Idgah (short story)
Idgah tells the story of a four-year-old orphan named Hamid who lives with his grandmother Amina. Hamid, the protagonist of the story, has recently lost his parents; however his grandmother tells him that his father has left to earn money, and that his mother has gone to Allah to fetch lovely gifts for him. This fills Hamid with hope, and despite Amina's worry surrounding their poverty and her grandson's well-being, Hamid is a happy and positive child.
The story begins on Eid morning, as Hamid sets out for the Eidgah with other boys from the village. Hamid is notably impoverished next to his friends, poorly dressed and famished-looking, and has only three paise as Eidi for the festival. The other boys spend their pocket money on rides, candies and beautiful clay toys, and tease Hamid when he dismisses this as a waste of money for momentary pleasure. While his friends are enjoying themselves, he overcomes his temptation and goes to a hardware shop to buy a pair of tongs, remembering how his grandmother burns her fingers while cooking rotis.
As they return to the village Hamid's friends tease him for his purchase, extolling the virtues of their toys over his tongs. Hamid retorts with several clever arguments and before long his friends become more enamoured with the tongs than their own playthings, even offering to trade their items for his, which Hamid refuses. The story ends on a touching note when Hamid gifts the tongs to his grandmother. At first she scolds him for making the purchase, rather than buying something to eat or drink at the fair, until Hamid reminds her of how she burns her fingers daily. She bursts into tears at this and blesses him for his kindness.
The story has been adapted into several plays and other performances. Asi-Te-Karave Yied (2008) is a Kashmiri adaption of the story by Shehjar Children’s Theatre Group, Srinagar. Mujeeb Khan has also adapted it into a play as part of the series Adaab Mein Premchand Hoon. The Rashtriya Kathak Sansthan, Lucknow, has adapted the story into a Kathak performance.
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