Introduction:

‘A Girl With A Basket’ is an essay written by William C. Douglas. It traces his experience following his visit to India post partition. A particularly unique incident with one of the refugees in India makes up this essay. It is a record of his personal life. 

About the Author: 

William C. Douglas (1898-1980) was a judge of the Supreme Court of United States of America. He has a fascination for India. This essay is a very well-known work of his.

Theme:

The theme of this essay is awe. The essay details him witnessing of the pride and passion of India through a young girl and his subsequent love for the country, how enriching and eye-opening the whole experience had been for him. 

Summary:

The Journey:

The essay begins with a description of how he views India, the people there and the religious diversity he finds. He also vividly describes his route from New Delhi to Himalayas and the rich, fertile agricultural lands he finds. He makes it a routine to converse with various people to feel the ‘pulse’ of India post Independence. 

The Refugees:

At one station, his routine is broken. He finds himself surrounded by refugees, or rather, their children. He notes grimly the horrors of the partition at this point. These children were selling hand woven, reed baskets with simple designs and patterns. Douglas finds himself buying three of those for a  very cheap price.

The Girl With A Basket:

Amongst these sellers, one beautiful girl of nine years was the most aggressive. She pleaded to him with tears. Douglas, who his hands full, was not in a position to buy more baskets. In order to not turn her away empty handed, he places some money in her basket. The girl gets offended. With as much dignity as she could, the visibly starving girl hands back the money to him. Douglas does the only thing he can.

He buys the basket.

Conclusion:

This is an essay that portrays the deep sense of pride the citizens of India possess, no matter how impoverished they tend to be. Even children refuse to give up their self respect in exchange for money. Such is, as Douglas puts it, the warm soul of India.