Review Madhopur ka Ghar by Tripurai Sharan

Book Review – ‘Madhopur ka Ghar’ by Tripurai Sharan

Guest Post- – Reviewed by Iftekhar Ahmed

Recently I read a novel called Madhopur ka Ghar. The novel is written in Hindi by Mr. Tripurai Sharan, a senior bureaucrat, filmmaker, and author. It is a story of three generations of a middle class family living in a patriarchal society in Bihar. The story of the novel can be poetically summarised in the following couplets of Mukund Arsh Malseyani and Parveen Shakir respectively                                                                                         :

Jise log kehte hain zindagī vo to hāadson kā hujoom hai,

Vo to kahiye merā hī kāam thā ki main darmiyān se gujaar gayā.

(जिसे लोग कहते हैं ज़िंदगी वो तो हादसों का हुजूम                                             ,

वो तो कहिए मेरा ही काम था कि मैं दरमियाँ से गुज़र गया).

Kabhī arsh par kabhī farsh par, kabhī unke dar kabhī dar-badar,

Gham-e-āshīkī terā shukriyā, main kahān kahān se guzar gaya.

(कभी अर्श पर कभी फर्श पर,कभी उनके दर कभी दर-बदर,

ग़म-ए-आशीकी तेरा शुक्रिया,मैं कहाँ कहाँ से गुज़र गया).

The Story- Madhopur ka Ghar

A pet dog of the family, Lora, has been chosen to tell the story, maybe because of a better sense of hearing and smelling than human beings. It is also because the dog is a faithful member of the family, and hence, the story is narrated and connected very sincerely. Lora, like a protagonist, drives the story forward and makes the novel interesting. It is thus a story of a continuous interaction between humans and animals. 

The author provides a good social and psychological account and interesting and challenging phases of the family members. Lora intelligently observes people, Madhopur ka Ghar, and the village faced with the changing dynamics of time.

The struggle of the family and human life has been presented in a fiction form but appears to be an authentic record of a middle-class family. I was also able to correlate my family story with the Madhopur family along with its features and characters. My family has passed through almost similar phases of ups and downs. The story narrates the joy and sorrows, incidences, and the environment which is universal in nature. The other reason may be because both the families, that is, of Lora and mine belong to the same geographical region of Tirhut. A poet has aptly described this commonality or universality of the story through the following couplet: 

Kahānī merī rūdād-e-jahān māloom hotī hai,

Jo suntā hai usī kī dāstān māloom hotī hai.

(कहानी मेरी रूदाद-ए-जहाँ मालूम होती है,

जो सुनता है उसी की दास्ताँ मालूम होती है).

The Plot and Characters- Madhopur ka Ghar

The plots and characters in the novel are well-defined and structured and appear to be natural. The characters of Lora, Tipu, Dadi, and Baba come out to be very strong. The novel reminded me of writers like Rahi Masoom Raza, Premchand, George Orwell, Bihari Lal ‘Fitrat’, and Ajodhya Prasad ‘Bahar’. The last two writers have written books on Tirthut- one is ‘Aina-i-Tirhut’ by Fitrat and the other is ‘Riyaz-i-Tirhut’ by Prasad. They have managed to convey the dynamics of society with the same credibility, ethos, and environment of the setting but the dramatic elements, imagination, and visualisation in Madhopur ka Ghar are missing there.

Madhopur ka Ghar creates interesting imagery of the locale, characters, and surroundings through various incidences and events which is usually achieved in films and theatre through the use of the technique called, ‘mise-en-scene’, to tell a story.

The novel also excels in telling the story with utmost simplicity and in colloquial language which lends additional credibility to the story. The combination of these rare elements in the novel reminds me of a couplet of Mir:

Bāten hamārī yāad rahen phir bāten aisī na suniyegā,

Paḍhte kisū ko suniyegā to der talak sar dhuniyegā.

(बातें हमारी याद रहें फिर बातें ऐसी न सुनिएगा,

पढ़ते किसू को सुनिएगा तो देर तलक सर धुनिएगा).

Design and ArtWork- Madhopur ka Ghar

The artwork and design of the novel have been carefully and creatively worked out by Prof. A. K. Pandey, a reputed artist and sculptor, keeping in mind the theme of the story. The aesthetic, design, and texture of the house are shown in a piece of terracotta tile, burnt clay colour, finely divided into three sections depicting three generations of the family living with their own experiences. Terracotta signifies the prosperous, yet earthy connection of village life.

To highlight the consequent effects of the atrocities of elites of that time, and an urge for reform, the artist has chosen black colour as the background. That’s why, in the black background, the brick colour terracotta is not only eye-catching but shows the significance of values and wisdom prevalent in Indian families. The title design is hand-written calligraphy keeping in mind the authenticity and indigenousness of the content. The back cover design also focuses on rural life and a saga of unwanted migration amid challenging situations.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel because of its story, locale, vocabulary, phrases, symbols, idioms, and connotations. A filmmaker will find it easy to make a film on the story of the novel.

The publisher of the novel is Rajkamal Prakashan Pvt. Ltd., Delhi. The novel is available on Amazon

About the Reviewer:

Iftekhar Ahmed is a renowned person in the field of media and communication. He has been associated with Delhi Doordarshan, FTII, Pune and AJKMCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia.