Table of Contents
This chapter retells a story written by Munshi Premchand. The story involves a situation that demands two close friends to make difficult choices. It addresses the question of what is more important- justice or friendship.
Jumman Shaikh and Algu Chawdhry were best friends. Both of them were respectable figures in their village. Like true friends, they supported each other in difficult times.
But once a complicated situation arose. Jumman’s old aunt went to the village panchayat regarding her demand of a monthly allowance from her nephew. She had transferred her share of property to Jumman in return for a promise to be looked after by his family. But Jumman’s wife had begun to mistreat the old woman and Jumman had dismissed her request of an allowance that would enable her to look after herself.
The old woman sought help from the villagers. She requested Algu to intervene. Algu expressed his helplessness in the situation as Jumman was his dear friend. But the woman appealed to Algu’s conscience. Algu was left torn between the need to save his friendship and to preserve justice.
At the panchayat, the Aunt nominated Algu as the head Panch. Algu was, therefore, stuck in a tricky situation. He finally overcame his dilemma and decreed that the Aunt’s demand was justified and Jumman should agree to pay her an allowance. Jumman felt Algu had betrayed his trust, thus severing their bond of friendship, and Jumman vowed revenge.
A few days later, another situation arose. A cart driver named Samjhu Sahu refused to pay the price for the bullock he had bought from Algu. Algu’s bullock had died a month after Sahu bought it. So Sahu was determined not to pay even a single penny for the dead animal.
Like the poor aunt, Algu also reached the panchayat. This time, Jumman found himself in a tight spot as he was nominated the head Panch. Jumman had an opportunity to take revenge but he also understood the importance of his position. He decided to be fair and decreed that Sahu should pay the amount, thus causing a reconciliation between the two friends.
Both Jumman and Algu choose justice over personal biases. Their story concludes that justice and truth are most important. They should not be comprised with for the sake of personal friendships.