something.”


       Betrayal is a central theme in the novel. The country of India betrays its own people whether Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian or Parsee by enforcing a hasty, Ill-conceived plan of moving millions of refugees from one country to another.

Religious Intolerance

         Throughout the novel, Character’s desire for power or influence over others mirrors the desire for political power that fuels religious intolerance, Religious intolerance erupts into violence. Lenny witnesses many acts of killing, maiming, and death. Religious intolerance also becomes a way for men to subjugate women.

Politics and Leaders

         In the novel, Sidhwa presents her own opinions and beliefs about the personalities and characters of Gandhi, Nehru, and Jinnah through the narration by Lenny. The writer has compared Nehru with Jinnah. In the comparison, she criticizes Nehru and favors Jinnah. There are various instances in the Novel where the writer defends Jinnah. Sidhwa herself once considered the book as a defense of Jinnah.

Configuration Of Love

         Ice Candy Man is a novel that tells us about the different shades of love. The cruel, pitiless, and obsessive form of love is exhibited in the Ayah and Ice-Candy-Man relationship. The unconditional love between Lenny and Ayah is the purest form of Love.


            Ice Candy Man is the only novel of Bapsi Sidhwa in which she used child narration. It has been narrated by a polio-stricken Child named Lenny, a daughter of a Parsi family in Lahore that reminds the reader of the Childhood of the writer herself. The first-person narration technique used by the author in the novel makes readers feel as if they were reading the autobiography of the writer.

            Through Lenny’s narrative, Sidhwa has raised some gender-related issues too. Her narration begins in her fifth year and finishes after her eighth birthday. Violence bothers Lenny very much in the beginning but with the development of the novel she becomes used to it. According to Lenny leaders like Tara Singh, Mahatma Gandhi, J. L. Nehru, and Jinnah are represented as the Culprit of Violence.

            Thus, the device of the child narrator has been very successfully used by Sidhwa in Ice Candy Man.

Sidhwa’s observation on Nehru

            Bapsi Sidhwa has compared Nehru with Jinnah. In the comparison, she criticizes Nehru and favors Jinnah. The writer shows Nehru as Lady Mountbatten’s lover. According to Bapsi the British government has done injustice to Jinnah and favoured Nehru.

Analysis Of The “Ice Candy Man” Novel

          The novel is about the partition of India. The plot starts with Lenny, a 4-year-old Parse girl who recounts her childhood memories after she is struck by polio in her infancy. She spends most of her time with Ayah (Shanto) an 18-year-old Hindu girl from Amritsar and she learns a lot about adult relationships. Ayah is so beautiful that everyone from the shopkeeper to the beggar stares at her in the street. She has a number of suitors including Masseur, Sharbat Khan, and Ice-Candy-Man. Every evening, Lenny is taken out to the garden or the zoo, or to other such places by Ayah.

            Col Bharucha, Lenn’s surgeon had put a plaster over their leg to correct it. When he is taking away the plaster, Lenny is apprehensive that the fault might have been corrected Col Bharucha Consoles Leny’s mom, saying,

“If anyone’s to blame, blame
 the British! There was
 no polio in India till
 they brought it.”

            The Ice Candy Man is presented as a lovable rascal, who knows how to trick both the English and Ayah. However, his dark side is hinted at when he dangles Lenny’s brother Adi from his arms and threatens to drop him unless Ayah goes to the cinema with him.

             Another critical incident was Lenny accompanying Imam Dinto his native village Pin Pindo, where, unlike Lahore. Hindu Muslims and Sikhs live peacefully. Iman Din was the sixty-two-year cook of Sethi’s family (Mr. and Mrs. Sethi, Lenny’s mother). Lenny meets Imam Din’s ground children Ranna, Khatija, and Praveen. The village Chaudhary the Mullah, the granthi, and other villagers strongly express, their Solidarity and couch to protect each other, asserting that the city’s madness will not infect the villages. Slowly and gradually Lenny starts witnessing the change in her.  

            Lenny sees people around her belong to separate religious communities. Ayah and the family gardener Hari are Hindus. Imam Din, the odd–job man yourself the Ice Candy Man and, the Massear, are all Muslims. The Zookeeper Sher Singh is Sikh. She notes how each group has its own way of dressing, eating, and worshipping. As the relations between these communities get worse, Lenny becomes more and more aware of their differences.

When Master Tara Singh, a Sikh political and religious leader visits the city and threatens the Muslims there violence breaks out. People start fighting fires and killing each other. This period also sees a growing intimacy between Ayah and the Masseur with the Jealous Ice-Candy-Man constantly staking and observing them.

            The news of Partition gets confirmed by April of 1947. The overnight new nation of Pakistan. Lenny remarks. I am Pakistani. Just like that, the political situations beings to be serious. While Hindus and Sikhs are leaving Pakistan for India, some of the Muslims in India are behaving for Pakistan.

            One day, a train comes carrying Muslim refugees from India. Ice Candy Man finds that his female relatives traveling on the train have all been murdered and mutilated. In revenge, he joins the mobs attacking Hindus and Sikhs or robbing their properties out of fear, the gardener Hari converts to Islam.

            Ranna, Imam Din’s great-grandson, escapes with his life when groups of Sikhs enter Pir Pindo, massacre everyone in the village, and rapes the women. Rahna, once he reaches his grandfather, shares his terrible story with everyone, including Lenny.

            The story reaches its Climax when a Muslim mob comes to Lenny’s house. From their name, this mob assumes that they are Hindus. Imam Din comes out to protect the house and tells that this is a Parsee household. Yet the group wants to know what happened to the Hindu nanny Ayah. Ice Candy Man comes up to Lenny to ask where she is hiding. Lenny thinks she can trust the Ice Candy Man and disclose the truth. Ayah is dragged out of her hiding place. Lenny, shocked repents her trust in Ice Candy Man. Ayah is taken to Hira Mandi and is managed as a prostitute thereby Ice Candy Man. Lenny feels guilt-stricken.

            When Godmother tries to locate Ayah she comes to know that the Ice Candy Man has married her after keeping her as a prostitute. Godmother plans to visit to see Ayah, now Mumtaz after her marriage. Lenny insists on going with her to Hira Mandi. Lenny is shocked to see the sadness in Ayah’s eyes.

            Ayah, who is not Mumtaz pleads to Godmother to send her back to her relatives at Amritsar. Godmother assures her that she will be rescued. Thereafter Godmother’s contact helps Ayah to get free from Hira Mandi and Ice Candy Man. She is lodged in a recovered Women’s camp on Warrish Road.

Ice Candy Man tries to meet her but is beaten up by the guards. He now becomes a dejected lover, reciting love songs, searching for her lost love. One day Lenny comes to know that Ayah with other Hindu women, has been shifted to Amritsar to her family. She also gets the news that Ice Candy Man has also followed her across the Wagah Border into India.


            Thus, in the Novel Ice Candy Man, we learned the social-political impact of the Partition of the Indian subcontinent through the point of view of a minor disabled girl, Lenny from the Parsee community. Khushwant Singh an Indian author and politician says,

“Ice Candy Man deserves to be ranked as amongst the most
 authentic and best on the Partition of India…
 Sidhwa has blossomed into Pakistani’s best
 writer of fiction in English.

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Toba Tek Singh

Toba Tek Singh Summary and Analysis

Toba Tek Singh
Toba Tek Singh


            Toba Tek Singh is a short story based on the partition of India, written by Saadat Hasan Manto. It was first written in Urdu and published in 1955. It is interwoven with the theme of partition and its emotional and psychological effects on the human psyche. Manto very realistically depicts the division of society into different sects after the partition in the name of religion. It tells the story of the migration of Hindus and Muslims to India and Pakistan respectively after partition in the name of religion.

            The story is set two or three years after the 1947 partition when the governments of India and Pakistan decided to exchange some Muslim, Sikh, and Hindu lunatics. It revolves around Bishan Singh, a Sikh inmate of an Asylum in Lahore, who is from the town of Toba Tek Singh.

About Saadat Hasan Manto

           Saadat Hasan Manto was a Pakistani writer, playwright, and author born in Ludhiana, British India. He was writing mainly in Urdu, He added approximately 22 Collections of Short stories, a novel, five series of radio plays, three collections of essays, and two collections of personal sketches to the history of English literature.

His best short stories are appreciated by writers and critics even today. Mostly his works deal with different subjects such as partition, human life, social taboos, communal violence so on and so forth. Manto has basically given voice to the hard and naked truth of society no one ventured to talk about. He is opposed to the partition of India.

Satire On Partition

            Toba Tek Singh is regarded as Satire on Partition. It reflects how after partition the political system of both countries India and Pakistan forces the common people to leave their native place on the basis of religion. Therefore, the decision of the Higher Authorities of both India and Pakistan, that non-Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs should go to India, divided people on the basis of religion and forced them to leave their ancestor’s homes against their will. Thus, in the story, Man to portrays very patently the griefs, and woes of the affected families the sad plight, and the tormenting experiences of the people who were displaced forcibly from their ancestral homes in the name of religion.

            Before partition, people lived in harmony and love with one another irrespective of religion and culture. But once the boundaries were drawn all these things come to end, Thereby promoting religious hatred among the common people. People began to hate each other on the basis of religion.

            The story very realistically portrays the emotional trauma of the partition. A Hindu Lawyer with a girl from Amritsar turns mad and experiences a sense of grief when Amritsar becomes part of India, when he comes to know that he is now being sent to India, the country where his beloved lives, he doesn’t feel happy and is not willing to leave his ancestral home.

            The partition created havoc problems for millions of people some of whom were transported to other places, many were displaced. Many refugee camps were made based on religious identities. There was a wide range of violence that resulted in the loss of millions of people. The Hindus started to flee to India and the Muslims to Pakistan and in that journey, many died. The violent nature of the partition created an atmosphere of hostility and suspicion between India and Pakistan that plagues their relationship to the present.

            The effect of partition still now in modern times the hostility remained, based on the religious identities of human beings.

Setting – The setting of the short story is mainly inside a lunatic asylum in Lahore and also at the Wagah border check post.

Story Analysis

            The story is about Bisha Singh and some other lunatics who live in Lahore Mental Asylum. The story starts two or three years after the partition. The Governments of India and Pakistan decided to exchange their lunatics from one country to other. Muslim lunatics from India would be sent to Pakistan and Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan would be sent to India. The Lunatics were totally confused when they came to know about the decision as they didn’t know anything about Pakistan.

They were unaware of its location and wanted to know whether they were in India or Pakistan. One of the lunatics climbed up a tree and decided to live there and decided to live there saying he would go to neither Pakistan nor India. Another Lunatic whose name is Mohammad Ali Jinnah. A Sikh lunatic called himself Master Tara Singh and another young Hindu lawyer from Lahore did not wish to go to India.

            Bishan Singh is one of the lunatics of Lahore Asylum, he is the protagonist of this story. He is a harmless old man who came to the asylum fifteen years ago when he went mad. Toba Tek Singh is his hometown where he had some land and property. His family members came to visit him once a month, but after the riots broke out they stopped coming. Later through Fazal Din, a friend, and neighbor of Bishan Singh’s family, we came to know that Bisan Singh’s family left for India and were safe there.

          Finally, the day of exchange came and the lunatics were taken to the Wagha Border. The exchange procedure started after the formalities had been done by both sides but it proved to be a very difficult task. The lunatics were out of control, they were screaming, laughing, crying running here and there making the task all the more complex. After many lunatics Bishan Singh’s turn came for the exchange he asked to register, Where is Toba Tek Singh? It is in India or Pakistan.

            The official tells it is in Pakistan, the place Singh is leaving. Bishan Singh tried to run but was overpowered by the Pakistani guards who tried to put him across the diving line toward India. Just before sunrise, Bishan Singh, the man who had stood on his legs for fifteen years screamed and as officials from the two sides rushed toward him, he collapsed to the ground.

            India was one side behind a barbed wire fence. Pakistan was another side behind another barbed fence. Taba Tek Singh lay in the Middle, on a piece of land that had no name.


            Thus, the story of Toba Tek Singh describes the changing physical and mental behaviors of the lunatics when their exchange between India and Pakistan is based on religion. The story is to criticize the reason for partition and the math crisis and human tragedies both in the newly created India and Pakistan. The story depicts the plight of such simple and ignorant people whose physical and ignorant people whose physical and mental conditions were neglected.

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Kanthapura By Raja Rao

Kanthapura By Raja Rao | Kanthapura Summary & Analysis

Kanthapura By Raja Rao
Kanthapura By Raja Rao


            Kanthapura is the first major Indian novel in English which is written by Raja Rao. It was written during the time of AZADI in 1933. The novel recounts the rise of the Gandhian nationalist movement in a small south Indian village of the same name. This is Raja Rao’s well-known and acclaimed, book and primarily serves as a critique of the traditional Indian caste system. The novel is written in 1937 and published in 1938.

About Raja Rao

            Raja Rao was an Indian American novelist and short story writer from 20th-century India. He wrote a galaxy of novels and short stories on issues. Indian culture, caste system, and freedom struggle. He won several Indian height honors such as The Padma Bhusan in 1969. The Sahitya Akademi Award in 1997 and Padma Vibhushan in 2007. Among his famous writings included: The Serpent and the Rope, Kanthapura, The Cat and Shakespeare, On the Ganga Ghat, and The Meaning of India.

Significance of the title

          The title Kanthapura is apt and suggestive because the novel is about a south Indian village named Kanthapura and the whole story of this novel moves around the people and the community of the village named Kanthapura. It is a village in Mysore in the Province of Kara. It is situated in the valley of Himavathy. There it lies, “Curled up like a Child on its mother’s lap.”

            Kanthapura is not dealing with the life of any individual hero. It is only the story of Moorthy but of the masses of the village, of the suffering of their exile. Hence if there is any hero in the novel it is Kanthapura itself and its people.

The theme of the Novel Kanthapura

Gandhian Novel

                            Kanthapura is a Ganhian novel. We cannot find Gandhi himself in the novel but his character is there in the protagonist of the novel Moorthy. He was taking part in the struggle for freedom. He made efforts to unite people as Gandhi did.

Gandhi’s thoughts and their impact 

                                           Gandhian philosophy is introduced into the novel through Morthy. He was attracted by Gandhi’s idea of making cotton yarn on a spinning wheel and wearing clothes spun and woven by their hands. They did not permit foreign clothes. The villagers made their own song for Gandhi which describes the influence of Gandhi on them.

Freedom struggle for India

The characters of the novel strive for freedom. They fought against the Britishers non-violently.


The village has a structure of castes. The novel defines if a Brahmin goes to Pariaha’s house. He had a bath after returning.

Epic touch or Mythological theme

                  The novel has the quality of epic. The plot of the novel has been symbolically compared with Ramayana. Gandhi ji an avatar of Rama sent from heaven to rescue Sita (India.) from the Britishers (Ravana).

 Focusing on the female condition

          In Kanthapura, we find many women the example Rangamma, Achakka, and Ratna. Rangamma is one of the few educated women in the village. She is influenced by Gandhian Philosophy and becomes a source of knowledge and inspiration for the women of the village. Achakka is one of the main characters of the novel. She is the narrator of the novel. Ratna is one of the characters of the novel. She is fifteen years old and windowed. She is too inspired by Gandhian philosophy.

Caste Division 

                      There is a clear-cut caste division in the village of Kanthapura. The houses in this village are divided into five quarters,

Brahmin quarters
◽Potters’ quarters
◽Weavers’ quarters
◽Pariahs’ quarters
◽Sudras quarters

 The upper-class people keep a distance from the Sudra and the Pariah quarters. The narrator Achakka also believes in the caste division.

Summary Of Kanthapura novel

Kanthapura is narrated in the form of Purana or an old manuscript by an old woman of the village, Achakka. She is an old Brahmin woman with Encyclopedic knowledge about everyone in the village

            In the village, Knathapura, the caste system is strict and the village is run primarily by the high caste Brahmins, while the lowest caste is known as Pariahs. The villagers believe they are protected by a local deity named Kenchamna. One Brahmin man named “Moorthy” becomes an activist or a follower of Gandhi ji. He convinces various villagers to start spinning their wool and weaving their Khadi Clothes. Since Gandhi believes that foreign goods impoverished India.

            A loincloth-wearing Brahmin Bhatta despises Gandhism for his business runs on high-interest loans to small farmers, who sell their rice to city people. Bhatta proposes establishing a Brahmin Party to fight Moorthy’s spreading Gandhism and wins the support of many villagers most notable, the rambling Waterfall Venkamma the priest Temple Rangappa and his Lakshama—Moorthy’s own mother Narsamma, and his own wife Chinnamma.

            Moorthy is soon excommunicated by the village priest. Moorthy’s mother dies, her health is impacted by the shame, she feels over her son’s ex-communication and Moorthy winds up living with Rangamma, an educated and politically active window. The Brahmin clerks of a local coffee estate invite Moorthy to speak at their meeting, hoping to create a greater awareness of Gandhian teachings among the local lower-Caste laborers. However, when he arrives, the local policeman, Bade khan beats him and attempts to scare him off.

The Laborers attempt to stand up for Moorthy and beat the policeman, but they are thrown out of the estate for this. A unit of Gandhi’s independence committee is formed in Kanthapura, and Moorthy becomes their leader.

            Moorthy is blamed by the British government for instigating violence and is arrested. While the committee volunteers to pay his bail, Moorthy refused their money and spends the next three months in prison. While he is locked away the women of Kanthapura take the reins and form a volunteer corps under Rangamma’s leadership. She motivates the women by telling them stories of strong women from Indian history.

Although they face much hardship and violence from the police and the British army, culminating in the village being burned, they remain loyal to Gandhi’s ideals. When Moorthy is released from prison, he is greeted as a hero by the village which is now united across caste lines. Moorthy and the rest of the town took toward the future and continue their fight for independence.

            In the end, Kanthapura is destroyed but not defeated. This is chiefly due to their following the teaching of Mahatma Gandhi and the Leadership provided by Moorthy.


Thus, Raja Rao Kanthapura is one of the finest novels of the mid-twentieth century in India. It is the story of how Gandhi’s struggle for independence from the British came to the typical village of Kanthapura in South India. Kanthapura is a picture of India. Raja Rao is very much influenced by Gandhian thoughts. The theme of the novel is the Freedom Struggle of India.

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Varsha Singh

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