Translator(s): Gordon C Roadarmel
Publisher: Permanent Black
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8178240408
Premchand is the most famous Hindi novelist, and Hori, a poor farmer, and his family’s struggle for survival and self-respect. Hori does everything he can to fulfill his life’s desire: to own a cow, the peasant’s measure of wealth and well-being. Like many Hindus of his time, he believes that making the gift of a cow to a Brahman before he dies will help him achieve salvation. An engaging introduction to India before Independence, Godaan is at once village ethnography, moving human document, and insightful colonial history. Out of print for many years, this translation is regarded as a classic in itself.
Godaan is an eminently political novel. It was written in 1939 by Premchand, the best-known Hindi writer of the twentieth century, who had gained a vast reputation for this gripping tales of social unrest and change, in a language measured but also polemical, elevated but also colloquial. A nationalist at odds with the British, by the 1920s Premchand had come to subscribe almost entirely to the Gandhian ethos, and towards the end of his life he was formulating a more radical message.