God lives in the Panch by Munshi Premchand

God lives in the Panch
by Munshi Premchand
The story ………………
Jumman Shaikh and Algu Chowdhury were very good friends living in the same village. Even, minute discord nor rancour ever blemished their friendship. When one went out of the village, the other looked after the family of the absent friend. The villagers admired the friendship between the two, and loved them for it.
Jumman had an old lonely aunt with no one in her family. Fortunately, she was lucky to have some property in her name. For her upkeep in her dotage, she suggested to her nephew Jumman that she would bequeath her property to him in exchange of shelter and food in his household till her death. Jumman agreed, and the deal was struck. The old aunt moved to Jumman’s house, where she was accepted with warmth and welcome. She had hoped that she would see through her dotage with dignity and love in the foster home. The responsibility of looking after the old lady fell on Jammun’s wife.
As days went by, the wife’s love for the old lady began to wane. She felt the old lady to be an unnecessary burden on her means and energy. Predictably, her dislike for the Aunt reflected in her behaviour towards her. The Aunt found the cold and frosty behaviour of Jummman’s wife quite discomforting and hurtful. She protested at times, but could do little to make the young lady mend her manners. Even the frugal meals she ate were hard to come. The old lady resented such neglect and bitterly argued her case with the wife of Jumman resulting in angry exchanges. Taunts flew back and forth. The frequent tiffs led to a full-blown crisis as the Aunt couldn’t take the indignity and neglect any longer.

The Aunt spoke to Jumman about the unbearable behaviour meted out to her by his wife. Jumman could offer no remedy and remained silent. Aggrieved further by her nephew’s indifference, she asked for a small monthly dole so that she could cook her own meals. This plea, too was turned down by the husband-wife duo. The hapless old lady’s misery continued.

The Aunt decided to approach the Panch for seeking redress to the injustice she was battling in Jumman’s household. She approached the villagers to narrate her owes and seek intervention of the Panch. Some gave her a patient and sympathetic hearing, a few mocked her, while some advised her to make it up with NJjumman’s wife, her real tormentor. She drew little solace from such advice.

Finally, the Panch, the adjudicating authority of the village, was convened. On the appointed day, the villagers congregated under a tree to conduct the proceedings. Jumman, the defendant, was given the option to propose one among the villagers as the Panch (the headman for the session). He proposed the name of Algu, his dear friend. Algu occupied the august chair that called for strict neutrality, and fair-play. Algu heard out the two versions, one of the complainant, and the other of his dear friend Jumman.

Caught in a difficult situation, Algu (as the Panch) had to contend with two conflicting positions — the call of duty as the Panch, and the urge to side with his dearest friend. He chose to heed the call of his conscience. After much soul-searching, Algu gave his verdict –Either Jumman gave his old Aunt a monthly allowance or he returned her property.

Jumman was very angry at his dear friend’s stance, not realizing that Algu had only done his duty as a fair, and just Panch.

The fall-out of the Panch verdict made their relationship bitter. Their relationship was frayed beyond repair. Jumman’s heart burned with a desire to avenge Algu’s ‘indiscretion’ of siding with his Aunt. Jumman’s resentful mind blinded his inner vision.

Some days later, misfortune befell Algu. One of his bullocks died. He was forced to sell off the other bullock to a cart owner. The buyer had one month time to pay the cost of the bullock. Sadly, the bullock died before the one-month period ended. Quite understandably, he refused to pay the cost of the bullock to Algu. Much acrimonious exchange followed between the buyer and the seller. As a concession, the buyer offered to loan his bullock to Algu for a few days as a bargain. This was no consolation for Algu. Finally, he decided to take the matter to the Panch.

A meeting of the Panch was arranged at Algu’s behest. Much to the dismay of Algu, Jumman was nominated to act as the Panch on the occasion. He felt, he could not get a favourable verdict from his erstwhile friend Jumman, who had become a foe by then. With fear and nervousness he awaited the Panch’s verdict.

For Algu, it was a big call of conscience. He surely couldn’t undermine the reputation of the Panch by letting his vengeful mind cloud his sense of fair-play. The chair of the Panch was too sacrosanct to be a prey to one’s petty-mindedness.

Jumman solemnly ruled that the cart-owner (the buyer) must pay the full cost of the bullock to Algu despite the fact that animal had died before the one-month credit period. After all, the bullock was fit and healthy on the day of sale. Its subsequent death could not be a ground for non-payment of the agreed money to Algu.
The verdict came as a huge relief to Algu. He could hardly fathom the fact that his arch enemy Junmman had set his acrimony aside, and decided to give a fair and just verdict.
Overwhelmed with joy, he proceeded to hug Jammun. The duo buried their past, and became friends again. Thus, the Panch’s time-honoured reputation of dispensing fair verdict was kept. The moral question – Should friendship override call of conscience, when both are at odds with each other – was settled once and for all.
——————END————-

Characters of Jumman and Algu …..

Jumman .. He appears to be a man with a meek personality. His wife was petty-minded, selfish, and insensitive to the aunt who had given her land to Jumman for sustenance. Obviously his wife reneged on the solemn promise made to the aunt. She maltreated her relentlessly. Jumman turned a blind eye to the way his wife treated his hapless old aunt. Such attitude was immoral and condemnable. To add to his folly, he did not take the Panch’s decision in right spirit, and harboured a grudge against his dearest friend Algu, whom he began to see as his enemy.
However, while acting as the Panch in deciding Algu’s matter, he realized his solemn obligation to be impartial and just.  By doing this, he redeemed himself to a great extent. He made up with Algu later. On the whole, Jumman emerges as a normal human being with common failings.

 

Algu .. While hearing the case against his dear friend Jumman, Algu, as the Panch, did not waver from the path of morality. He delivered a wise decision although it went against Jumman. By doing this, Algu upheld the noble traditions of the Panch. He must have gone through painful dilemma before giving a judgment in favour of the aggrieved aunt. But, he did what the seat of the Panch called upon to do. Friendship with Jumman did not stand on his way. Thus, Algu emerges as a sagacious person with strong moral moorings.

 

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88 thoughts on “God lives in the Panch by Munshi Premchand

  1. Sir please help me with debate asked in my school
    Topic of Debate ” Is the current education system equipped to developed scientists at a Young age ‘

  2. his is a story with a lot of depth meaning if we understand it well it is the best to show what is justice and friendship

  3. Hy sir actually i want help in discussing the statement “The panch is neither friend nor enemy” can u plz help me in this?!

  4. 1. Brief outline of the life of the author and his works.

    2. Summary of the story

    3. Incidents showing that justice prevails in the first and second

    panchayat supported by quotes from text.

    4. Personal opinion: If you would have been in Jumman’s shoes what

    would have you done when you were made the Head of the

    Panchayat.
    (can u get me all of this data?)

  5. Sir I have a board project Tommorow and wanted help with these:
    1.A True friend accepts who you are but also helps you to become who you should be. Bring out the importance of ‘true friendship’ as shown in the story God lives in the panch
    2. The greatest sacrifice is when you sacrifice your own happiness for the sake of someone else.How is the spirit of sacrifice and friendship brought out in the story the last leaf.
    Pls sir I want it urgently. Only the pointers Connecting the story and the theme of the question would do. Pls help ASAP

  6. Sir please tell me the answer for this question at the earliest

    how do jumman sheikh and alagu chowdhari maintain the diginity of rules in their judges in the story ?

  7. Hello
    Can you crate a mind map for these chapters
    God Lives in the Panch
    My Lost Dollar
    The Kabuliwala
    Journey by Night

  8. I have a project submission and the topic is :
    “The Panch rises above all worldly relations when he sits as a judje”
    Show how this has been illustrated in the story “God lives in the Panch”.
    Can u plz help me as soon as possible??

  9. Could you critically analyse this under the following themes sir?
    1. Alagu’s situation
    2. Revenge
    3. Innate goodness
    The total of these three themes shouldn’t be more than 2 pages

  10. ‘Where the mind is without fear’ is an ideal dream for every country. Describe this in 3 pages. Sir request you to help me asap.

    • I will, but you will have to pay for it.

      WHY I INSIST ON PROFESSIONAL FEES….

      The money goes entirely for education of poor children of your age. Hence this appeal. I am a retired IITian and don’t need to boost my income.
      I am going to write your piece and send it to you. I can assure you it will get you the highest praise. So, don’t hesitate to remit whatever you can to this account.
      Account holder -Gokulananda Lenka,
      Account number ..30939789437
      IFSC CODE NO-SBIN0010928

  11. I have a project submission and the topic is :
    “The Panch rises above all worldly relations when he sits as a judje”
    Show how this has been illustrated in the story “God lives in the Panch”.

    • I will, but you will have to pay for it.

      WHY I INSIST ON PROFESSIONAL FEES….

      The money goes entirely for education of poor children of your age. Hence this appeal. I am a retired IITian and don’t need to boost my income.
      I am going to write your piece and send it to you. I can assure you it will get you the highest praise. So, don’t hesitate to remit whatever you can to this account.
      Account holder -Gokulananda Lenka,
      Account number ..30939789437
      IFSC CODE NO-SBIN0010928

    • Jumman was clearly s a person with weak moral mooring. He fell prey to his wife’s avarice and manipulation too easily. Both of them meted out the most deplorable treatment to the hapless aunt who had given over her piece of land for spending her last days with the minimum dignity and decency. Instead of arguing with his wife to be fair to the aunt, he sided with her. Even when he was dragged to the village court, ‘Panch’, he did not introspect nor did he mend his ways. He was annoyed on hearing the judgement. Even at this last stage, he didn’t heed his conscience. On the contrary, he vented his anger on his upright friend Alugu. In a nutshell, Jumman was cruel towards his hapless and underprivileged Aunt.

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