Namak ka Droga (Hindi) by Premchand
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This short story is a sweet reminder of the days of british raj when the ordinary salt was a precious commodity which was taxed heavily and was smuggled like drugs. Story is simple. Vanshidhar is an very honest man and after being appointed salt inspector he stops Pandit Alopidin's salt to be smuggled. He refuses to accept bribe. Alopidin was a staunch beliver in the pwer of Lkashmi, Hindu goddess of wealth. He gets Vanshidhar suspended for arresting and insulting him by using his money power. But at the same time he is impressed by his honesty and appoints him manager of all his propoerties.
My favorite portion of the story is when Vanshidhar's father expalins him the benefits of taking bribe. Please read it, it is hilarious.
उनके पिता एक अनुभवी पुरुष थे। समझाने लगे, 'बेटा! घर की दुर्दशा देख रहे हो। ॠण के बोझ से दबे हुए हैं। लडकियाँ हैं, वे घास-फूस की तरह बढती चली जाती हैं। मैं कगारे पर का वृक्ष हो रहा हूँ, न मालूम कब गिर पडूँ! अब तुम्हीं घर के मालिक-मुख्तार हो।
'नौकरी में ओहदे की ओर ध्यान मत देना, यह तो पीर का मजार है। निगाह चढावे और चादर पर रखनी चाहिए। ऐसा काम ढूँढना जहाँ कुछ ऊपरी आय हो। मासिक वेतन तो पूर्णमासी का चाँद है, जो एक दिन दिखाई देता है और घटते-घटते लुप्त हो जाता है। ऊपरी आय बहता हुआ स्रोत है जिससे सदैव प्यास बुझती है। वेतन मनुष्य देता है, इसी से उसमें वृध्दि नहीं होती। ऊपरी आमदनी ईश्वर देता है, इसी से उसकी बरकत होती हैं, तुम स्वयं विद्वान हो, तुम्हें क्या समझाऊँ।
'इस विषय में विवेक की बडी आवश्यकता है। मनुष्य को देखो, उसकी आवश्यकता को देखो और अवसर को देखो, उसके उपरांत जो उचित समझो, करो। गरजवाले आदमी के साथ कठोरता करने में लाभ ही लाभ है। लेकिन बेगरज को दाँव पर पाना जरा कठिन है। इन बातों को निगाह में बाँध लो यह मेरी जन्म भर की कमाई है।
His father was a worldly-wise man. He gave the young man the following advice: Son, you well understand our sad plight. We are under a heavy debt. There’re girls in the family, who are growing up fast like weeds. I’m like a tree that is likely to collapse anytime. Now you’re the master and head of the family. Don’t bother about the status in a service, which is like the mausoleum of a pir. Your eyes should always be fixed on chadders and offerings. Look for a job with an ‘over-and-above-the-salary’ income. The monthly salary is like the full moon which is visible only for a day, and wanes each successive day and then disappears. The over-and-above income is like a flowing stream that regularly quenches your thirst. Salary is given by man, which does not take you far; the over-and-above income is the gift of God, which leads to prosperity. You are a scholar yourself and don’t need to be taught anything. One needs to use one’s understanding. Look at man and his needs, and his opportunities. Then do what you think is best. It always pays to be tough with a person needing favours from you. But it is difficult to tame one who does not need any favour from you. Keep this in your mind. This is my lifetime’s capital.’
Story is simple. Vanshidhar is an very honest man and after being appointed salt inspector he stops Pandit Alopidin's salt to be smuggled. He refuses to accept bribe. Alopidin was a staunch believer in the power of Lakshmi, Hindu goddess of wealth. He gets Vanshidhar suspended for arresting and insulting him, by using his money power. But at the same time he is impressed by his honesty and appoints him manager of all his properties.
A very easy read though i disagree with the climax.
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