God lives in the Panch by Munshi Premchand


God lives in the Panch by Munshi Premchand

THE STORY ………………

Who are the two main protagonists of the story   ….
The story revolves around the enduring friendship bond between Jumman Shaikh and Alagu Chowdhary. The two were very good friends living in the same village. Neither any discord, nor any rancour ever blemished their friendship. When one went out of the village for some days, the other looked after his family. The villagers admired the friendship between the two, and loved them for it.
How Jumman and Alagu had their early education  …..
The two had their basic education under the tutelage of Jumman’s father. He was a stern teacher who believed in liberal use of the stick in furthering the education of a student. No wonder, he punished the two rather harshly for minor failings. Under such strict pedagogy, Jumman grew up and became a dependable writer of deeds and agreements. The villagers treated him with regard for this.
Alagu had a very different orientation to education. His father was a rather liberal man. He felt the teacher’s blessings aided a pupil’s progress more than the stick. So, he advised Alagu to be respectful and very obedient to his teacher (Jumman’s father). Alagu kept his teacher’s hookah and Chellum ready for use at any time by the master. Sadly for Alagu, his reverence for his teacher didn’t quite get him any great benefit in his education. He lagged behind Jumman.
Alagu didn’t quite lose his clout in the village for falling behind Jumman in education. He was affluent, and that got him the prestige before the villagers.
A dependant Aunt, and a greedy, mean wife shroud Jumman’s life
Jumman had an old lonely aunt with no one in her family. She was lucky to have some property in her name. For her upkeep in her dotage, she offered to bequeath her land to Jumman in exchange of food and shelter until her demise. Jumman agreed, and the deal was struck. The old aunt moved to Jumman’s house, where she was accepted with warmth and welcome. She hoped that she could live and die 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 Jumman’s wife quite discomforting and hurtful. At times, she remonstrated against the maltreatment, but could do little to make the young lady mend her manners. Even the frugal meals she ate were hard to come by. The old lady resented such neglect, and bitterly argued her case with the mistress of the home. It often resulteed in angry exchanges. Taunts and rants flew back and forth. Soon, the quarrels led to a full-blown crisis
The Aunt seeks redress
Unable to take the indignity any longer, the exasperated old aunt complained to Jumman about the scornful behaviour meted out to her by his wife. Being under his wife’s sway, Jumman could offer no remedy and remained silent. As an alternative, 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 old lady poured out her owes to many in the village, but receive very cold response. Only Alagu gave her a sympathetic hearing.
Aunt approaches the Panch
 The Aunt decided to approach the Panch for an end to the injustice she was suffering 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 Jumman’s wife — her real tormentor. Naturally, she drew little solace from such advice. She knocked the doors of the Panch.
The Panch sits ….
Finally, the Panch, the time-honoured 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 gave an ambiguous reply. When the suggestion was sought from the agrieved old ladyt, she proposed Alagu’s name, hoping that he would side with her. proposed the name of Alagu, his dear friend. Jumman had assumed that Alagu will never pass a verdict that could harm his interest. Alagu occupied the august chair that called for strict neutrality, and fair-play. Aalgu heard out the two versions, one of the complainant, and the other of his dear friend Jumman.
Alagu gives the verdict …..
Caught in a difficult situation, Alagu (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. He reckoned that the sanctity of the Panch far outweighed the duty to a close friend. After much soul-searching, Alagu gave his verdict –Either Jumman gave his old Aunt a monthly allowance or he returned her property.
Jumman seethes in anger ….
Jumman was very angry at his dear friend’s stance, not realizing that Alagu had only done his duty as a fair, and just Panch.
The fall-out of the Panch verdict on their relationship was 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.
Misfortune for Alagu…..
Some days later, misfortune befell Alagu. One of his bullocks died. He was forced to sell off the other bullock to a cart owner, named Samjhu Sahu. Samjhu was a petty trader who carted goods to and fro between the village and the nearest town. The more trips he made, the more he earned. In his greed to make more, he made the bullock slog harder and harder. One fateful day, the over-worked, under-rested bullock died leaving Samjhu in a quandary.
Samjhu defaults, and a controversy is born…….
As per the agreement, Samjhu, the buyer, had one month time to pay the cost of the bullock. Sadly, the bullock died before the one-month period ended. Not admitting that he was behind the loss of the animal, he refused to pay the cost of the bullock to Alagu. Much acrimonious exchange followed between the buyer and the seller. As a concession, the buyer offered to loan his bullock to Alagu for a few days as a bargain. This was no consolation for Alagu. He wanted to recover his money from Samjhu, but a few villagers inimical to Alagu prodded Samjhu not to pay the outstanding amount. The feud led to a nasty fisticuff between the debtor and the creditor.
Alagu approaches the Panch….
Finally, Alagu decided to take the matter to the Panch.
A meeting of the Panch was arranged at his behest. Samjhu was invited to suggest a name for the chair of Panch. Sensing an opportunity, he suggested Jumman’s name. Alagu was clearly dismayed at the prospect of Jumman hearing his plea. 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.
Jumman as the Panch hearing his enemy’s case
For Jumman, 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 rises to the occasion ….
Jumman made up his mind as his conscience dictated. He solemnly ruled that the cart-owner, Samjhu (the buyer) must pay the full outstanding cost of the bullock to Alagu 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 Alagu.
Alagu breathes a sigh of relief ….
The verdict came as a huge relief to Alagu. 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 embrace Jammun.
 Past is buried and the two friends turn a new leaf
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.

Characters of Jumman and Alagu …..

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 Alagu, whom he began to see as his enemy.
However, while acting as the Panch in deciding Alagu’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 Alagu later. On the whole, Jumman emerges as a normal human being with common failings.
Alagu .. While hearing the case against his dear friend Jumman, Alagu, as the Panch, did not waver from the path of morality. He delivered a wise decision although it went against Jumman. By doing this, Alagu 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, Alagu emerges as a sagacious person with strong moral moorings.

Question 2 … What is the central message that Munshi Premchand wants to convey in God lives in the Panch?

Answer ….Munshi Premchand lived in an era when the society was mired in poverty, illiteracy, superstition, and caste conflicts. No wonder, petty quarrels, conflicts, and greed bedeviled rural life. Munshiji waged a war on all these evils not by guns, but through his pen. He was a keen watcher of the social scene. He was pained to see the evils, but was also elated to notice the practices and institutions of justice and fair play still standing in his village. Panch, the village- level adjudicating body was one such system. It was simple, free, fair, quick, democratic, and open to all.
The way Jumman, seated in the Panch’s chair, rose to the occasion and gave a fair verdict in favour of his estranged friend Alagu shows how villagers valued the system of Panch, and tried to preserve its sanctity. At the hour of reckoning, Jumman cast his enmity aside and listened to the call of conscience, so that the reputation of the Panch remained intact.
Through this story, Munshiji has a given a moral message that has more relevance today than it had during his days. Nepotism, greed, corruption, and vendetta blight us and our institutions today. The panacea for these evils lies in this eternal story, “God Lives in the Panch.”



Question 4. What moral lessons we get from God lives in the Panch?


Significance of ‘God Lives in the Panch’


Why we should read ‘God Lives the Panch’


Answer … As Gandhi said, ‘India lives in its villages’. Most of us either live in villages or have our roots there one way or the other. So, any story based in rural India has such power to touch our mind so easily.

Munshi Premchand wrote ‘God Lives in the Panch’ almost a century ago, but one sees the same goodness and evil of human character even today. Little has changed although rural India has seen such dramatic transformation in the last three or four decades.

Greed and disregard for moral principles as seen in the characters of Jumman and Samjhu are evils among villagers that we see in no small measure even today. These human failings besmirch the rural landscape.

In the same vein, the regard for ethical values, call for duty and respect for time-honoured institutions like the Panch as seen in Alagu, and later in Jumman are so very commendable. These values practiced by the main protagonists of the story impart great charm and appeal to village life. The institution of Panch dispenses justice fast and with little expense. It is fair to one and all, irrespective of the clout and wealth of the complainant and the defendant. With no lawyers, no fees, no lies, and no adjournments, this simple system has stood the test of time.

There are many lessons to be learnt and imbibe from this masterpiece of Munishiji. Honour your commitments, eschew greed, avoid impulses of expediency, and listen to the call of your conscience. These are the lofty moral lessons, this short story preaches.



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151 Responses

  1. VIRENDRA says:

    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 ‘

    • Satya Prakash says:

      I was out of town. It will take 3/4 days. Will it do? By the way, are you supporting or opposing it?

  2. devika says:

    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. Dwij says:

    Can you please post paraphrases and explanation of inchcape rock and the professor?

  4. Sayane says:

    Can you please post the character sketch of Alagu , Jumman &the aunt.

  5. adwita says:

    sir please help me with summarizing the story god lives in panch

  6. Shreya shukla says:

    Can u plz give me character stekch of Alagu chowdhay nd Juman Sheikh sperately??

  7. Shreya shukla says:

    Thank u so much it is vry helpful 😀

  8. Shreya shukla says:

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

  9. Kabeer says:

    Pls can you give me the mono act in this chp.?

  10. manoggnya says:

    can you please give me the sketch of alagu;jumman&aunt

  11. Sayane says:

    Sir, could u plz summarize the story of the God lives in the panch

  12. ishaan says:

    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

    (can u get me all of this data?)

  13. Pg says:

    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

  14. Krithika.J says:

    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 ?

  15. Ansh says:

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

  16. Aniket says:

    this story is great , it tell us about justice is in one place and friendship is in one place they cant go together

  17. XYZ .... says:

    please post a summary of this story also …..

  18. Sharon says:

    Thank you sir..
    It helped in writing my ICSE 10 project..

  19. pranshu says:

    can you post a composition on jhumman and algu’s mindset while giving the judgement

  20. asmita says:

    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??

  21. sp_7 says:

    Thanks a lot :v
    Very nice summary!

  22. sp_7 says:

    It is Jumman Sheikh & Alagu Chaudhary ^^

  23. asmita says:

    sir i didn’t get any email till nw..
    plz reply

  24. asmita says:

    i didnt get any mail till nw…
    wht happened??

  25. Nitin says:

    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

  26. Prasad says:

    ‘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.

    • Satya Prakash says:

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


      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

  27. asmita says:

    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”.

  28. asmita says:

    In 350-400 words

    • Satya Prakash says:

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


      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

  29. anirudh rathi says:

    could you plz give a largely written up theme

  30. S Datta says:

    Could you summarize all the universal truths in the chapter by tonight?Please

  31. Khushi says:

    What was the villagers attitude towards the old woman???can u plz tell the answer of this question

  32. Khushi says:

    Contrast the upbringing of alagu and jumman.can u plz send the answer of this

  33. ck says:

    sir can u plz explain theam of cruality towards weak and underprevlished

    • Satya Prakash says:

      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.

  34. xae says:

    Sir can you sent plz the character sketch of samjhu sahu

  35. Mohammadzeeshan says:

    Please give me a short note on that how munshi show the true conscience in this story

  36. vidhika says:

    can you post the critical analysis for god lives in the panch

  37. shaurya says:

    sir can you tell me how to score in English literature.

  38. Aswin Jose says:

    Sir,According to the book given to me by my school Jumman did not propose Alagu to be the panch.Jumman asked his aunt to nominate the person

  39. Girish G says:

    it helped me a lot

  40. Girish G says:

    sir I want the seminar by tonight..pls????
    can you sir??

  41. Girish G says:

    its okay sir,then I will refer another website…

  42. Sohan Roy says:

    Sir the spelling is alagu not algu.

  43. Anurag says:

    Sir,can you plz give me character sketch of characters of the last leaf.

  44. Jatin says:

    It is a nice story…i dont have notes of this story…that’s why i visited this site…thanx…it helped me a lot….

  45. shreyas r s says:

    hi sir , i wanted to know the ans to this question
    how has the panch rose wordly relationships when he sits as a judge?

    • Satya Prakash says:

      I am recuperating after a heart surgery. Will resume writing after a few weeks. Please bear with me.

  46. shrushti says:

    Perfect summery thank

  47. Archana says:

    for country to progress corruption needs to ratigated those representing the laws should uphold the virtues .explain through the story god lives in a panch

  48. Biboswan Dey says:

    Sir please can you tell me abot the outcomes in the following stories for my icse project :

  49. Biboswan Dey says:

    it is ok sir . TAKE CARE

  50. Biboswan Dey says:

    Sir please can u tell me about the alternative outcome of the stories i told u about and its effect on other characters. Please can u hurry ’cause i have to submit the project soon .

  51. Biboswan Dey says:

    what kind of reply is that sir?

  52. Brinda says:

    Can you please write the paraphrase fir class 12 NCERT chapters?Aunt Jennifer’s tiger….

  53. Biboswan Dey says:

    Sir i respect your work but please cant you write an alternative outcome of the story the last leaf and its effect on other characters within 300 words for my ICSE project for English?

  54. Vinita says:

    Can I get the summary of every chapter of the book – collection of icse short stories and poems

  55. Mithu Baisya says:

    Sir please can you post an article regarding the significance of the title God Lives In The Panch.

  56. neha says:

    please give me critical appreciation of god lives in the panch

    • Satya Prakash says:

      Can you see the answer to the Moral lessons from the story given at the bottom of the post. Modify it, and you will arrive at the right answer for your qestion.

  57. Gurfateh Singh says:

    Sir could you please help me with an answer to this question:
    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 ?

    • Satya Prakash says:

      I would have pretty much the same as what Jumman did. Forgetting my animosity towards my estranged friend, Alugu, I would have acted wisely in a way not to undermine the age-old sanctity of the institution of Panch. Alugu had justice in his side, and I would not deny him that just because I was angry with him. My verdict would have been same as what was delivered by Jumman on that occasion.

  58. Pinky jain says:

    Iwant the relevance of the title with relevant examples from the story.how munshi premchand has succeeded in bringing out the essence of the poem

    • Pinky jain says:

      1.Introduction to the author
      2.His contribution to Indian literature
      3.I want the relevance of the title with relevant examples from the story.how munshi premchand has succeeded in bringing out the essence of the poem
      4.Role of conscience – our conscience plays a vital role in every decision that we take. Narrate an incident where you have acted contrary to your conscience and regretted it later
      5.Mention how effective the gram panchayat are in India of today

    • Satya Prakash says:

      Wait till evening.

  59. Pinky jain says:

    For project
    We hav to submit it till this saturday
    Word limit is 1500
    Plz a little fast

  60. Pinky jain says:

    Yes sir
    Please upload the information as I have to write and submit the project till Saturday morning please

  61. Pinky jain says:

    Please can you send the information till tonight please its a request

    • Satya Prakash says:

      Everything about Premchand is available in Wikipedia, and in my blogpost. You will have no difficulty in writing it yourself.

  62. Pinky jain says:

    Excluding introduction to the author I got nothing

  63. Pinky jain says:

    If you can you send me then say yes or else leave
    I have heard good things about this website that we get our project over here

  64. Pinky jain says:

    Fuck off with ur website

  65. Tushar says:

    Very nice superb summary and website

  66. Meghna Gupta says:

    Thnku so much it actualy helps me a lot……..finaly i have cmpleted my project😊🤗

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