MERCHANT ETHOS IN “PARIKSHA GURU”
‘PARIKSHA GURU’ by Lala Srinivas Das is considered to be the first proper novel in Hindi. It was published in 1882. It talks about the extravagance of modern bankers and traders of India. The distinct characteristic of Parikshaguru is that for the first time it presents the realistic issues of life. It depicts the milieu of the traditional hindu elites, wealthy traders and bankers in the 19th century. It presents the story of a money-lender from Delhi, Madanmohan, who falls into the company of selfish and flattering friends, who desert him during distress and how then Madanmohan is helped by his only true friend, Brajkishor.
Lala srinivas das himself belonged to the same contemporary society of trading class, the class that played a crucial role in the transition of society. His father worked as an accountant for Mathura’s famous money-lender- Lakshmichand, and he lived in the bungalow provided by Lakshmichand in Delhi. Srinivas das was born there only. He started learning the work of trading and money-lending from his father and thus was appointed as manager in the same firm at an early of 18. As the author himself belong to the merchant class. So this emphasizes the possibility of the events in the novel to be based on real incidents.
Arrival of Britishers in India marked the arrival of mechanic age in India, which gave rise to industrialism. In colonial India of 19th century, the rule of law became important. Britishers were not only rulers, but also traders; hence merchant community in India came into power and according to the rules formulated by the new legal institutions, “merchants could alter their own modes of operation”. In this novel, merchants like Mr. Bright and Mr. Russell have been talked about, who used to have trade relations with Indian merchants.
The novel, very well, focuses on the merchant milieu of the 19th century colonial India. The protagonist of the novel, Madanmohan, belongs to the...
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