27 September 2011
The Roots of Life
Deliverance is a short story by Premchand. The story is mainly set in a village in India that Dukhi lives in. The story is set around the Hindi caste system and the hierarchical foundation that India is sadly found on. Dukhi is part of “The Untouchables” which is seen as the lowest class in the caste system. Pandit Ghasiram, a priest is part of the elite wealthy class known as the “Brahman.” The Brahman also includes educated and intellectual individuals.
Dukhi needs Pandit to set a date for his daughter’s wedding, but he has to go to extreme measures to receive a date. The Untouchables and Brahmans are a part of two separate classes which can be represented by the separate rings in the tree trunk. The tree trunk represents the caste system, Duhki and the Brahmin’s life journey and upbringing. Although both Duhki and the Brahmin live in the same city, their roots didn’t run in the same direction.
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The tree trunk symbolizes how trial filled Dukhi’s life has been, with every new ring on the tree comes a new obstacle for Dukhi to face. He “began at once to carry out the orders. He swept the doorstep, he plastered the floor” all because the Brahman told him to do it. Dukhi is like the trunk because he didn’t get to choose what roots he could come from. The trunk is also thick to symbolize how deep and enrooted Dukhi’s struggles are. He expresses how “a cot isn’t like anything we’ve got” (Premchand 63) to his wife that shows how poor they are. A cot is a light portable bed that you can seldom fold up, they have cow-dung fuel and wood that anyone can get, but they don’t have a cot to sleep on.
Lastly the tree trunk symbolizes Pandit’s life as a Brahman and a priest. Pandit’s roots run deep in a sense that he has a well established life. He “was completely devoted to God” (Premchand 63). He portrays to be fully devoted to God but his heart wasn’t fully devoted to God. He basically put forth the action of what a priest is supposed to do ritually but he didn’t live it all out in the physical. Pandit has a set life, he will die as a Brahman but he didn’t earn the title of a true Brahman priest. If he was really a priest who was truly and fully devoted to God, he would not make Dukhi do all those things.
Although the Brahmans are well off financially, materially, and educationally they lack humanity to truly feel for someone else. They walk as if the world is theirs and everyone else just lives in it. I once heard a quote that said “you can pay for school but you can’t by class” and it describes the Brahmans dead on. They have everything they can possibly need, but they lack class on how to treat people morally. Dukhi is an “Untouchable” but he flourishes with class, his caste system class does not determine his class morally. He eventually dies with high class because he was doing what the Brahman asked of him. Pandit needs to learn that your social class doesn’t grant you moral class. At the end of, Duhki establishes that you define who you are not your class, when he split the trunk and dies it symbolizes that the caste system can be destroyed but it will just have to take many dedicated individuals to break it, and plenty of sacrifices; some lives many be lost along the way but anything worth having is worth fighting for.