Peasant Autonomy
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Story 84

Uttar Pradesh, India – 1930s (2)

The cow did bring along nothing but problems

for bigger picture click on this photo

(Photo: Neiljs)

Uttar Pradesh, India.

Dhania could hit her head against the wall. It seemed so splendid to finally have a cow. But ever since they got the cow, life became increasingly difficult.
A few days after the arrival of the animal, when Hori came home from the field late in the evening, he saw his youngest brother, Heera, sitting near the cow. “I just dropped in to have a look at your animal.” In less than two hours the cow collapsed with big glassy eyes and died a short while later. Heera had poisoned her. Dhania was furious. Hori was at odds with his brothers after the division of the farm of their parents. But killing a cow, what Hindu would dare to take this on his conscience?

The next day, the police came to investigate. Heera was nowhere to be seen. The police decided to search the Heera’s house. Hori found that terrible. The shame it would bring on his family. Their good name would be dragged through the mud, and how difficult it would be then to find a good bride for their son and bridegrooms for their two daughters! And to get help when they really needed it. At the village festivals people would whisper about them.
Hastily, Hori arranged a loan with the moneylender to bribe the police officer and prevent the house search.

for bigger picture click on this photo

(Photo: Sharada Prasad CS)

Uttar Pradesh, India.

There arose also big problems with Dhola. When their son Gobar went to pick up the cow at Dhola's farm, he started talking with Jhunia, the youngest daughter, a smooth young woman. She had roped him in.
Jhunia became pregnant. In outrage, Dhola drove her out the house. The two brothers of Jhunia swore to kill Gobar, who fled to the city, to Lucknow.
That happened already more than a year ago. How would he be doing? They heard no word or sign from him. He was supposed to take over the farm. They were supposed to have a quiet old age, and Gobar would become the head of the family.

Tears well into the eyes of Dhania. It seemed to be so nice, but the cow did nothing but cause problems.


In Godaan, The Gift of the Cow (1936) the Indian author Munshi Premchand tells the ups and downs of a peasant family, how they struggle to survive and save the family's honour.

Go to:
= part 1:
Finally a cow! - Uttar Pradesh, India – 1930s (1), story 83.
= the next page:
Dreaming of a small farm of your own - California, United States – 1930s, story 85.
= the Table of contents, story 84.