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Book Review: Lottery by Munshi Premchand

Vikram is a metric-passed unemployed young man known for aimless antics. He has big plans for life, such as touring around the world for seven years and building the largest library in the city. And for these dreams he needs loads of money. He is of clear opinion that doing job will not fulfil any of his dreams. So, he goes to buy a lottery to try his luck, but finds himself short of cash. To overcome this issue, he joins hand with a school teacher, who also happens to be his childhood friend, to overcome the cash crunch. The teacher sells off his old books to buy a lottery ticket. When Vikram buys the ticket on his name, the teacher grows suspicious of his avarice, and thinks the prize money will not be shared between two. Thus, he forces to Vikram sign an agreement but things didn’t settle down.
On the other hand, Vikram’s father buys lottery ticket for himself, younger son Prakash, and his wife. Vikram’s Uncle also buys a ticket. For them, more tickets mean more chances of winning the prize. However, Vikram keeps his ticket details secret as he is not in mood of charity. Though Vikram’s family is not so religious, but after buying tickets they spend most of the time worshipping different gods.

Always known for pleasant-sounding brotherhood in the society, Vikram’s father and Uncle one day begin quarrelling about the shares in the lottery prize. Vikram’s father announces that his brother (Uncle) is not entitled for any share if anyone from his family wins the lottery prize. While Uncle feels being betrayed as he had bought only one ticket, ignoring his family, thus his chances of winning the prize thins out. Before they can settle down, Prakash (Vikram’s brother) enters the house limping with an injured head and a fractured hand. When others ask him what had happened to him. He says that he had gone to Jakkar Baba who grants the wishes of people but before that he tests their mettle by throwing stones at them, whosoever stands firm during the stone pelting can have her/her wishes granted. As Prakash withstands the stoning, hence this incident presumably confirms that Prakash is going to be the sole winner of the lottery. However much contrary to their expectations, when the result opens out, the winner is somebody from America.

Lottery is a very famous short story, written in Hindi, by Munshi Premchand. It was published in the year 1933. The story takes humorous narrative as it focuses how swiftly a human nature can change with avaricious aspirations. 


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