Pather Panchali : Song of The Road | Teen Ink

Pather Panchali : Song of The Road

December 5, 2021
By Ananyaguha GOLD, Bhopal, Other
Ananyaguha GOLD, Bhopal, Other
19 articles 18 photos 28 comments

Favorite Quote:
“If they strain me up tight, why, let 'em look out! I can't bear it, and I won't.” ---- Black Beauty


Pather Panchali, or as in English, it translates to Song of The Road is an Indian contemporary fiction, originally written in Bengali by Bibhutibhushan Bannerji. The story's setting is in a poor, yet beautiful part of Bengal, a village named Nishchindipur, in the 1950s, just a few years after India gained independence.

The protagonists of this story are Opu (Apu) and his elder sister Durga, who are the children of a very poor Brahmin family. Durga is a very wild girl, always on the lookout for something different to do, and Opu is a sweet, little boy, who likes to do whatever his sister does. I would describe Opu as the kind of boy, who is easy to fall in love with.This story is a vivid, moving, authentic portrait of the life of a poor brahmin household seen through the eyes of these two children, and how they see the whole world. Their sibling bond is unbreakable. The world building and character development of this story is so amazing, its difficult to describe in words. Bandopadhyay has created a vivid image of rural bengal. I would like to quote a line, which I read in the summary of the poem, and indeed that line is true.

"Very few writers in any literature have been able to rival Bandopadhyay's understanding of a child's mind."

The social environment is all embracing: work and holidays, religious festivals, daily worships and the grim death rites. The reader senses the reality of family ties, the power of the supernaturalin ordinary things and the relation between castes and the poor and the rich. And all these has been written from a child's point of view.Bandopadhyay has introduced us to an area of life which so far has been unknown to foreign people and scholars know very little about it.

I won't talk about the character development because as I have said earlier, this book is an understanding of "the child's mind", and hence talking about character development may give way to spoilers. This story is a treasure.

I got this book as a Diwali gift. I knew this was a good book, because this book had already been made into an Oscar winning film by none other than the great film director, Satyajit Ray. But I did not know what it was about. As I read the first page, and got a faint fragrance of the idea, I could not stop myself. i kept on reading like a hungry tiger. There were intances when I cried, or I smiled at the sweetness of the two children. But when I finished the book, I had an odd feeling of homesickness. I wanted in to be never ending. And I plan on rereading it as much as I can. 

i would recommend this book for YA readers and above. If you want to get a good taste of the very unknown places of Bengal, or you want to know the life of poor people in a newly independent India, Bengal specifically, this is the right book for you.



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