These calls of a little girl to her older Pathan friend keep echoing in mind even after the episode is over. An Afghani Pathan, Rehman had come from his trouble stricken country to earn a decent income by trading dry fruits, shawls, etc. The father of the girl is amused by this unique friendship between the little one, who chatters non-stop, and her Kabuliwala, who has a patient ear for all stories of the little one and who whole-heartedly joins her in her little girly games. Quite an irony it is when all of a sudden, after a tiff with a customer about payments which leads to his murder, the Pathan is taken away by the police to be sent to jail.
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Rahamat, who is a hawker of dry fruits and shawls from Kabul, frequents the Bengali locales where Minnie and her family reside. He was a strapping, turban-clad man and fascinated Minnie.
One day she called him from the window of her house. But as he approached closer she got startled and ran back inside. He introduced Minnie to him with the title of Kabuliwala. To make her more comfortable Rahmat offered some dry fruits to Minnie. He started calling Minnie as Khuki a child. As their friendship blossomed, Minnie and Rahmat started meeting and interacting every day. Rahmat narrated stories of his homeland to Minnie and the young girl happily returned the warmth with her own innocent tales and playfulness.
Kabuliwala listened to the young girl with great intent and relish. She also stopped paying Kabuliwala for his goods. The tiff started due to non-payment of a Rampuri shawl that the Kabuliwala sold to the customer. The customer denied having ever bought the shawl and that caused Rahmat to lose his control. During the trial, he confessed to killing the man even after being advised against it by his lawyer.
The judge decided to reduce his punishment to years imprisonment after being impressed by his honesty. After getting released several years later he went to see Minnie. Kabuliwala obliged but while leaving offered some raisins for Minnie. He also showed a scruffy piece of paper with a handprint of his daughter that he left in Kabul.
Mini was dressed and embellished like a bride but was too apprehensive to meet her long-forgotten friend. Kabuliwala was taken aback to see a girl he could not recognize and struggled to cope with the reality of the time he lost while imprisoned.
She would have been a grown woman like Minnie. In a way, they could sympathize with the plight of another parent longing for his long-separated daughter. Key Lessons The fundamental message of the story is that people have the ability to do good as well as bad to others. Often, it is easier to side with our fears and suspect someone who is not like us. It can be a different skin colour or a different language.
But if we are patient with people and try to understand their situations and problems then we can find some common ground. They go through the same emotions and conflicts as we do.
They are also faced with difficult choices like us. Refer to this site for a shorter summary. Play Quiz.
Kabuliwala – Stories by Rabindranath Tagore (3)
Rahamat, who is a hawker of dry fruits and shawls from Kabul, frequents the Bengali locales where Minnie and her family reside. He was a strapping, turban-clad man and fascinated Minnie. One day she called him from the window of her house. But as he approached closer she got startled and ran back inside.
Rabindranath Tagore’s The Cabuliwallah: Summary & Analysis
Mini though at first afraid of Rahman gets to enjoy the time that she spends with him. She is intrigued by the goods he sells and rather than accepting the money for the purchased items. Rahman hands Mini back the money her father has given her. However he always seems to be brought back down to life by family life. There is also an element of trust in the story.
Kabuliwala by Rabindranath Tagore