For many, childhood memories are shaped by the books we read. The story of a man with a heart of gold touching the lives of many while making do with his own fate — nobody but Tagore could have written such a poignant tale. Which is why, on his 78th death anniversary, ThePrint looks at the classic tale, which was adapted into a film in Want of money forces him to leave his young daughter and old mother behind and travel to India. In Kolkata, much like many of the migrants from Afghanistan, he walks around selling dry fruit and other goods imported from his country.
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Set in the early twentieth century Kolkata, Kabuliwala delicately explores the bonds of friendship, affection and parting in the relationship between a middle-aged Pathan trader and a five year old Bengali girl. It is a love that transcends the borders of race, rel Set in the early twentieth century Kolkata, Kabuliwala delicately explores the bonds of friendship, affection and parting in the relationship between a middle-aged Pathan trader and a five year old Bengali girl.
It is a love that transcends the borders of race, religion and language. Get A Copy. Published first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details.
More filters. Sort order. A poster of the film "Kabuliwala" MY elder brother had shown me the film "Kabuliwala" in the early '60s at the Minerva Cinema in Calcutta when we were both schoolboys. Much later I came to know that it starred Balraj Sanhi, one of the best actors of Indian cinema, as Kabuliwala.
Around the same time I also came to know that the short story was written by A poster of the film "Kabuliwala" Around the same time I also came to know that the short story was written by none other than Rabindranath Tagore who was the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in He is considered to be one of the most important literary figures of the 20th century.
A book-cover design for "Kabuliwala". Finally, after all these decades, I was able to read the widely-acclaimed short story which has been beautifully translated by Mohammad A. The story deals with the friendship between a five-year-old girl called Mini, who belongs to an aristocratic family of Calcutta, and an Afghan peddler of dry fruits from Kabul. His actual name is Rahmat but the girl calls him "Kabuliwala".
However, at first she is scared of him because she has heard rumours that he carries kidnapped children in his sack which he carries hanged over his shoulder. The girl's father who is a writer of novels is the narrator of the story. He tells us that Mini is extremely talkative and is quite friendly with all the male servants some of whom tell her tall stories. It is he who first introduces his daughter to Kabuliwala. At first she is scared of meeting him. However, soon she overcomes her fears as Kabuliwala comes to see her everyday.
They joke about beating in-laws. Mini finds this to be very funny and just can't stop laughing. A book cover for a new edition of "Kabuliwala". The two friends had a few stock phrases and jokes which were repeated in their conversations. Not that the joke was very witty, but it caused the two friends to double up in laughter, and the sight of that innocent joy between a little girl and a grown man on autumn mornings used to move me deeply. One day Kabuliwala is sent behind bars for eight years for injuring a man with a dagger.
The day he is released from jail, Mini is about to get married. She has changed through all these years as she is only friendly with girls now who are about her own age. Rahmat tells Mini's father that he wants to see her. When Mini is called, Kabuliwala is surprised to see how much she has grown.
He is immediately reminded of his own daughter back in Kabul who is around the same age as Mini. He is deeply saddened as soon as he remembers her and how much he has missed her all these years.
While music is being played for Mini's wedding, Kabuliwala slouches on the floor remembering the land of his birth and his daughter. Today I watched the film again after five-and-a-half decades and I loved it immensely.
I cried in the middle of the film and then bitterly towards the end of the film because of its melancholic denouement and Balraj Sahni's superlative acting. I am glad I watched it as if I had not then I would truly be missing something! I am providing you the link so that you can watch it too. A black-ink sketch of Rabindranath Tagore.
View all 13 comments. Shelves: drama , read , ebook , indian-author , bengali. The story is of a Pashtun merchant from Kabul, who comes to Calcutta, India each year for selling dry-fruits and while living in India he becomes friends with a five-year-old girl Mini as she reminds him of his daughter who lives in Kabul.
There is also a black and white movie on Kabuliwala. Here is the link. Loved it. Beautifully heartwarming and absolutely enchanting! This is a great short story. I love anything that tells a story of a father and daughter. I felt sad for the Kabuliwala, for people think bad of him. Even if he has done something wrong, I think he is one great father to his child.
I love how he and Mini has become friends which I think solely reminds him of his own daughter. The stories and laughter they shared was heart warming. Years may have passed some not good things happen to him but still he didn't forget about the little one.
The end kin This is a great short story. The end kind of made me sad, I would love for him to return and find his daughter and made new memories with her. The story was short and sad, you will feel how deep a father's love for his daughter and on how he wishes to see his daughter but was stuck to some other father's child and make memories with her in replacement of his own daughter. I also wish the story was long enough for me to know the story of him and his return to his own daughter.
View all 3 comments. This was so beautifully worded. I was a little surprised when I saw the story was so short. I didn't realize it was a short story until I downloaded it. It really touched my heart and made me feel very happy. I actually postponed watching the movie when my Mother asked me to because it goes against one of my rules as a reader. View 1 comment. Shelves: reads , short-stories , translations. A plethora of mixed emotions run through your heart and mind, inexplicable ones.
It makes you restless, your heart skips at times like a watchful timid deer, at times an invisible needle pricks it causing a sweet pain, a pain you want to elude from but somehow enjoy it, when day dreaming is not an option but inadvertently becomes a need, a time when what you think and what you say are poles apart. I have a dried leaf in my hands and I turn it, look at it and then at the sky; I have it in my hands for hours as I sit there lost in my thoughts beside the river and eventually throw it away.
Set in the rustic Kolkata villages, every story oozes with the innocence of that era, long gone, and the characters are only haunted by the silhouettes of their emotions. Though I generally avoid translated books, I really liked the short stories. I am sure, in Bengali, the stories would be a greater delight to read. The stories are just more insightful than anything else.
All stories tell you something, take you to the depth and bring out the required moral that need to be told in a friendly and firm way. The short stories collection, however, makes you think more and more as they're so short and sweet that you expect more and more. These stories are the reason why the author was awarded Nobel Prize. No doubt, his wri the stories collection by the greatest literary person is so far one of the best reads for me.
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Kabuliwala (short story)
How should we think of this as an example of migration of Afghans to other parts of South Asia? The first point is that mobility and migration are very prominent themes in the history of South Asia. By mobility I mean internal, maybe urban to rural, or north to south, and these kinds of movements can be for a variety of reasons: they can be for pilgrimage purposes, cultural, religious, economic, political, trade, and personal. In fact, that was how the Mogul Empire functioned. It circulated administrators through the system to engage and control this movement of people, goods, ideas etc. External migration in South Asia can be of two very different types.
Kabuliwala is the heart-rending childhood tale of innocence, love & fate
Kabuliwala is a Bengali short story written by Rabindranath Tagore in The story is of a Hazara merchant from Kabul , who comes to Calcutta present day Kolkata , India each year for selling dry-fruits and while living in India he becomes friends with a five-year-old girl Mini from a middle-class aristocratic family. The main theme of this story is filial love—the deep love that fathers have for their children. In the story we encounter three examples of filial love—the author and his daughter Mini; the Kabuliwala and his own daughter in Afghanistan; and the Kabuliwala and Mini. In this story Kabuliwali comes to India every year to sell dry-fruits and to meet this girl named Mini. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article does not cite any sources.