Characters

  1. Rahim Khan: The main character who becomes cruel because of his parent’s deeds.
  2. Radha: Rahim Khan’s long-lost love.
  3. Rahim’s wife: Victim of Rahim Khan’s cruelty.
  4. Bundu: Rahim’s elder son.
  5. Nuru: Rahim’s younger son.

Introduction

‘The Sparrows’ written by K. A. Abbas tells the importance of displaying our sense of love and affection to our fellow human beings beginning with our own family. Through this story, the author can show that anything can be achieved under the sun. All that is needed is a sense of compassion and sincere love expressed towards worldly creatures. Only true love can elicit a true relationship is the message in this story.

Summary

The most hated person in the village

Rahim Khan was a fifty-year-old peasant. Everybody in the village hated him for his harsh and cruel behavior. He was not kind even to children and animals. No one dared to talk to him. The children would run away from their play if they saw him. But he was a very different man when he was young. His parents squashed his ambitions of joining the circus and marrying a Hindu girl, Radha. He loved Radha and found in her his soul mate but his parents had other plans for him and got him to marry a girl of their choice and community, Radha in turn also married and settled in life.

Reason for Rahim’s brutality

Rahim once heard his father boasting to his mother how well he succeeded in getting his son to accept his words obediently. Rahim Khan then decided to avenge his defeat at the hands of his parents, his family, and society. Having decided to take revenge, his first and immediate target was his wife. He saw her as the scapegoat for all his misadventures. His kind soul suddenly became as hard as iron. For nearly thirty years, he ill-treated his wife, his two sons, and his two bullocks. He quarreled with everyone in the village. Subsequently, the entire village developed a deep-seated hatred for him.

Six years earlier his elder son Bundu ran away from home after an unusually severe beating. Three years later his second son Nuru also joined his brother. One day when he returned home from the fields an old lady from the neighborhood told him that his wife had gone to her brother’s place and that she would be back shortly. Rahim Khan knew that she would never come back. He suddenly began to feel lonely not because he loved his family but because he had no one now to display his anger. Nobody was there to wash his feet; to give him food and other eatables. His wife’s absence made him feel uncomfortable as though a piece of furniture had been removed from his house.

Brave sparrows

One day, as he was cleaning the roof, spotted a small nest of sparrows in a corner. He initially wanted to exert his might on them but good sense prevailed upon him after a long gap and he left them undisturbed. He pulled a stool and climbed on it to have better look at them. But the parent sparrows would not allow him to breach their privacy they threatened him by hovering around him and fluttering their wings hard at his face. He was amused at the little bird’s heroic efforts to save the young ones. He realized their love and care for the family. Soon the young ones grew well and began to move around inside his house. He started feeding them with breadcrumbs and other grains. He called them Bundu and Nuru after his two sons. There was now a total transformation in his temperament and outlook on life. The villagers too took note of the change in him. But they had their reservations against him. He even stopped shouting at the children.

Rahim, a transformed man

On a day that brought in a heavy downpour, he noticed that the roof had begun to leak near the sparrow’s nest. He immediately climbed his roof to close the gap. He came back fully drenched. He had already started sneezing. He failed to take care at once. He woke up the next day with a high fever. His only companions now were the two sparrows. He was worried as to who would take care of the two birds after he dies. A couple of days passed. There was no sign of Rahim Khan walking out. The villagers grew suspicious. They sent for his wife who arrived with her sons. When they came in, they could see his body lying still and the fluttering of the birds the only sound to be heard.

Conclusion

‘The Sparrows’ is a wonderful story where nature teaches man to behave himself. What human beings could not demonstrate nature’s tiny creation a happy sparrow-couple could effortlessly achieve this story is remarkable not just for its narration but also for its characterization of the infrahuman, yet ultra-humane sparrows. This is a very moving story of the sorrow and disappointment of a supposedly hard-hearted man. His transformation from utter cruelty to one of endearing love and compassion forms the lifeline of the narrative.