Idgah – A Critical Appreciation
Idgah is a very powerful story written by Munshi Premchand, a well known Hindi Writer . It casts a strong impact on the minds of it’s readers. This story is a must read piece of literature by the readers of all ages. It has been picked from the book “Maansarovar”, a popular collection of stories by the author .
Hamid , the hero of the story is a small boy of 4-5 years . He has lost his parents in his early childhood. Now his caretaker and guardian is his old grandmother Amina, whom he calls Dadi and with whom he lives in a small village. They are very poor because they have no source of income. Literally hand to mouth, the duo are passing their days in utter poverty . Old Amina tries to fulfill their daily needs doing some needle work for others. Still Hamid is a happy child and is full of love , compassion and hope because his Dadi has told him that very soon his father would return home with lots of money from abroad and his mother would bring many gifs and sweets for him from the house of Allah Mian . Hamid completely trusts his Dadi says and is waiting eagerly for his parents to come back with lots of fortune for them.
Once on the occasion of Id festival Hamid goes for Idgah along with other children of the village to offer Namaz and then enjoy the tour of the traditional village fair . Poor Hamid doesn’t have new clothes and shoes like other children . Unlike his friends who have enough pocket money to spend on toys, sweets and rides Hamid has only three paise as idi in all to spend which his Dadi could hardly spare. Still he is very happy and full of excitement.
After offering prayers all the children get busy enjoying various kinds of joyrides like Hindola and Charkhi . But wise Hamid dismisses this wastage of money for momentary pleasure . After enjoying rides all the kids rush to buy colorful clay toys which took away the hearts of viewers when displayed neatly in the shop . Little Hamid is also very much tempted with the exclusive beauty of the toys but his wisdom prevents him to spend his small amount on these perishable items . His friends buy many toys like Bhishti, lawyer, policeman and a milkmaid . But wise Hamid overcomes his temptation and turns away from the shop of toys . While roaming in the fair he sees a pincer, a chimta , in a hardware shop . Hamid recalls that without chimta how his Dadi burns her fingers while making chapaties for him . Kind hearted Hamid exhausts his entire idi in buying the chimta for Dadi without any regret that neither he enjoyed any ride nor did he purchase any toy for himself nor he was left with a single paisa to satisfy his hunger while all other children were enjoying all kinds of sweets and eatables right in front of him . The story is an unparallel saga of a small child with extraordinary wisdom and maturity better than any adult .He sacrificed all his share of enjoyment when the need of his Grandma stands before him to be weighed .
Although Hamid is ridiculed and teased by other boys for his useless purchase, he convinces and silences all his friends with his witty and intelligent arguements that how his chimta is better than their perishable toys and that how it can defeat their lawyer or Bhishti or policeman in no time and would last forever while their clay toys would be thrown away in the garbage within couple of hours . In this section of the story the dialogues of the children are very interesting and it is also funny that how all the children start acknowledging the supremacy of Hamid’s chimta and are tempted to exchange their purchase with it .It is a perfect example that Munshi Premchand had a keen insight into child psychology. All the children who were then trying to humiliate and ridicule Hamid now are keen to be friends with him and are satisfied enough if they get the chance to touch his unbeatable and invincible chimta . The most poor and subdued boy of the entire group returns home from the fair most triumphant and victorious like a hero.
The story has touching end when Hamid gifts the chimta to his Dadi . At first instance Dadi is very much shocked, irritated and annoyed at the stupidity of the boy that instead of eating anything or buying any toy or enjoying any kind of ride all he could find to purchase was this chimta . Initially Hamid gets scared to see the reaction of his Dadi but when he tells her that he has bought this chimta for her because daily she burns her fingers in making chapaties, Amina is stunned at the sensitivity of the child and is full of regret and repentance at her own outburst. She bursts into tears and blesses him for his kindness . Here the small boy of 4-5 years plays the part of a protecting and comforting adult and the good old Dadi is crying inconsolably like a small child . This is the magical outcome of the story. It is my all time favorite story .