Book Reviews

Dharamvir Bharti's: Gunahon Ka Devta

Gunahon ka Devta, a novel by Dharamvir Bharti
Publisher - Bharatiya Jnanpith

About the Author:

Dharamvir Bharti (1926-1997) a famous writer who has richly contributed to Hindi Literature. His poems, stories, novels, plays, essays, criticisms, translations and reportage have enriched Hindi Literature to such an extent that his name shines brightly as the landmark that every literature scholar looks upto and aspires and dreams of reading and comprehending his works as a rewarding experience in the journey of the literary world. He was the editor of the highly reputed literary magazine ‘Dharamyug’.

Dharamvir Bharti’s notable works include - Saans Ki kalam Se, Meri Vaani, Gairik Vasna, Kanupriya,  Saat Geet- Varsh, Thanda Loha, Sapna Abhi Bhi, Suraj Ka Saatvan Ghoda, Band Gali Ka Aakhri Makaan, Pashyanti, Kehni Ankehni, Shabdita, Andha Yug, Maanav Mulya Aur Sahitya and Gunahon Ka Devta.

Dharamvir Bharti was honoured with Padma Bhushan and Vyasa Samman along with many National Awards.

About the Novel:

The novel ‘Gunahon Ka Devta’ was first published in 1949 by Bharatiya Jnanpith.

Written in the backdrop of the political and social upheavels in the newly established Independent India, the story of the novel revolves around the middle class of the country. The dreams, the disappointments, the hopes, the culture, the ills, the standards of the middle class society that was taking shape and striving hard to survive amidst the changes brought about by the progressiveness that was promised by the political scenario in the country become centre stage in the story.

The ages long shackles of slavery had been broken but the mind still remained slave to the centuries old chains of customs, superstitions and traditions. Modernism seemed to replace the traditional set up but the author has very cautiously presented the good and the evil that prevails in both the viewpoints, leaving it to the discretion of the readers to decide for themselves which one to opt for and when- Modernism or Traditionalism!

Humour and wit sprinkle a flavor in the atmosphere and lighten the burden of seriousness in the story, helping the readers to escape from falling in the trap of gloominess of the characters. Life is a blend of sad and blissful moments. The author has very tactfully presented life in the most practical and realistic form, avoiding all fancy and dream filled sequences in the novel. The elaborate dialogues and discussions about love impact the readers to such an extent that the moments of their own life experiences flash and mesmerize them delving deeply into the ocean of love.

The sacrifice that love demands at times to maintain the sanctity and purity of the relationships, is at the helm of all the characters who display restraint and control of emotions and upheavels, presenting before the readers the highest level of the purest form of love- the Divinely Rich Love! Perhaps the finest example of Platonic Love is portrayed through the characters of Chander, Sudha and Binti.

The presentation of the woman characters in the novel and their characteristics, remarkably different from one another, bring forth the different mindsets and the socio-psychological impacts on the upbringing and personality developments of women from different strata, caste, religions and regions. The author, through the life sketches of Sudha, Binti, Pammy and Gesu wishes to bring to light the ills of the caste and class systems. Even today, seven decades later, the caste-class system prevails, yet to be shattered. The impossibility of marriage between Sudha and Chander owing to the prevalent systems, despite their unflinching and unfailing love, undeterred faith and willingness and desire to spend their lives together is the basis of the story which develops on the foundations of their love and its purity.

On one side, Pammy represents the open-minded western outlook, and on the other side Binti shows the readers the suppression and oppression faced by a girl child ever since her birth. The flight of Pammy’s freedom in contrast with Binti’s life, restricted and harassed but liberated towards the end, is marvelously presented inspiring the readers to shatter the manacles that still hold back the talent, the expectations of the  millions of little girls before they could even ride on the chariot of their dreams; crashed and crushed; nipped in the bud!

The hope, as the bright sunrays of the dawn shedding off all darkness, is shown by the author in the character of Gesu, who inspite of being born in a conservative family treads the path of life with courage and determination, bringing new light and showing a new way of life to the women to become financially and morally independent sans arrogance and pride.

The author, a lover of nature and natural beauty, uses metaphors and similes in the description of the environ- both natural and internal. The rising and falling of the tidal waves in the emotional upheavels of the characters are compared and contrasted with the lightning scenes, the monsoon showers, the falling stars. Maintaining the interest of the readers has never been difficult for able craftsmen such as Dharamvir Bharti. The readers glide on from one page to another, engrossed in the characteristic portrayal of the well knit stories of all the characters, the connotations rising falling at the author’s commands, portrayed with such finesse and expertise that the readers identify the happenings of the eventful sequences with those of their own lives.

A pinch of surprises and the shocking waves of unexpected twists and turns enliven the story throughout. The emotional element of the novel touches the sensitive corners of the readers’ hearts, leaving behind an everlasting never-fading impression to be cherished forever.

The novel ‘Gunhon Ka Devta’ is the portrayal of human relationships in the most practical, emotional, sensitive, sensational and realistic form. The prevalent ills of the society targeted with a hope of eradication, have always formed an important part in Dharamvir Bharti’s works who is accredited for having worked and voiced against the termite-ridden customs and superstitions that are deterrent and degrading for a progressive society.

Dharamvir Bharti’s novel ‘Gunahon Ka Devta’ will always occupy a special place in the bookshelves and the hearts of the literary lovers all around the world.


More by :  Dr. Giti Tyagi

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