Quick Menu

 Go to main glossary page


Nineteenth-century prose

Chandrakāntā by Devaki Nandan Khatri (selection from the novel) Urdu
Premsāgar by Lallulal (selection)
Literary criticism by Bhartendu Harishchandra, “Hindī bhāshā” and “Urdū kā syāpā”

Twentieth-century prose

“Sadgati” by Premchand
“Dudh kā dām” by Premchand Urdu
“Urdū, Hindī, aur Hindūstānī” by Premchand Urdu
“Malbe kā mālik” by Mohan Rakesh
“Tanāv” by Rajendra Yadav
“Dillī mẽ ek maut” by Kamleshwar
“Paccīs caukā deṛh sau” by Omprakash Valmiki
Apne-apne pinjare by Mohandas Naimishray Urdu
“Lājwantī” by Rajinder Singh Bedi Urdu


Two Braj Bhasha poets:
  • Kabir Urdu
  • Rahim Urdu
Selections from Braj works: The Chayavad movement, with
  • Selection from the critical essay “Kalpnā ke kānan kī rānī” in Chāyāvād by Namwar Singh
  • “Vishva chavi” by Sumitranand Pant
  • Nīrajā by Mahadevi Varma (selection)
Old Avadhi texts: selections from
  • the Rāmcaritmānas of Tulsīdās
  • the Madhumālatī of Manjhan

“Dudh kā dām”
by Premchand

Premchand’s “Dudh kā dām” (also “Dūdh kī qīmat”, 1934) takes up one of the author’s favorite themes: India’s social ills. Grinding poverty and caste oppression are the lot of Bhūngī and her ironically-named son Maṅgal (“fortunate”) from the bhaṅgī (sweeper) caste. Arguably a proto-Dalit writer, Premchand exposes the injustice of the rigid social hierarchies that relegate Maṅgal to barely human status when he loses his mother and sole protector. The title of the story references the fact that Maṅgal’s mother Bhūngī had been the wet nurse of the pampered son of a rich village landowner, Suresh. Sharing mother’s milk should have made the two boys akin to brothers, but Suresh is a whiny, despicable boy who not only received the lion’s share of Bhūngī’s mother’s milk but also treats Maṅgal as an inferior. And these are just some of the miseries that Maṅgal must endure. Despite the grim topic, Premchand’s sensitive handling of the child characters is pitch perfect.

-Allison Busch

On this page

PDF availableThe Hindi text of the story is available as a PDF with pages corresponding to the page numbers below. The nastaliq (Urdu script) text is also available but the page numbers are different.Nastaliq (Urdu script) text available

If the words below appear as boxes or nonsense, please see the introduction page for help.


p. 284

शासनकाल - शासन - (m) instructing; command: 1. governing, ruling. 2. rule, command; so "the time of her command, her reign" with kal.
आपत्ति - (f) objection; a query.
प्रायश्चित्त - (m) 1. penance; atonement. 2. penitence; remorse.
प्रस्ताव - (m) proposal, motion, suggestion
छुड़ाना - (v.t.) 1. to cause to be freed; to effect the release of; to get (one) discharged, or aquitted. 2. to cause to be free, to release; to dismiss
(आदमी बनाना) ādmī banānā, v.t. To humanize, civilize; to make a rational creature of; to teach manners. ādmī hona, or ho-jānā, To become a man, attain to manhood; to become civilized, learn manners, &c.; to recover one's reason; come to one's senses. (Platts p. 33)

p. 285

फटकारना - (v.t.) 1. to crack (a whip). ... 6. fig. to scold severely
पलना - (v.i.) 1. to be reared or brought up. 2. to thrive; to grow fat, or sturdy.
छूत - (f) 1. the touch of sthg. ritually impure; ritual contamination. 2. the notion of untouchability. 3. impurity.
शिखा - (f) top-knot (Picture this sanctimonious Brahman swinging his top knot in outrage--Premchand is poking fun at high caste values in this scene, and the Brahman is made to look ludicrous.)
पंगत - (f) 1. row, line; queue. ... 3. commensal group; row of persons sitting down at a meal.
नेम - (m) 1. rule; principle. 2. custom, practice. 3. religious observance; vow, etc.
आपद्धर्म - this is अपधर्म, m. a violation of religious custom. (Premchand has written the word in a dialectal form)
आपद् - (m) misfortune, disaster
न्यारा (न्यारी in text) - 1. adj. separate, distinct, different. 2. unusual; rare. 3. removed, distant.
ब्याह - in section 2 (m) marriage
बन्धन - (m) 1. fastening, tying together. ... 4. bond, fetter; transf. obligation. ... 8. established rule or custom; daily practice, observance.
गद्दी - (f) 1. a cushion. 2. a throne, royal seat
चूड़ा - (m) bracelet, bangle
नैन-सुख - (m) eyes' delight: a kind of thick muslin (plain or striped)
चपेट - (m) 1. a slap. 2. a blow. 3. fig. attack; sudden blow or shock
ज्यों-की-त्यों appears in section 1 - unaltered, the very same
ताक लगाना - to keep one in sight, to keep an eye (on)
फ़लां - (adv. inv.) 1. such and such, any. 2. a particular, a certain.
पिद्दी - (f) a hen robin, a robin (the idea is that Mangal is a tiny, sickly boy)
परनाला = पनाला - (m) water channel; gutter; drain.
गलीज़ - (f) rubbish; filth (used as masculine noun here - due to dialect? - but this is actually an adjective: ग़लीज़ g̣ali:z (adj) dirty, filthy. the correct noun is feminine: g̠ilāz̤at (But it's tough to say what "the correct" form is. गलीज़ is attested as an adj. and feminine noun in Oxford; The Brihat Hindi Kosh attests it as a m. noun. Around Banaras (not far from Premchand's original village), some feminine nouns are commonly used in the masculine in those parts.)
बांस - (m) bamboo; a bamboo rod, or pole.
दाहिना - (adj) 1. right (hand)
आपद् - (m) misfortune, disaster
एका/एक eka:ek (adv) suddenly, unexpectedly, all at once
विषैला - (adj) poisonous (a snake)
गफलत - (ग़फ़लत in dictionary) - (f) 1. neglect; forgetfulness. 2. inattention. 3. heedlessness.
विष vish (m) poison, venom
देह deh (f) body
लहर - (f) 1. a wave; surge. ... 5. seizure, attack (of illness or pain); fit, convulsion.
गेहुंवन - (गेहुंअन in dictionary) (m) name of a particular (very poisonous) snake having a light brown skin.
मंडराना - (vi) to fly around; to flutter round or about; to hover around.
कसोरा - (m) an earthen bowl.
यों - (adv) thus (i.e. यूँ )
भेद भाव (m) discrimination; differentiation
चिढ़ाना - (vt) 1. to cause to be irritated, ... 3. to mock, to jeer
अपमान (m) insult, disgrace, affront
खेलाना = 2 खिलाना - (vt) to cause to play; to give opportunity to play
टाट - (m) sacking, a piece of sacking, matting

Page 286

डेरा - (m) a temporary dwelling, or shelter.
फटा -(adj.) torn, split, ruined.
टाट - (m) sacking.
मिट्टी - (f) earth, clay, dust.
कसोरा - (m) an earthen bowl.
उतारन - (m or f, pl.) discarded objects, especially clothes.
जाड़ा - (m) cold, the cold season.
आरामदेह - (adj.) comfortable
बली - (adj. & m) powerful, mighty.
झुलसना - (v.i. & v.t.) v.i. to be scorched, charred, branded. v.t. to scorch.
गलना - (v.i.) to melt, dissolve, become soft, rot.
मूसलाधार - (m) pelting rain.
वर्षा - (f) the rainy season, rain.
सहवर्गिया -"fellow, colleague" This is सह ("with") plus वर्ग (m. class) सहवर्गी )
जुल्म - (m) wickedness, wrong-doing; oppression. (with a dotted जु- (i.e. "zu" since from Urdu ظلم)
शरण - (f.m.) protection, shelter, refuge.
स्वभाव - (m) own state, nature, character (of a person).
धर्मात्मा - (adj.) righteous, virtuous, devout.
उदारता - (f) nobleness, generosity.
सोलहों - (adv.) all sixteen annas of a rupess: wholly, completely
विरुद्ध - (adj.) opposing, contrary.
रचना - (v.i. & v.t.) v.t. to be created, formed. v.t. to create, make.
पतित-पावन - (adj.) purifying the sinful: a title of the supreme being.
मर्यादा - (f) limit, boundary; correct behavior; merit.
संकोच - (m) contracting, contraction; embarrassment.
घृणा - (f) aversion, hatred.
गहरी बनना - think of this as गहरी दोस्ती बनना--for a deep bond to be established)
खिसकना - (v.i.) to move away, slip away, be displaced. (in context: to scoot over)
घेरना - (v.t.) to surround. (It's being used as a compound verb here.)
कूँ-कूँ करना - to whimper
दुम - (f) tail, rear part.
के बदले - in exchange (for), in return (for). (here used to mean "instead of")
फूस - (m) old dry straw, hay.
छप्पर - (m) a thatched roof; a hut, shed.
नोकदार - (adj.) pointed, barbed; fine, splendid.
सम्पत्ति - property, possessions, material wealth
स्मृति - (f) recollection, memory; group of brahmanical texts. (here just "memory")
आकर्षण - (m) attraction, attractiveness, charm.
ऊजड़ - (adj, m) laid waste, ruined, desolate. (here used as a noun)
सदैव - (adv.) always, continually.
स्वप्न - (m) sleep, a dream, fantasy (especially dream--also सपना)
उछलना - (v.i.) to spring up, leap; to be evident, come to light.
गोद - (f) lap, bosom, embrace.
चेष्टा - (f) action or movement of the body; impulse, effort, endeavor.
जोड़ी - (f) a vehicle drawn by two horses or bullocks. (here the sense is pair/team of players)
तजवीज़ - (f) deliberation, investigation; opinion; scheme, plan.
शरीक - (adj. & m.) participating; a participant.
बे - (interj. pej.) you! you wretch!?
सवार - (adj.) riding & (m) a rider.
दौड़ाना - (v.t.) to urge on, to drive a horse, to cause to run.
शंका - (f) doubt, misgiving; hesitation, scruple.
सवारी - (f) riding, horsemanship.
टेढ़ा - (adj.) crooked, bent, unfavorable, difficult, complicated.
क्षण - (m) a moment, an instant.

P. 287

कड़ा adj. firm/resolute
कदम n.m. pace
ज़ोर लेना v.i. to apply force/to make efforts
थुल थुल होना v.i. to be flabby
फ़ूलना v.i. to become heavy (सांस फ़ूलना means to be out of breath)
घेरना v.t. to surround
ज़बरदसती adv. forcibly
चटपट adv. quickly/smartly
टिकटिक n.f. clacking of the tongue
बोझ n.m. load
कमर n.f. lower back, also waist
सिकोड़ना v.t. to contract
रान n.f. thigh
सरकना v.i. to slip
भोंपू बजाना v.t. to blow a horn (in context-to make a loud noise)
भनक पड़ना v.i. a whisper to be heard (also means a buzzing or ringing sound)
महरी n.f. domestic servant
मलना v.t. to rub (related to मालिश f. massage)
फ़रियाद n.f. complaint/ cry for help
देह n.f. body
निरीह adj. indifferent; also meek, submissive
शंका n.f. suspicion
लाज़िम adj. inevitable; permitted
दबना v.i. to be crushed/pressured/restricted?
क़सम n.f.- an oath (क़सम खाना - to swear an oath)

P. 288

चोरी = f. robbery/theft
सीनाजोरी = adj. arrogant, robust, proud of strength, overbearing
दाँत - m. tooth + पीसना the teeth to fall out or to be broken (to grind one's teeth)
दम = m. breath, life, spirit
स्नान = m. bath
छङी = f. stick, cane, rod
छूत = f. the touch of something ritually impure
विद्दुत = f. lightening, electricity current
देह = m. body (can also be a feminine noun and this is how the word is used here)
पैवस्त = adj. absorbed
गाली = f. abuse
हुक्म = m. order, command
द्धार = m. door
सूरत = f. face, appearance
नज़र = f. sight
खून पीना = to drink the blood of, to bring about the death of, to cause dire suffering to, to restrain or suppress emotion
मुफ्त = adv/adj free
शरारत = f. wickedness
सूझना = to appear
आदि = m. beginning, origin
गैरत = f. shame
चुपके से = silently
सकोरा = m. small earthen cup
टाट = m. sacking, matting
टुकङी = f. a small piece
बगल दबाना = to conceal something under the arm (fig. to silence (conscience))
भूखोँ मरना = to starve (to death)
हरज = m. trouble, loss, harm
जीना = to be alive
फायदा = m. advantage, benefit
ठिकाना = m. residence
पनाह = f. protection, shelter
खँडहर = m. ruin, dilapidated building
स्मृति = f. memory
आँसू = m. a tear
पोँछना = to wipe/dust
फूतना = gush (burst) out (crying) (i.e. फूटना)
दूदना = to look for, search out (i.e. ढूँढना)
व्यथा = f. pain, ache, distress
ज्योँ-ज्योँ = in proportion as
मंगल = fortunate, prosperous
बेचैन = without ease (this is a very common word--also restless, anxious)
रक्त = adj. colored m. red color, blood
कसोरा = m. an earthen bowl
जूठा = used, touched, made impure
धूल फांकना = to wander aimlessly (Literally "to blow/eat dust," to suffer in dire poverty.)
सलाह = f. advice
सहना = to endure
दुम हिलाना = to follow about, to cling to (of a dog: to wag the tail)
परवाह = f. care, concern
श्वान = dog
क्वार = 7th lunar month
बेवफाई = f. faithlessness
खैरियत = f. well being
पालना = to protect
युक्ति = connection, union (f.) here it means strategy, plan

P. 289 (and a bit of 290)

खॊजना = v.t. 1. to search for, to search out. 2. to enquire, to investigate; to explore.
थाली = f. 1. a flat metal plate or dish; platter
जूठन = f. 1. remnants of food. 2. an object previously used by another (and so made so made impure and unfit for use).
पुकारना = v.i. 1. to call out; to shout. 2. to call (to); to summon.
घी = m. clarified butter
खूब = adj. 1. fine, splendid; lovely, charming. 2. adv. very much, lots (of); very well,
fine, splendidly.
मलाई = f. 1. skimming (as from boiled milk) 2. cream; clotted cream.
पुरोहित = m. family priest, domestic chaplain
मंगल = adj and m. 1. adj. fortunate, prosperous 2. auspicious 3. m. good fortune; prosperity.
उँडेलना = v.t. to pour out, to empty (the contents of a vessel)
छिपना = v. to be hidden, to hide
लौटना = v.i. to return, to go back
द्वार = (this has already occured in the story: m. door)
अँधेरा = adj. and m. 1. adj. dark; dim. 2. m. darkness
दबकना = v.i. to be concealed, to lie hidden v.t. to beat, to flatten
सब्र = m. patience, endurance
बरोठा = m. 1. porchway 2. inner room, sitting-room.
मँगलवा =this is Bhojpuri dialect (also a bit pejorative) for मँगल
डाँटना = v.t. to scold
साइत = dialect for शायद
खिसकना = v.i. 1. to move away, to remove; to slip or to slink away
गहरा = adj. 1. deep; intimate (of feelings); sound (sleep); strong(drink); dark; viscious; heavy (with sleep)
जल = m 1. water
डूबना = to sink
धुलाना = v.t. to caused to be washed (by)
चिंता = f. worry
भूल = f. forgetfulness, oversight; omission. 2. mistake, slip, error
निराश = adj. 1. without hope, despairing. 2. disappointed (in or with)
साँस = f 1. breathing; breath. 2. a sigh
खींचना = v.t. 1. to pull; to drag
कहार = m. 1. a water drawer, and carrier of palanquins
पत्तल = f.m. 1. a leaf-plate, 2. a plateful of food
नजर = f. 1. sight, 2. look, glance
मन = m. peace of heart f. state of mind; mood
फेंकना = v.t. 1. to throw; to hurl, to cast.
फैलना = v.t. to stretch out, to extend
कृत = adj. 1. done; performed. 2. made; prepared; composed. (कृतज्ञता f. means gratitude, احسانمندی)
सहलाना = v.t. to stroke, to caress
लात = f. a kick
लात मारना = v.t. literally to kick, but here: to spurn
दुम = f. 1. tail 2. end, rear or hind part
दुम हिलाना - to wag one's tail

^ Go back to top

This site last updated by Justin Ben-Hain on 5 November 2013.