Paradise And Other Stories By Khushwant Singh PdfBy Lisette C. In and pdf 14.04.2021 at 21:22 6 min read
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- Khushwant Singh
- Khushwant Singh
- Paradise And Other Stories
- Religious Spectrum in Khushwant Singh's Short Stories
Download PDF. A short summary of this paper. He maintains that the institution of religion is used as a smokescreen to hide growing violence, intolerance and bigotry. His deliberate renunciation of religion is a product of his thoughtful humanistic weltanschauung that preaches crucial need for evolving a new religious charter for 21st century people, which involves love for humanity, belief in rational inquiry, confidence in the work ethic, and equal opportunity for peaceful co-existence.
His utter disgust with the world of religion is enormously highlighted in his short stories through religious penchants of his characters coupled with wolfish facets of the well- established institution of religion that is proving to be more destructive than beneficial in the modern era. Being a non-conformist, his objective is to expose downside of both Abrahamic and Hindic families of religions believing that actual strength of all major religions is lost because instead of curbing violence, they are playing an indispensable role in instigating social unrest, anarchy, extremism, communal breach, hatred and insatiable hostility among believers.
Devout Gunga Ram takes delight in paying homage to the snake-god Vishnu by offering a saucer of milk every night to Kala Nag; as he believes that offering milk to the Nag would save every member of the family from its dangerous bite. The character portrayal of Gunga Ram in the story captures the primitive ritual of worshipping snakes in India, in particular, its southern part is famously known for keeping up this archaic practice that had once been celebrated in Babylonian, Greek, Egyptian, Chinese, Arabian, Japanese and Nepalese cultures Deane With the advent of Islam, this particular custom was repudiated in the Arabian lands, but India still enjoys the status of a snake-loving country that proudly appreciates snake-worship through her famously held festival of Nag Panchami in which serpent-deities are honored with a considerable amount of milk in the similar fashion Gunga Ram offers milk to Kala Nag.
Stylistically, the plot progresses with the induction of a contrasting picture pitting young generation against the older one. But the query is that apart from India, all regions in the world share superstitious elements in different measure, then why does Singh castigate India in particular? Interestingly, Kala Nag serves as a symbol of religious integrity for Gunga Ram but curious boys share a relationship of irreverence with the snake. They tell their servant about the story of a grass snake swallowing a frog that sticks in its throat like a blob eventually taking many days to dissolve and go down in its tail.
This proud show of iconoclastic knowledge, contempt for sacred life and religious detachment perturb Gunga Ram so much that he warns them by saying that they will pay for it one day. On one hand, the writer paints orthodox Gunga Ram with profound detail to expose fanaticism in such devotees that makes reaching any compromising panacea impossible. Through this stark juxtaposition, the writer employs two dominant mainstreams complicating the unified structure of Indian society.
Above all, the curse of increasing fundamentalism is playing havoc with global harmony. He strongly feels that: The worst enemy of every religion is the fanatic who professes to follow it and tries to impose his view of his faith on others. People do not judge religions by what their prophets preached or how they lived but by the way their followers practice them.
Hence, agitated Parvez brutally punishes Ali for taking such liberty with him and bloody-faced Ali poses another complex question to his father at this crucial moment asking him that who is the fanatic now?
This is important to notice how both the writers bring out the irony of the situation by showing psychological chambers of both the characters. By pitting old generation against the youngest one, the writer brings out puritanical beliefs in discord with unorthodox approach, religious fervor contrasted with unconventional dispositions, false assumptions challenged by logical reasoning and blind religious observance in confrontation with rationale.
One is the voice of an unflinching worshipper representing stereotypical lot of dogged believers; second is a collective consciousness advocating rejection of superfluous rituals, alarming superstitions and psychological inertia deeply rooted into the religious structures of backward societies.
From this stage onward, the writer alters the locale for the story by shifting it from a house place of snake worship to the school lab platform of scientific reasoning where a science teacher opens up the tin- box and scarcely saves himself from the angry cobra attacking to catch for his face. In the meantime, Gunga Ram appears at the lab-door with a jug and saucer full of milk to entertain the approaching Nag but, petulant cobra starts hissing and spitting in pain, eventually, awarding devout Gunga Ram with its fatal poison.
Hence, the audacious writer castigates regressive mindset, sheer ignorance, and blind confidence in false assumptions through the gullible face of his religiously devoted characters. Another point for consideration is that the flat character of Gunga Ram gets severely punished because of his inability to learn and educate himself. And this is the obvious lack of education that primarily plays its role in costing Gunga Ram his life who behaves like a yoked bull with covered eyes unable to heed the scientific knowledge propounded by the boys.
Does snake-love introduce any remarkable charisma in the character of this Brahmin? Why does Vishnu choose Gunga Ram for his wrath instead of the actual culprits?
All of these questions provoke an anti- religious spirit, defying the need to follow old traditions of untenable beliefs. Disbelievers are portrayed as champions in this story and a resolute believer is shown as a loser. The writer has intentionally depicted four boys as a foil to Gunga Ram in order to show that survivors exercise deliberate thought while ignorants are often hunted with their own guns. The satirical aspect is that those who harmed the snake are alive but the person trying to compensate for the evil act is chosen for penance.
But, the case of Gunga Ram is quite different, for he is punished instead of being saved for the crime in which he has performed no role. Hence, the denouement of this narrative shows the barbarous face of religion that has historically played havoc with the world.
Besides, the human-animal relationship has played a vital role in showing how the snake has justified its animalism and Gunga Ram desperately fails in the executing human rational capacity. All of the three worlds foster their designs with unending rivalry in the plot. But, the resolution of the story portrays the collapse of a single world revolving around religious institution and the other two worlds progress unstoppably with their assigned attributes in their respective moods.
In this piece of writing, Singh has thoroughly charted two generations with their respective modus vivendi encompassing stark social realities in a religious-oriented society that entertains miscellaneous attitudes, atypical responses, multiple beliefs and mixed moral values of different ethnic groups. Right from the exposition, the protagonist Devi Lal is depicted as an eager inquirer yet a skeptic.
Is it really possible to venerate God by borrowing explanations from others? Established religious ideals mystify him because if God is an existent power then why there is so much suffering in this world.
He is unable to decipher what is there that makes God an apathetic fellow? Why do the prayers remain unanswered? Besides these skeptics, there is a different category of pseudo- religious men who are severely flogged by the writer for their hypocrisy. The institution of marriage is regarded sacred in many cultures around the world.
Thousand years old Hindu culture recognizes matrimonial alliance as a social and dharmic obligation, for it is believed that conjugal commitment lasts not only for this life but for seven birth cycles.
But, luckily after the gap of eight years, thirty-seven years old Janaki gets pregnant for the fourth time and, suggests aborting fetus under the impression that fourth child will be another female inclusion in the chain of her family. Ironically, the idea of dropping fetus does not make this couple religiously conscious. Whereas, strong condemnation of abortion is registered in Hindu scriptures such as Bhagavad Gita, Kaushitaki Upanishad, Vaishnava texts, Atharva Veda, Hindu Ethics—all of these texts strictly prohibit this sinful act.
His religious coldness is a product of historical crisis attesting indefatigable rivalry between adherents of different credos, Indo-Pak partition tragedy, worldwide ethnic conflicts, ongoing episodes of violence and personal experiences in India. The writer quickens the wheel of the plot and in one small paragraph where the readers are told how grateful Jankai and Devi Lal feel on the unexpected birth of a son Raj Kumar in the family and all three daughters are married off in their youths; for, it is believed that securing a good husband is more important than having an excellent education.
Hinduism is based on various texts supporting different positions on the same subject that is why, at times, it becomes hard to come up with a single determinable approach.
A Hindu-Sikh conjugal alliance shocks the parents of both the families, therefore disappointed parents arrange for marriage ceremonies prescribed according to their respective religious norms. Religious sarcasm is woven into the narrative through the episodes of performing both, Sikh-Hindu rituals of Anand Karaj in a gurdwara and pheras in another temple. The only difference between both the couples is that Raj and Baljit take it as a fun activity but Samina and Tashar consider it because all is done in the name of family honor.
This is how both the writers bring out heartrending attitude of selfish adherents who use religious norms as a tool for sharpening their own axes. Another blow to moral values is exhibited when Raj and Baljit get completely frustrated with medical check-ups and nagging demand for a grandson but nothing happens in two-year period.
Physical excursions at the dargah, between Baljit and the caretaker of shrine, bear fruit. The way Singh deconstructs their angelic image, lost conscience, and unveils brutish proclivities does really make his prose realistic, intrepid and complimentary.
Such carnal endeavors testify facade of piety maintained by the flock of holy people. Besides, the writer shows his repugnance by attaching awful attributes to most of the places of worship. His pragmatic stance upon building places for worship is also controversial because of his repeated slogans telling that home is the best and only legitimate place for worship and its verity cannot be denied.
He also maintains: When people acquire vested interests in places of worship, these places become bones of contention and subject to litigation and, far too often, attempts are made to seize them by force. The Kaaba has witnessed many bloody battles. Apart from the subject of morality, Singh deals with the gospel of miracles by demonstrating how they occur in the lives of religiously devoted people. Singh makes it a point that religious and spiritual endeavors are incapable of illuminating the life of a single devotee and they are helpless tools in the face of sexual appetite.
Recent studies show that women are religiously very active and their participation in religious rituals is greater than men. Although Baljit serves as a foil to Janaki because she is beautiful, educated, strong, professional and rich; on the other hand, Janaki is plain looking, less qualified, obedient, gentle and homely. But both of them share a common zeal for visiting temples, gurdwaras and shrines for the fulfillment of their solitary wish of acquiring a male heir to the family.
Besides, Singh questions scriptural understanding of religious followers as it appears mechanical in nature. Their translations into languages which we can comprehend, robs them of much of their potency.
A serious evaluation shows that crime of adultery is completely prohibited in both Hindu-Sikh religions. Indian history cannot be evaluated without mentioning of partition tragedy. For, Pakistan and India are created in the name of two-nation theory that directly corresponds to different religious identities of both the parties.
It is religion that is playing a crucial role in determining Indo-Pak policies. Recent statistics show that blind waves of fundamentalism are enveloping both Eastern and Western hemispheres into its tenacious tentacles. But mounting graph of religious propagandas are affecting Eastern parts more than European ones because West has already defeated orthodox clergy and church in the past.
The writer has outright odium for fundamentalists whose religion is to abuse others by spreading intolerance, anarchy, violence and old prejudices among naive people. His affirmation that the existence of God is disputed and hence the questions remain unanswered; the founders of religions are mortals and therefore they must only be followed for their exemplary qualities; trends of worshipping holy scriptures must end; a home ought to be considered as the only legitimate place of worship; Hindu philosophy of ahimsa must be followed; population must be controlled; and for the preservation of natural world, dead bodies must be buried instead of burning and polluting rivers and sea.
Singh argues through this article a more humane approach towards fellow beings; their love for humanity can help in creating an egalitarian society which has the potential of rising above religious and ethnic divide as Juggat Singh; a Sikh, in Train to Pakistan saves thousands of people, who belong to Muslim community by sacrificing his own life in the end.
Works Cited Chandrasekhar, Sripati. Great Britain. Accessed 15 July. The Worship of the Serpent. London, J. Rivington, 2nd ed. Accessed 8 July. Evans, B. Ifor, and Marjorie, R. Evans, Ed.
Later he became the founder-editor of Yojana, an Indian journal. Khuswant Singh was awarded with Padma Bhushan in , which he returned in his protest against the use of Army forces into the Golden Temple. Khushwant Singh had published over 80 best-selling books and two weekly columns syndicated in over 40 English publications. Khushwant Singh is the original creator of Santa Singh and Banta Singh for carrying them in his best-selling books and gaining them popularity through his columns. He started drinking at the age of 25 and his favourite was Premium Scotch.
Khushwant Singh b His birth name, given by his grandmother, was Khushal Singh meaning "Prosperous Lion". He was called by a pet name "Shalee". Khushwant Singh started his professional career as a practising lawyer in He worked at Lahore Court for eight years. In he entered Indian Foreign Service for the newly independent India. From he turned to editorial services.
Paradise And Other Stories
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Religious Spectrum in Khushwant Singh's Short Stories
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Can a horoscope guarantee the perfect wife? Is the Kamasutra a useful manual for newlyweds? Khushwant Singh returns to the short story after decades to deliver.
Khushwant Singh February 2, March 20, was an Indian novelist, lawyer, politician and journalist. An Indo-Anglian writer, Singh was best known for his trenchant secularism, . His comparisons of social and behavioral characteristics of Westerners and Indians are laced with acid wit. He served as the editor of several literary and news magazines, as well as two broadsheet newspapers, through the s and s. He was the recipient of Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award in India.
Numerous and frequently-updated resource results are available from this WorldCat. Khushwant Singh says that his grandmother was so old that she could not get any older. Her face was full of wrinkles. She was short, fat and somewhat bent. It was unbelievable to imagine that she had once been young and pretty, and had a husband.