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Novel as Treatise: ‘An Abbreviated Child: Gloom to Bloom’


Novel as Treatise: ‘An Abbreviated Child: Gloom to Bloom’

Divya Pathak

 Postdoctoral Research Fellow

ICSSR, Delhi


Abstract: The novel deals with a number of issues of contemporary society viz., women suffering, human trafficking, child predicament, political corruption, cultural decay, widening gap between rich and poor, surrogacy, unemployment, crime and kidnapping, painful marital relationship, bonded labour, child labour, impact of drug and liquor on life, poverty, illiteracy and above all hope for future. The theme of the novel is heart touching which reveals all the shades of life. Beginning with grey shades of life, ends on the brighter side of it. A ray of hope is seen in the union of leading characters Chandrima and Roderigo. The whole novel revolves around the characters - Radha, Gauri, Chandrima, Chhotu, Roderigo, Minister ji, and Kalia.

Keywords: Human Trafficking, Bonded Labour, Child Predicament, Surrogacy, Myths, Cultural Decay, Drugs and Liquor, Overpopulation, Poverty, Illiteracy, Orphanage, ‘Deewangi’, Saga of Crime, Medical Tourism, ‘Genderex’.

The novel begins with the predicament of Radha, who was sold thrice and rehabilitated five times. She continuously ponders over the causes of human suffering, tries to find out solution to their problems. She is a kind hearted, positive and intellectual woman who tries her best to protect Chhotu, a poor boy who is destined to work as a servant of Minister ji, a corrupt politician. This act of compassion raises the level of Radha from a poor, helpless sufferer to intellectual, sharp-minded and foresighted woman. She has a pious soul, who believes in ‘work is worship’. She emerges as a strong woman when she steps out of the house of Minister ji, her husband and determined to save all the bonded labour including Chhotu. She presents the example of selfless life when she protects 'the misery incarnated boy', Chhotu and other bonded child labourers as well. She goes to Ms. Preet Rani who runs an orphanage for children to which Radha also belongs. Her affection to Chhotu compels her to think over the child predicament which she realises is soaring population. She matters:" the world is filled with more than fifty percent parents unfit for child bearing, rearing" (16). Radha, as pious as Ganga, reveals the harsh reality of life and desire to serve society like Mahatma Gandhi but this dream seems to be unattainable in the contemporaneous scenario. She is moved by the pain of Chhotu so much that she wants to spread the message in society: “The baby is not a toy to be fondled, embraced and this and that - by one and all." (18)

According to Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary, treaties is " a long and serious piece of writing on a particular subject."

According to Wikipedia:" A treatise is a formal and systematic written discourse on some subject, generally longer and treating it in greater depth than an essay and more concerned with investigating or exposing the principles of the subject."

According to Encyclopaedia Britannica: "The word 'treatise' is derived from Latin word 'tractatus' which means a written work dealing with formally and systematically with a subject."

According to J. A. Cuddon, treaties is "a formal work containing a systematic examination of a subject and its principle. The commonest subjects are philosophical, religious, literary, political, scientific and mathematical." 

According to the above definitions the characteristics of treatise: long, formal, serious, philosophical, logical, scientific treatment, systematic, on religious, literary political or mathematical topic.

The metaphorical title of the work 'An Abbreviated Child: Gloom to Bloom', has deep meaning to ponder over. 'Abbreviation' implies abridgement, shrinkage, brevity or summary of something. An abbreviated child means a child who could not be fully developed, he was compressed by society. Dr. Parul Tyagi observes: “The metaphoric use of the word abbreviated implies the curb on the growth of the child. This is broadly in the sense of the shining of talent.” The inability of a child bonded labour character Chhotu to find a suitable environment to grow and develop as an independent healthy and responsible person. The curbing by society is instrumentalised with poverty, illiteracy and unawareness. The novel revolves around the abbreviated child - a bonded labour. Deeming of the topic, the life of Chhotu also befits the ethos. After six children, the rickshaw-puller father loses all the means of survival and succumbs to death. Naturally, the weak wife too has no means to feed the children. Child buyer brings bread two days and she hands over the children. The metaphor underlying 'Gloom to Bloom' denotes his journey from a state of being sad and without hope. He is in total darkness in the beginning of the novel feeling dejected and depressed. In the end of the novel, he blooms like a flower which means he becomes healthy and energetic, positive and responsible.

Throughout the novel the author tries to portray human suffering particularly child suffering. Poverty being the chief cause of predicament a society is cursed if a child is maltreated. The author strikes at the root cause of child suffering i.e., poverty and education which leads to overpopulation unemployment want of everything consequently create malnutrition and maltreated race. When a child is born to a poor couple it becomes a burden to them therefore the unfortunate child is sold for the sake of money or only for the sake of bread. Already suffering child gets into more trouble when bought by organ traders, drug Mafias or beggary organizes. Sometimes the child becomes cheap labour, bonded labour, bagger or organ donor for the rich. He remains abbreviated which implies underdeveloped throughout his life. Dr. Pinki Arora reflects: “the poverty-stricken Indian child is the abbreviated child who with the time of conception is under powerful grinding hegemonic forces aspersed in their lives as their cultural existence. The exit only for the rich and their name. The need ends they too perish." Through the character of Chhotu the novelist throws light on the naked reality of the society. Chhotu tells story to Radha who was Minister ji's wife at that time through which we come to know his plight. He was one of six children of the poor rickshaw puller who died of tuberculosis and the children remained hungry. Hungry troubled them so much that whole family was on the verge of death. One day a man arrived to their place, offered sufficient bread and ask for the children. He projected himself as a labour and promised to send children's earning to poverty-stricken mother. How a woman agreed to give away her children is portrayed in heart rending manner: " ‘Amma wept louder.’ That man gave us bread, one bread each and returned. We ate and slept full stomach.

We cried next morning. He returned again. Proposed the same. Amma wept but much less. We ate and played. We waited next morning. He brought a bag of bread but with a counterfoil of demanding note in his voice. ‘Amma wept quietly.’

The woman had been deprived of food and health after undergoing six deliveries and many abortions she was in want of 'every bout of energy.'” (14) she had 'so many tears to shed but no drops of milk.' (15) in in dire poverty her own children became 'troubles incarnated' to her. Consequently, the innocent children suffer who were even unaware of the utility of their existence. Full of pathos Chhotu Radha: "Jiji, why do babies come to earth! God makes them to remain hungry." Such a heart-rending portrayal provokes thought processes concerning child predicament. Unawareness, poverty, illiteracy cause innumerable quandaries to the blameless child. "A parentless child could be equivalent to the featherless child."(31)

The sufferings of Chhotu compels Radha to ponder over the issue of childbirth and motherhood. She analyses different kinds of motherhood including surrogacy. The practice of giving birth to a baby for another woman who is unable to have babies herself is called surrogacy. A woman accepts to be surrogate mother due to poverty. She could never earn so much as she does through surrogacy. Frequently denounced as exploitation, surrogacy is a curse to society as the author reflects in the novel. Idealizing the image of Panna Dhaya, a wet nurse, who throws light on variety of mothers e. g. natural mother, stepmother, wetness mother, natural mother, foster mother (8) test tube baby's surrogate mother, feeding mother (9). With the reference of Indian mythological epic Mahabharata, she disfavours the practice of surrogacy as it adversely impacts emotional, intellectual, physical, psychological and genetic growth of the embryo and human being later on. The utility of foetus learning is explained through the character of Abhimanyu who learnt martial art in the womb of Subhadra, his mother. Imagine if Abhimanyu might have been in the womb of a surrogate mother, he must have learnt shrewdness, cunningness and illiteracy to martial art. The trend of surrogacy nullifies the old tradition of horoscope match of bride and groom because it's match determines the better offspring. Strongly disfavouring the practice of paid womb, the author wishes for "better race better humans, well-nourished race"(9) which is not possible by the scientific advancements rather it sprouts and "overburdened and underfed race."(9).

In place of surrogacy, she admires foster mother's concept like Panna Dhaya, who sacrifices her own son for the sake of state and saves the prince, future of the state. Hence she says: " A royal mother being replaced by a poverty-stricken women-never fed enough and have never enjoyed life and in dire need of much to taste- much to relish. Then remains only the never-never fed enough-never enjoyed the riches of life."(9) Although medical science developed so much that it is disturbing to the law of Nature. "Someone's child in someone's womb - the pain, the joy of the commonality of umbilical cord shall be missing in all kinship."(9) A surrogate mother would have limited touch with the baby and she would always be other lady not mother. Similarly, the mother and the child would miss the cordial relationship for whole life.

The whole society is disturbed due to overpopulation, lack of employment, illiteracy and even unawareness. Education is the only saviour. The novel opens with the pathetic condition of a boy Chhotu. Radha meets him: "Radha looked at the miserable boy, expressive of untold unsung pain, agonies and lifetime frustration. There are still in him the blank bursting eyes of an infant who is churned up to adolescence"(1). The very plight of the boy reminds Radha her own suffering which reflects woman’s predicaments = another major and serious issue of the novel. Kindness of Radha compels her to save the child. Soon she develops sympathy for him. Chhotu, the child sufferer is depicted with authenticity-- how his Journey begins and how he escapes his miseries, is realistically portrayed. There were some other bonded child labourers with Chhotu at the residence of the corrupt Minister ji, so called husband of Radha, the epitome of human sufferings. Radha was concerned with her life not for her own sake but to save "the misery incarnated boy Chhotu and other bonded and child labourers as well". (13) While protecting other sufferers, Radha emerges as a saviour to them. She ponders over the issue of soaring population and incompetent parentship:

           "Every leprosy patient delivers babes,"

            "Every mental insolvent delivers babes."

            "Every pimp delivers babes."

            "Every dancing girl delivers babes."

            "Every HIV patient delivers babes."(15)

 Through the above sharply punctuated sentences the author endeavours to highlight the fact that a poverty-stricken parent, unable to feed the child, open up a world of life long misery in front of the unfortunate child who becomes a beggar to get food. Sometimes such children become victims of antisocial gang for the sake of livelihood. Invalid parents use their children as 'supportive measures'(16). With similar seriousness the novel deals with human dilemma. A woman is depicted not only as a mother or nurse but also as a well-wisher of society, saviour of values and as an individual who has future vision too. The woman is projected with utmost sincerity and respect. Even the downtrodden proves to be a competent leader or torchbearer.  The types of women, depicted in the novel are those who have motive of self-development and second are those who remain keen to carry the burden of others. In spite of all the hurdles, Radha reaches orphanage of Ms Preet Rani. She gets education up to M A level there. Then a regular visitor of orphanage -- Minister ji proposes her for marriage which she accepts but soon she realises that he is involved in anti-nation activities. Lack of speech and understanding in marital life tarnished the bond and provoked Radha to leave Minister ji. She emerges as a heroic character after facing a hell of cruelties and she reaches the orphanage, her haven again with an iron strong will to protect and guide downtrodden like Chhotu and many more.

Later on, she strives for all the sufferers. Despite her struggle even for the basic needs she shows untarnished courage. Generally, poverty-stricken and down-trodden woman would not be able to grow out of unfulfilled basic requirements. The calamities remain endless. However, it is a wonder that Radha is first sold with mother and that too by father. They suffer because of the man who is bound to alcohol and other bad habits. Radha with her mother was the bread earner even though they were the suffocated ones and marginalised too.

Chandrima, the second central character in the novel, shows remarkable supportive attitude to the needy ones. She is the true incarnation of beauty and brain with kindness. She is sincere to her studies as well as sufferings of others. She joins Alpha University in U S A to complete Ph.D. in Economics so that she would do better to help the orphanage. Ready to sacrifice her own pleasure, she denies Roderigo for marriage as that would divert her focus from social work.

Another strong woman character, Gauri appears as an incarnation of kindness, self-control, physical and mental strength. Sold by her brother, in order to fulfil his needs of alcohol, Gauri is much pained. While after the death of her husband-cum-master, she visits her parental home and learns that her brother Kalia is also dead.  Tremendous mental strength is seen when she does not blame her family for her misfortune. About self, she tells her sister-in-law:

“I know the taste of hunger.”

" I know the labour of an ox.”

“I know the anger of a husband.”

 “I know the lack of motherhood.”

“I know the lack of companionship.”

“Without the loss of virginity, I know the loss of womanhood.”

“I know the stranger's status in own house."(54)

While yoked as an ox by her husband in the field, she shows physical and mental strength in maintaining her mental balance.  She becomes epitome of 'genderex.' (45) The implication is that she is strong as an ox and tender as a girl. All her pain is outpoured when she shares her heart to Kalia's widow, her sister-in-law. The author coins the term ‘genderex’ to reveal how much she suffers at both the ends. She is not the one and only example of general pathetic facts but the term is applicable to all such women in the society who suffer for social and biological reasons. Sonam is the example of modern poor but educated woman who aspire to govern her own life with the help of education. She is the daughter of Kalia. She studies up to B A from a government college where education is free of cost. Thus, she becomes the example of woman empowerment. Overall a story written on a unique and yet such realistic topic carried by commanding style of writing and layered to cavernous depths.

Woman’s plight does not end here. It is depicted in a heart-rending manner throughout the novel Chhotu explains to Radha regarding the physical sufferings of his Tai ji overheard by him while she was talking to his grandma. Motherhood becomes a cause of suffering to woman as explained by Chhotu who is a suffering child. He tells Radha that he overheard his Tai ji lodging a complaint against her husband to mother-in-law that she was jeopardized at her sixth delivery. All her agony is exposed when she says that her husband becomes a ‘brute’ (59). All the source of relief comes from mother-in-law and she nullified the fact that ‘a woman inflicts misery upon another woman (59) as all her predicament is, generally, caused by a man. Another example of pain out of motherhood is seen when a poor woman's baby is kidnapped. Lamenting bitterly, she is about to die: ‘…my lal, my boy, my munna’ (29) and her screams pierce the heart of the reader. Though feeding or nurturing ‘the babe’ (29) after the kidnapping it is not easy or possible for her. She develops willingness to end her life but the hope of getting back the babe she checks.

The concept of heroic mother is added by Panna Dhaya who sacrifices her own son for the sake of Prince, the future of the state. As a divine mother she bears the toughest move on the part of mother (6).

Manjusha Kaushik, writes: “The present novel An Abbreviated Child belongs to this category which sketches a graph of attitudinal shift in a woman through the character of Radha.” It is evident that the woman in the novel is depicted far superior to man. She bears a lot even then gives her best to the society. Radha, Chandrima, Gauri and other suffering women are in painful condition but the undaunted will to serve other sufferers is superb. The chief cause of suffering is poverty with illiteracy and chief source of relief is woman herself. Sonam represents the example of educated woman who is ready to write her own future, all other women are epitomes of sacrifice. Education and determination change their lives. Rita Garg, the author, herself states: “In the novel, the women are in quest of raising their own voice and identity. They resist that place as is given to them by patriarchy.”

The institution of marriage exists as part and parcel of society. In the novel, due ideological status enwraps the marital relationship. In spite of this given beatitude, the marital bliss is not always enjoyable for all. Gauri, Kalia, Radha's parents, Chhotu’s family, Radha and Minister ji have this relationship on the rocks. Another aspect taken up is that the union might be thrust upon like the life story of a simple love-laden bride, heading towards the first phase of womanhood happily living under the shelter of her husband who drinks and enjoys lust-- in fact or in imagination. To him manhood is constrained to the dismal world of continuity of one companion after another. It is: ‘The world of needs is to increase fathomless out of some container’. (75)

Fully devoted to the role of a reformer; Chandrima does not feel like marrying her love persona, Roderigo. She understands that this would enhance responsibilities of own children and every child needs “space”. Roderigo clarifies that this would be ‘unsocial’ (80) to live together without performing legalities of marriage. They must marry and not have their own children. Thus, a social and approachable path is laid for loving and understanding persons. This recent social lacuna of live-in relationship is outrightly rejected in precise logical manner.

There is ample use of myths in the novel which associates society with its ancient glorious culture and beliefs.  An element of Hindu religion is myth and this adds religious sue to this treatise. Though myth is not proven yet the wheel of time moves on, myths lose sanctity for some but the belief of others gives strength to this distinct feature. The disbelief of the antagonists empowers further. Whatever controversies be spreading around, myth is worth acceptance. Nonetheless, this aspect of society attaches relevance to religion, faith seekers, social structures and above all moral substance to mankind. The faith-nurtured creeper yields virtue with the denouncement of vices, demarcates errors and fruitions. This assist and revise the best past with the abundance of incredible heights of life. This novel seeks much out of myth as a logical footing to morality. Not one but many are the examples in the novel e.g., Lord Shiva (17) gives The Ganges to King Bhagirath; much-avowed Bhishma(41); Abhimanyu(9) the genetic learner fights in the Mahabharat to meet his end early; Karna(15) the suffering prince; Krishna(19) the great reformer and ruler is explained as a democratic one; Sita the shadow of her husband ; Urmila(77)  the husband devotee; Savitri(34) the husband saviour; and, on the foot prints of these comes Radha the central figure who struggles for the cause of self and of others. Such mythical references impart divine beauty to the characters. Abundant references of Indian culture, beliefs and terms bestow additional grace to the novel. Also serve the purpose of metonym and precision to the language. Beautiful analysis of deewangi and madness with mythological references is like a pearl in the string.

Deewangi refers to unrestrained excitement or enthusiasm for something or somebody. The author uses the term in the positive sense. Love between Chandrima and Bon sprouts and develops in America but could not materialise because she departed after the completion of Ph.D. Chandrima has serious and urgent things to do in India. Through the major characters the beacon of morality projects itself. Emerging as a heroic character, she chooses the path of duty in place of love. Although she has deep emotions in the heart yet she is able to think logically for the people who are waiting for her. Points over the condition in the context and throws light on the state of deewangi.

 A comprehensive sentence much punctuated sharply infuses in the reader a vast idea of the term. The accuracy of words furthers the thought. Deewangi, with utmost devotion is a pious emotion which helps deewana or passionate person in a positive way. On the other hand, “The lower level of deewangi is insignificant” (77). It becomes obsession which causes illogical with excessive fixation of human psyche. To clarify the thought, she gives example of mythical characters like Sita and Urmila. Both of the devoted goddesses follow spouses passionately. Any sufferance might come their way but that remains immaterial to their psyche. Ram, in fourteen-year exile, has Sita following him in the discomfiture of forests. Urmila too wanted to accompany but she is given a task to perform in the palace as to balance the sleep of Lakshman who keep vigil in the night also. Here, Urmila’s deewangi is not obsession, the novelist writes: “Lord Lakshman’s wife, Urmila, was sorrow-stricken but not deewani enough to forcibly acquire her place in the jungle scene. In spite of all the palatial conveniences; her logical level of pursuit left her more miserable than Sita.” (77)

Hence, wherever she has a role to play she would stay. Sita’s role lies in the forest and hers in the palace. Similarly, the characters of the novel like Radha, Chandrima, Gauri represent the same selfless devotion to their aim which imparts heroic stature to their personality. In the context, Chandrima has a clear vision of her aim of life. She wants to serve the poor masses. Hence, she is unable to leave that pious dream for the sake of her love, an individual’s love. She shows amazing self-control which is the need of her time. Due to this, her deewangi does not replicate that of Sita and Urmila. Ways and means find recent trends as per the conditions. The characters like Radha, Chandrima and Gauri reflect true deewangi because they remain untouched by the selfishness around them just like the water borne lily remains untouched by the life-giving liquid. These women serve other sufferers in the society selflessly and reach the ‘pinnacle’ (77) with the desire to touch the unattainable heights of humanity, familial relationship or gain for the suffering ones.

Appropriate use of maxims helps the reader to understand the difference between deewangi and madness. Deewangi is a rare state of mind and heart which imparts divinity to a human, enabling him to understand the truth of life, ultimately leads him to God. On the contrary, madness destroys consciousness of man, leaves him in indecisiveness and keeps him away from his own self. Deewangi enables a man to create something fruitful but madness leads to destruction. Deewangi keeps the spirit high and widens the range of compassion while madness causes downfall. Removing selfishness and greed deewangi is wilful acceptance and yielding to something or someone. A deewna completely devotes himself to his aim: “Deewangi is a pinnacle, madness is a void; deewangi is surrender, madness is downfall; deewangi is creation, madness is destruction; deewangi is the last rite of funeral leading to God, madness is last but that act which does not reach even one’s own self” (77).

So far as linguistic aspect is concerned, this is compelling, empathetic and poignant. The author has done an exceptional job to write this novel on such a profound theme. Command over thoughts, consistency, communication of feelings through rich vocabulary and language are intricately woven to connect deeply with the readers. The visual comprehension that one is able to make when one reads this work sums up the strength of narrative. The author has used a remarkable style of storytelling. Her interpretation successfully builds on the intensity and depiction of main ideas and creates a deep rooted and even more evocative, memorable imagery. She lends a poignant dignity as the characters fight off a series of difficulties and successfully confront the imperfections of society. Spontaneously overflow of emotions create poetic beauty. Apt use of maxims enhances charm of the language. With every clause of comprehensive note in the fullness of thought expresses as to brave out the margin, the dwindling balance of the psycho working in the functioning of a deewana. In spite of comprehensive and coherent feature of the sentence lucidity remains intact. Such a panoramic display of expression enwrapping the sky that is void, pinnacle, destruction, surrender, creation and much more enriches the role of extremely devoted beings.

Human trafficking is a burning issue now-a-days the author demonstrates the same with sincerity and realistically in the novel. Radha and Chhotu, two major victims of human trafficking turned out saviours for others in the end of the novel. Radha was sold thrice in her life till she decided to come out of shackles of slavery and bonded labour. She became saviour to the child Chhotu and many others. Woman trafficking has several purposes e.g., prostitution, slavery, beggary and much more. After her first sale she had developed a habit to sleep like a log. She would not be active during the daytime. Her body was swollen particularly her thighs were extraordinarily heavy: “Later on she realised herself having been drugged-- how easy to control human activities, the emotions to make like a crawling child; to conform a ragamuffin into an affirmative creature.” (22)

The scars of the predicament are so deep in her heart that she plunges into stream of consciousness often. As a victim of human trafficking, she was sold second time at a slave market, where she was presented into a beautiful form with new dress and makeup. Under the effect of drugs, she was less conscious of hot weather of June. She was purchased by the family of a cook, where her intelligence was identified and the lady of the house sent her to the school but she had to withdraw from school due to the financial crisis. It was impossible to bear the burden of an ‘extra stomach’ (32). She was handed over to Ms. Preet Rani who had a strong missionary zeal and worked for the cause of social welfare.

The author denotes Radha as a sold girl repeatedly which intensifies the pain of the reader. Even after her marriage with Minister ji, she had to face loneliness, uncertainty and emotional bankruptcy. Realising that her husband was engrossed with antinational activities, she decided to escape from the house with several other child bonded labours including Chhotu. Her decision reflected her heroic spirit who was keen to change her circumstances. It was due to pity which she had after knowing plight of Chhotu and many others.  Hence, they escaped from there silently. Chhotu‘s plight was no less than Radha which filled her heart with pathos and reminiscences. She told him: “I was sold in childhood. God, I still remember the moment. I was bought to city in a big tin box. My mother was sold separately to another buyer. Yes, I was bought to the city in a big tin box” (33).

The saga of crime speaks largely in every epoch. The commencement of the novel with a historical throne usurper and Panna Dhaya brings out the nature of a ruthless Vizier etc. and the sincere most compassionate Dhaya. Also, there are enlisted the titles of rulers all over the world indulging in crimes against woman. Presently the crime is largely against children like organ trade, child abuse, child trafficking or woman selling. Who knows, surprisingly enough, even the spouse, father, mother or brother of the sold girl or woman might indulge in some heinous crime. Besides child kidnapping is common. In Greek literature Oedipus Complex and Electra Complex are written about. Here the novelist questions about a kidnapped young babe who sold in the flesh market would not know father or brother as a grown up and indulge in unsocial activities. Realising the present saga of crime, Chandrima like Radha throws self into the line of reformers. The disgusting, pathetic, tearful, emotionally charged but realistically blots on society tell the tale of past and present. Poverty-generated, ambition-orientated or regionally accepted criminal activities add a strong but painful texture to the novel.

In the Alph University, U S A Chandrima attends a lecture delivered by the Professor supervisor. During the talk, he throws light on the various branches of Indian economy consisting of tourism agriculture and handicraft etc. Then the recent addition of these is mentioned as ‘medical tourism’ (68). His logic about the spread of this is that medical facilities are cheap over there. Chandrima is out of this ignorant circle which lacks the understanding of realities: “While a rich drunkard might buy a kidney, a poor drunkard would sell his own or that of his child--an abbreviated child--under the shelter of the so-called parent. As if the child had every probably to face the surgery successfully and do well with one kidney only- that too throughout a long life.” (68)

The reaction of Chandrima comes because Bon’s father in Canada, is suffering from kidney ailment. The cause is self-created as he drinks too much. His shunning the medical advice to avoid drinks is leading him to kidney transplant. For this someone has to sell kidney. India being poverty-stricken has much scope of human organ availability. To her, this is the colossal factor. Eradication of poverty is the need of hour and eradication is the only instrument. She must expedite the completion of Ph.D. and rush back to provide succour to all. Leaving behind the charm of lucre, she lands on the Indian land and immediately starts planning ahead.

Culture is in changing phase. Rise and fall of the Roman empire is commonly used expression and signifies a change in the status of culture. Permanence is not attached to any aspect of the world. Culture too has its changing phase. This might be from good to bad or bad to worse. The ultimate is the desire for betterment. The failure of culture makes life barren. Then succour is the word which is called for. In the novel succour is extended through education and employment. The novel shows the downfall in religion, politics, society and familial relationships. To improve upon these, in the concluding paragraph, Radha, the central figure, testifies this point of view-- eternity in harangue and encourages all.

The fall of cultural growth or stability is to such an extent that Chandrima a character fully overshadowed by Radha, proves as a much-avowed Bhishma. Her stay in America for Ph.D. in Economics creates circumstances for her emotional linkage with a fellow-researcher, Bon from Canada. One day, the research supervisor talks of India as a good market for human organ transplant or better be called Medical Tourism. Chandrima realises this as the need of poor people and much more. This reminds her to be back to the native land as fast as possible. While waiting for the flight to India, she recollects a conversation with a boy in an Indian haat dealing with animals. That young boy commented with conformity and agreement of his life style: “Why do you talk of morals? Yes, I raped the girl at the age of thirteen. Your atmosphere is different. My ethics is strange. The whole day I stand in animal market. The ram is set right by me. I also fix ewe at the right place. The small tail is controlled by me sometimes”. (78)

Ironically enough, the boy is highly appreciative of his surroundings, associated attitude and demands. For him, their morals are ‘ethics’ (78) and people like Chandrima have ‘atmosphere’(78). Something regular that is and not worth serious taking. Here it sounds like a martyr is so to the fellow beings but a rebel to the opponents. His occupation is to indulge in animal activities and also set ram and eve for reproductive purposes. He explains further why ‘animalism’ is excessive in men around:

“When the action takes place between ram and ewe so many people around would form a circle.” (78) This anal action makes them ‘perspire.’(78) The boy proves guiltless by adding if ever that girl raped by him is in need of help, he would extend that. He is not the only one but many do so. Such an expression confirms his sanctity for that world which has ground level realities. The moment a girl is brought for sale here, a sea-change takes place in the tone, the colour and size of the eyes of all—"expansion and expansion of greed but cent percent denuded of mercy” (78). This disgusting conversation never could leave Chandrima. The need of correction, betterment, ‘succour’ adds windy speed to her feet and she returns to create as much employment and academic facilities for all as possible.

In the concluding paragraph of the novel, Radha makes a legendary statement by saying: "When History is the biggest lie; Myth is not proven scientifically; and, Culture is a changing phase, then plentiful succour ought to be extended to the abbreviated young ones"(81). In the above, with morbidity, the novelist too denies the past and present. This statement with it’s not much known frankness of speech attaches value to the views projected. The truthfulness of the statement lies in the fact that most of the time government appoints historians to interpret and reinterpret, write and rewrite history. In India also presently history is being testified again from the below. Previously interpretations located the magnificence in the clout of the rulers. The sins of the rulers are known -- bloodshed, usurpation of the throne etc. presented Antinational Minister ji as a character of the present times; reference to Pharaohs, Louis, Czar, Kings and many more. The novel mentions that Hindu girl must not touch ‘lingam’ (36) as a deity but she is not safe in the world of rulers of varied temperaments. The novelist lists the titles of the rulers around the world with the disbelief of the goodness needed. They are the titular heads enjoying life and the duties left to others who prove more of miscreants.

As it is said that politics is the last resort of a scoundrel so is not with the gentle being in contemporary times. However, contrary to that the novelist highlights that education is the only means of properties in existence. From local to global expands the academic perspective proposed in the novel. Significantly enough, the struggle of moral beings ends on the basis of education. The minute life takes place, education commences. This belief is expressed through the mythical reference of Abhimanyu in the Mahabharata. Decisively drawn is the picture by the novelist that education is not a prerogative of a rich only. Indian government is putting in the best efforts to educate one and all; but the availing one. Sonam, the daughter of Kalia and Ravi the son of Mahato exemplify young learners belonging to labour class. What was not deemed by Gauri, the aunt of Sonam; with education Gauri like struggle is over. With the bounty Government providence of free education, free books and much more Gauri is the ‘last sufferer’ (49). Academic rise of the young girls would not be carried to the graveyard as ‘blue bodies’ (71). The morose, monotonous, bewildered, bewailing and lack-lustre Radha as a child achieves that level of education and wisdom where not many would trample. Shadow of hers is pleasant; the vicinity of hers is virtuous and the shelter of hers is yielding. Ms. Preet Rani’s orphanage is not a school but an ashram with the virtues spread all over. Chhotu, Chandrima, Roderigo and many more imbibe the best. The foreign academic stay of Chandrima is a fruit of such a bearing. Talking of wisdom, Panna Dhaya places self in a niche of benevolence carved out of virtues inculcated as an intellectual individual. Her understanding of the political situation pictures the wisdom of a less qualified person. Gauri too has patience and wisdom.

The novelist lodges a complaint about the students going for education on foreign land. One day dubious Chandrima discusses with Bon about the students on a foreign land. She refers to less charging foreign universities where many would be joining: "Where the enmity for my country has an inner space but this might serve as a revengeful breakwater"(97). The adolescent students or the young ones join foreign universities with a highly impressionable mind. Their minds might be converted into ‘think tanks’ or ‘bombs’ on that ‘camouflaged ground’ (75). No doubt, if not intentionally done but alienation creates hurdles in the life for self as well as the native land. If not much but such as brain drain or emotional gaps are there. This global problem is questioned in few lines but is a truthful and far-sighted dilemma. The wonders of systematic and also formal presentation are apparently seen in the graveyard projection of human conflict. In evocative language a highly strong, scientific and serious treatment is adjudged within seven sentences on the condition of woman with Gauri as the representative of her class. Dexterously enough, the novelist maintains coherence of language about this philosophical literary treatise. About the mythical reference of Sita and Urmila depicting the levels of their deewangi, the use of aphoristic expression heightens formal approach to a worldwide topic. Ironic logic is found in curt. Comparison of poor selling kidney and the rich buying the same. Medical tourism is scientific and logical in approach. NGO is a logical answer to the widespread problem of overpopulation and recurring ills. University of reform is the moral of a treatise with all its characteristics. In spite of the references to a large number of issues taken up in the novel consistency is regularly maintained herewith in this literary treatise.

Works Cited

Arora, Pinki. “Cultural Hegemony in Rita Garg’s An Abbreviated Child: A Marxist Overview” Indian Women Novelists in English: Art and Vision, edited by Dipak Giri,   Vishwabharati Research Centre, 2018,  pp. 237-246.

Cuddon, J.A. and Habib, M.A.R. Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory, 2013.

Garg, Rita. An Abbreviated Child: Gloom to Bloom, e-edition (, 2018.

Kaushik, Manjusha. ‘Attitudinal Shift in Woman: A Study of Rita Garg’s An Abbreviated Child’ The Vedic Path, vol. LXXXXVI, no.1&2 Jul.Sep/Oct.Dec., 2012.

Tyagi, Parul. “Baby is not a Toy: Rita Garg’s Abbreviated Child,” Impressions: A Bi-Annual Refereed E-Journal of English Studies, vol. ix, no.1, 2015.