Raag Darbari Summary & Notes Part 1 by Shrilal Shukla

Chapter 1

Ranganath, a boy from the city, goes to Shivpalganj for healing purposes (as suggested by the doctor). He misses his train and requests a truck driver to give him a lift. Taking him a place officer, truck driver readily gives him lift. On knowing that Ranganath is a student (M.A. History), the truck driver feels irritated.

On the way, Police appear and fines the truck driver as every part of the truck is worn out. While travelling, Ranganath explaining the education system of India and compares it with a bit-ch which can be kicked by everyone. According to him, money has become the aim and goal of everyone, from student to a saint.

Chapter 2

A man arrives at the police station and tells the police that he has been threatened by some dacoits. His application has already been rejected for grammatical errors.  

The people of Shivpalganj blindly believe that Policemen have magical powers and on the other hand, policemen also consider themselves the kings of the village. However, they never lend a helping hand.

Ruppan Babu, (son of the director of Shivpalganj College {Vaidyaji}), also comes to the police station telling the policeman that some dacoits have asked for money to Ramadhin (who is from another village). Both the policeman and Ruppan Babu try to guess who could have written the letter.

Their doubt travels from policemen to students. Inspector tells Ruppan about the story of Bakhtavar Singh (a policeman during the British rule). He was beaten by some hooligans who asked for forgiveness and Bakhtavar Singh adopting them beat the enemies of those hooligans instead.

As a result of a number of other hooligans also offered to beat him but the latter refused to parent more hooligans. Ruppan Babu after having a heartily laugh asks the policeman if he is a follower of Bakhtavar Singh. The policeman replies that these days he is a follower of Ruppan’s father instead.

The author tells about Ruppan Babu. He is a grown-up lad who is in the 10th class for the last 10 years as he does not want to leave college. But the real motive of Ruppan to be so is that he wants to keep his rule over the college students intact.

Chapter 3

Shukla tells about the college (Changamal Vidyalaya Intermediate College). A number of miraculous stories revolve around the establishment of the college. In the college Motiram, while taking class talks less about the books and more about his flour mill and that of his rival’s.

Meanwhile, principle orders a teacher namely Malaviya to take a class. Malaviya is a supporter of Khanna Master who aspires to become vice-principle (which made him a foe of Principle).

Khanna Master is taking an English class. The Principal appears in the class and scolds Khanna as he sees students reading obscene things.

In real, principle fears that he will lose his powers if Khanna Master becomes the vice principle. He thus leaves no stone unturned to abuse and exposes the faults of Khanna Master and his friends.

Chapter 4

Shukla describes the view of Vaidyaji’s house (the director of the college). Ruppan Babu (son of Vaidyaji) returns back from the police station.

Ranganath (cousin of Ruppan) also reaches there. Mangal (servant of Vaidyaji) who is known as Sanichar in the village, is sitting on the veranda of Vaidyaji’s house.

Ranganath enquires about the Badri Wrestler (elder brother of Ruppan). Sanichar tells him that Badri has gone to the bazaar adding “ganjaha’ as a title of respect with the name of Badri.

Vaidyaji who is an Ayurvedic by profession is attending his patients. He provides “free treatment for the poor and money back if not satisfied”.

Ironically he has his own philosophy of diseases. According to him, there are two types of diseases-public and secrets. He believes that all diseases are caused by the loss of chastity. He also shows his support for the preservation of se-men.

Chapter 5

In the chapter Shukla introduces us to Langar who has filed a case for some land case. His application has often been rejected. While in the office, he quarrels with the clerk as both decide the different amounts of bribes to settle the case.

No compromise is made even after the interference of other officials. Langar returns back and hopes that his case will be settled someday by Divine. A discussion is held between the Principal and Vaidyaji. The former expresses his fear over his demand for Khanna.

Chapter 6

Badri Wrestler (elder brother of Ruppan) returns back to the village on Rickshaw. On the way, he irritates the rickshaw-walla by asking him to sing a song.

Suddenly Ramadhin (resident of the village adjoining Shivpalganj) appears before the rickshaw. Ramadhin was arrested for his opium business for 2 years. Badri had installed a flour mill in Ramadhin’s village that flourished thus making Ramadhin jealous of him.

Ramadhin stops Rickshaw and says to Badri that he received a letter from dacoits demanding money and he doubts that Ruppan Babu might have written a letter for them. Saying this he asks Badri to keep Ruppan under his control. Badri assured his safety and goes away.

Chapter 7

A room having books that belong to Ruppan is given to Ranganath. Ranganath is told about the story of a thief whose existence is not sure. This makes Ranganath conclude that the generation gap has entered villages also because in earlier times every thief was more fierce than the other but the thieves of today cannot fight anybody.

Sanichar tells Ranganath about the story of a robber Durbin Singh (his parents wanted him to go far in scientific knowledge; so he was named Durbin) who like Gandhi’s Dandi March, used to commit crimes in order to break British laws and everybody feared him in the village.

However one day after independence, a gang of hooligans captured Sanichar and started beating him. When he told them that he is a friend of Durbin he was beaten more and told that the days of Durbin are over now. Consequently, he had to run away in order to save his life.

Chapter 8

Shukla tells how advertisements became subjects of discussion among the villagers of Shivpalganj. The literates would read them and the illiterates would try to find out which person is portrayed in them.  E.g. in one advertisement that asked the villagers to grow more crops as India is an agricultural country, people start saying that the man in it resembles Badri.

However, they failed to find the identity of the girl who is standing beside the man. Some advertisements would become so famous that they become the headlines of the newspaper (like Treatment of Piles by Vaidyaji).

Shukla tells that the letter that Ramadhin got was not by dacoits but was an attempt by Vaidyaji to tackle his influence. This method is quite common in the village. 

However, Police set out to the place on the hills where Ramadhin was asked to leave the money. Finding nothing, the policemen return back. On their way back they find Jognath (one who makes advertisements posters) drunk and abusive. However, he is spared as he is the man of Vaidyaji.

Chapter 9

Once embezzlement is done in the cooperative union. Union supervisor Ram Swarup loads sacks of wheat (that were for the villagers of Shivpalganj) and runs away to another village.  The director of the union, once, while having a head massage finds Ram but does not catch him. On reaching Shivpalganj he tells Vaidyaji about the incident and the latter decides to arrange a meeting to discuss how to catch the convict.

Sanichar while watching three young men tells Ranganath about the story of a man Kana (as he is blind in one eye). His real name is Pandit Radhelal. While doing the job of the watchman in another village, he made friends with another watchman. 

He used to dine at his house. He liked the food so much that he brought the wife of that watchman to his own village. The woman used to be called a bit ch afterward in the village. One of the three young men namely Chote Wrestler comes to Sanichar and asks about Badri. Sanichar tells that he has gone to the meeting held by Vaidyaji. Chote gets angry and tells Ranganath that nothing is done in such meetings.

All the men just beat about the bushes. In the meeting, it is decided that the government should either recover the stolen wheat or provide compensation to the villagers.

Chapter 10

In Shivpalganj, factionalism dominates the college. It is believed that factionalism is a tradition from Vedanta. Thus everybody uses factionalism for his own selfish purposes. 

In Shivpalganj an incident happens every four days. Thus people have always something to discuss. e.g. A boy is caught writing a love letter to a girl and is expelled from college. He is admitted only when his father agrees to provide 50,000 bricks for the construction of the new college.

The issue of having a vice-principal is raised and Vaidyaji says that the college committee will decide on the matter. This makes the principal restless and he thus becomes irritated with everything. A quarrel also takes place between Khanna Master and the principal in the office of the latter.

In the evening Ranganath and Badri discuss the incident in which the term ‘humanity’ was used again and again. It converses how the term humanity has been used both by looters as well as winners to meet their ends.

While talking both of them sleep. Suddenly cries of ‘Thief, thief, thief’ are heard that wake up both Ranganath and Badri. After long chase thieves are driven away by the police. Badri who had also gone before the thieves return back to home.

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