For him Adha Gaon ” is the story of time passing through Gangauli. This is the story of the dreams and courage trapped in these changing. Adha Gaon. By Rahi Masoom Raza Tranlated to ‘A Village Divided ‘ by Gillian Wright. For Raza, Adha Gaon ”is the story of time passing through Gangauli. Originally published in Urdu as ‘Aadha Gaon’, A Village Divided is written by Dr Rahi Masoom Reza (better known as a script-writer, who also.

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At the time this story happened, it was a mixed village but its routines were dominated by the Shia Saiyids who were its zamindars. The author was one of these Saiyids and in this novel he takes us home.


In the Gangauli of his childhood, zamindari seemed part of the natural order and the world ended at Ghazipur, a mofussil town nearby. The Saiyids squabbled and played and extravagantly mourned the martyrdom of Hussain during Moharram. The absence of mawkishness has something to do with the task Reza has set for himself. For him Adha Gaon ” This is the story of the dreams and courage trapped in these changing ages of man.

It is the story of the ruins where houses stood and of the houses built on those ruins. It is a story miraculously well told and wonderfully translated in which the vividness of a participant’s memories is disciplined by the impersonal authority of the chronicler.


The novel opens in the autobiographical first person and then switches interestingly to a third person narrative which flits impartially from one character to the next in a cast so large that it’s impossible to keep track of everyone. It is a mistake even to try to do this because the author doesn’t intend to let his readers get involved with the characters’ individual destinies. He plans to render a world, first in equilibrium, then in crisis. The greatest crisis of all was Partition, and as it approached in the book I braced myself for the pathos that I knew would surely follow.

Only it didn’t follow. Great novels – and this is a great novel – don’t traffic in predictable misery.

Adha Gaon doesn’t wallow in the troubles of Muslims left marooned by the Partition. Early in the novel Reza tells us that his ancestral home was, strictly speaking, Thekma Bijauli, his paternal grandfather’s village in Azamgarh.

But he had never been there so he couldn’t think of it as home because a place becomes home through the passing of time, a developing of affection and familiarity.

Book review: Rahi Masoom Reza’s ‘The Feuding Families of Village Gangauli’

So to him home was Gangauli. That was why he refused to let the touts of these arriviste nations, Hindustan and Pakistan, dislodge him from Gangauli. Nationalism, an ideology that allowed its adherents to feel proprietorial or hostile about places they had never seen and towards people they had never met, was from the point of view of Gangauli’s natives, insane. So when Reza makes his stand towards the end of the book, he simply ignores India and Pakistan. And I will give no one the right to say to me: I will not go.


Adha Gaon – Indian Novels Collective

Because to go would have been to forsake the singularity of his own life and to live at second-hand, a history written by others. July 2, Capturing a difficult idiom.

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Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments. Excerpt But gxon Hakim Sahib climbed once into a train, and the railway climbed into his brain. It even reached the stage where, when he dreamed of what his son would do when he’d finished his studies, he decided that first Saddan would become a thanedar because by the grace of God, there was a great deal of extra income galn running a police stationand then, when Saddan’s income had grown sufficiently large, he would buy a train.

This dream of the Hakim Sahib didn’t last long, however, gano a train would have needed acres of land for its stable. That was why he chose a motor car for his dreams instead. He’d seen a motor car for the first time in Lucknow too.