In­spi­ra­tion for Prem­c­hand’s ‘Eidgah’-- a sim­ple Gkp fair

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - Front Page - Ab­dul Ja­did ab­dul.ja­did@hin­dus­tan­ ▪

GORAKHPUR : Most of us have grown up read­ing Mun­shi Prem­c­hand’s ‘Eidgah’, a touch­ing tale of the emo­tional bond be­tween four-year-old or­phan Hamid and his grand­mother Amina, but not many know that a fair at Gorakhpur’s Eidgah in­spired him to pen the story.

‘Eidgah’, writ­ten by Prem­c­hand dur­ing his days in Gorakhpur and pub­lished in 1938 af­ter his death, nar­rates how the boy over­comes his crav­ing for toys and sweets dur­ing a visit to an Eidgah fair on Eid and uses his pocket money (Idi) to buy a pair of tongs (‘chimta’) as he had of­ten seen his grand­mother burn her fin­gers while mak­ing ‘ro­tis’.

“It is ab­so­lutely true that Prem­c­hand wrote ‘Eidgah’ af­ter con­ceiv­ing the idea from Gorakhpur’s Eidgah fair. The story is of a child who is small but his thoughts are big. It gives us an in­sight into child psy­chol­ogy in an in­ter­est­ing man­ner,” said Prof Deepak Tyagi at the depart­ment of Hindi, Deen Dayal Upad­hyay (DDU) Gorakhpur Uni­ver­sity.

“The story, writ­ten dur­ing the Bri­tish era, hits out at the cap­i­tal­ist so­ci­ety and fo­cuses on In­dian so­ci­ety, farm­ers and labour­ers,” he said. “Be­sides Eidgah, Prem­c­hand also wrote ‘Ram­leela’, ‘Boodhi Kaki’ and ‘Na­mak ka Daroga’ dur­ing his stay in Gorakhpur,” Prof Tyagi said.

Born on July 31, 1880, Prem­c­hand stud­ied at Rawat Pathshala fol­low­ing the trans­fer of his fa­ther Ajayablal, a post of­fice clerk, to Gorakhpur in 1892 from his an­ces­tral vil­lage Lamhi in Varanasi.

He stayed in Gorakhpur till 1896.

From 1916 to 1921, Prem­c­hand served as a teacher at Nor­mal High School in Gorakhpur.

It was dur­ing this pe­riod that Prem­c­hand drew the idea of ‘Eidgah’ from the fair held at the Mubarak Khan Sha­heed Eidgah, lo­cated near the two-room quar­ter where he used to live with his wife. The looks of the shrine, a prom­i­nent cen­tre of de­vo­tion for lakhs of Mus­lims and Hin­dus, along with Prem­c­hand’s res­i­dence, have changed with time.

While the shrine is now a beau­ti­ful stone struc­ture, the premises hous­ing the writer’s house, Prem­c­hand Sadan, has been con­verted into Mun­shi Prem­c­hand Park.

Syed Farhan, who is as­so­ci­ated with the dar­gah and Eidgah, said: “Even af­ter so many decades, there is not much dif­fer­ence be­tween the Eidgah fair that Prem­c­hand men­tioned in his story and the present day cel­e­bra­tions. Shops of sweets, toys, ban­gles, uten­sils etc are still put up here on Eid and Bakrid. Thou­sands of Mus­lims gather here in their tra­di­tional at­tire to of­fer prayers. Sev­eral chil­dren come here in colour­ful dresses, some pos­ing as Arab Sheikhs.”


▪ The Gorakhpur Eidgah ground where the fair is held even now on both the Eids.

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