Kabuliwala by Rabindranath Tagore


Kabuliwala is a subtle exploration of the links of friendship, affection, and separation in the relationship between a middle-aged Pathan trader and a five-year-old Bengali child. The story is set in early twentieth-century Kolkata. It is a simple storey about a father’s love for his daughter and how that love is passed on to another young girl. It is a love that knows no bounds in terms of race, religion, or language.

Kabuliwala, which translates to “The Kabuli Man” (also known as “The Fruitseller from Kabul”), is a storey about a historic and loving bond between India and Kabul city.

Summary of Kabuliwala

Mini, a five-year-old girl, and Rahamat, a dried fruit vendor in Kabul, are the central characters in the “Kabuliwala” storey. Mini is talkative and innocent, calm, and gives his load of nuts to someone who has been suspended. Kabuliwala patiently listens to Mini. Mini’s father is friends with the young man, and he loves it when he sees him laughing at Mini and talking to him about life in Afghanistan and what he has seen on his travels among the Kabuliwala fruit sellers.

Because of the narrator, the pastor invites a Ramat (dry fruit) trader from Kabul to a wedding interview with an innocent Mini, and the Kabuliwala reunites with his daughter and has a happy life in Kabul. Tagore’s short “Kabuliwala” storey, from a collection of Tagore stories, is recounted by the father of an unknown man named Mini, and the reader knows he is reading a communication narrative by reading Tagore.

Mini, a five-year-old girl from Kabul who is a suspended fruit seller, and Kabuliwala, a man who deals with Calcutta’s past, are the primary characters in the novel. Mini is the narrator of this narrative and is a sweet and talkative girl who falls in love with her Babuji. Mini’s father, who is five years old, tells the storey “Kabuliwala”

Kabuliwali arrives in India for a year to sell dried fruit and meets Mini. Rahmat Chhabi Biswas, a middle-aged Afghan fruit seller, arrives in Calcutta to peddle her wares and make friends with Mini Oindrila Tagore (Tinku Tagore), a Bengali girl who reminds her of her Afghan daughter. The Kabuliwala have a daughter who is the same size as Mini, and they believe Mini is their daughter, with whom they share the responsibilities of a father and his daughter.

When Mini’s father learns of Kabuliwala’s hardship, he offers her enough money to visit her daughter in Kabul. Kabuliwali pays one rupee to her daughter for each dried fruit she provides her for free. Kabuliwala’s father begins a pleasant relationship with Mini after learning about him, and they meet every day.

Mini stopped fearing Kabuliwala’s homeland after his father called to introduce him to Rahamat and Kabuliwala. I was astonished to find Mini and her mother talking in the yard a few days later as my daughter and I were leaving the house. Mini was terrified of the place and looked for a bag containing an Afghan father and numerous living children.

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Mini had no idea what this meant, but the pastor and his wife were progressives who did not always talk about their little daughter’s future marriage, so Mini asked the pastor why she was leaving.

The teacher and his wife were getting ready for Minnie’s wedding a few years later. Kabuliwallah appeared at the narrator’s residence on the wedding day. The narrator fails to inform her that it is Mini who is being married today, instead insisting that she go to her house since there is a problem.

The narrative begins with a teacher chatting to his five-year-old daughter Mini, who has spent years learning to speak and was born prematurely and has never stopped speaking since. Mini’s mother encourages her to quiet down, but her father allows her to express herself and converses with her.

As the youngsters fled the dreadful Kabuliwala, a young girl named Mini risked to be her friend. Her father remembers her and she visits him every day to give him news and gifts. A father dressed in Afghan baggy clothes, like his five-year-old daughter Mini, had learnt to speak within a year of his birth and had never stopped shouting grapes and nuts in the streets.

In this short storey about the friendship between a five-year-old girl named Mini, a member of the Calcutta royal family, and an Afghan fruit seller in Kabul, Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) can be found. Tagore was the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913, and was considered one of the most important literary figures. This is the twentieth century. Despite being written in the first person, “Cabuliwallah” is a storey presented from the perspective of Mini’s father. Tagore reminds us that they are both fathers, and that a first-person description of a man with a grieving daughter whom he has not seen in years aids him in seeing her as a person rather than a killer.

The vendor spends the evening at the narrator’s house, talking to Mini, as part of his plans to go to Calcutta to collect the money the customer owes him.

Questions and Answers  of Kabuliwala

Question 1 : Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.

“Stopping her game abruptly Mini ran to the window which overlooked the main road, and began calling out at the top of her voice, “Kabuliwala, O Kabuliwala!”

i) Where is Mini at this time? How can you say that she is a very talkative girl?

Answer : Mini is at home at the moment. Her behaviour indicates that she is a very talkative girl. Her father says she has not squandered a single awakened moment of her life by remaining mute.

ii) What was Mini doing before the game?

Answer : Mini sat with her father before going outside to play. She was questioning him, but he was too preoccupied with his work. Mini was sent to play with Bhola, so he told her to go. She got down next to his writing desk and began playing knick-knacks.

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iii) What was Mini’s father doing at this time?

Answer : Mini’s father, who is the narrator of the chapter, was working on the seventeenth chapter of the novel. In the seventeenth chapter of the novel, Pratap Singh and Knachanmala were jumping off a high balcony at night with a friend. That did not stop Mini from asking him a lot of different kinds of questions though.

iv) What did Mini do when the Kabuliwala approached the house?

Answer : Mini immediately paused her gaming and shouted out to the Kabuliwala. He walked up to the home. Mini, on the other hand, raced inside and was nowhere to be found. The Kabuliwala and his sack frightened her.

v) Give the description of the Kabuliwala.

Answer : The Kabuliwala was a tall, unkempt Afghan street trader. He was wearing a turban, carrying a bag, and holding a few crates of dry grapes. Rahamat was the name of the boy. Mini had a childhood worry that the Kabuliwala kidnapped children and held them in his bag.

Question 2 : Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.

“The Kabuliwala saw Mini and became confused; their good-natured humour of old also didn’t work out. In the end, with a smile, he asked, ‘Girl, are you going to the in-law’s house?’ ”

i) Who is the Kabuliwala?

Answer : The Kabuliwala was a tall, unkempt Afgan street trader. He wore a turban, had a bag over his shoulders, and held a few boxes of dry grapes. Rahamat was his name.

ii) Why was the Kabuliwala confused?

Answer : The Kabuliwala happened to notice a girl he did not recognise. In fact, he last saw Mini when she was a very young child. She was now all dressed up and ready to be married. As a result, he was perplexed because he had that childlike vision of her in his mind.

iii) What had happened to the Kabuliwala?

Answer : The Kabuliwala had been sent to jail for causing grievous injury to a man. He had a customer in the narrator’s colony who denied paying his debt for a shawl. Things got nasty and Rahamat had stabbed the man in the heat of the moment.

 iv) Why was the Kabuliwala so attached to the narrator’s daughter?

Answer : Rahamat was a native of Afghanistan. He came to Kolkata for business. He had a daughter like Mini back home. He longed to be with her. He saw his daughter’s reflections in Mini and hence got attached to her very much.

v) How did Mini react to his question? How would she earlier react to his question?

Answer : When Rahamt inquired as to her whereabouts, she became embarrassed and her face turned scarlet. Immediately, she exited the room. Previously, she was unaware of the meaning of the term ‘in-laws’ and would dismiss the question. Earlier, she would respond to him by asking if he intended to see his in-laws, to which he would respond that he would thump them.

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Long Answer Type Question

Question 1 : Comment on the changing relationship between Mini and Rahamat. Why was Rahamat so attached to Mini?

Answer : Mini was five years old when she first encountered Rahamat. She was a very talkative child, and even her father did not always have ears for her. The narrator was working one day when Mini began to pester him with questions. He advised her to seek entertainment elsewhere. She was engaged in a game when Kabuliwala arrived. She dashed towards the window and yelled at him. However, when he smiled as he approached the house, she raced inside and was no longer visible. She was terrified as a child that he would kidnap children.

Rahamt arrived at the house, and the narrator decided that now was the time to help Mini overcome her worries. He summoned Mini. She approached and stood anxiously, her gaze suspiciously fixed on the Kabuliwala and his bag. He offered Mini some raisins and apricots, but she rejected and remained snuggled against the narrator’s knees. That was the conclusion of their initial meeting.

A few days later, the narrator noticed his young daughter seated on a bench next Rahamat and chattering incessantly. The narrator realised that Mini had never encountered a more receptive listener in her little life. Additionally, he had given her some raisins and nuts. The narrator requested that he refrain from doing so in the future and handed him a half-rupee coin. Rahamat instead gave the currency to Mini, sparking a full-fledged argument at the narrator’s house.

The narrator discovered that this was not their second encounter. They had been meeting on a near-daily basis. Rahamat won the child’s heart. They also kept a few of their personal gags on hand. Then something happened in their brief friendship. Rahamat was charged with causing grievous bodily harm to his customer and sentenced to several years in prison.

He was imprisoned, and Mini grew up to marry. Rahamat was released on the wedding day. He paid a visit to Mini. He was perplexed to see Mini because he had a mental image of her as a young girl. He inquired as to if she was on her way to her in-place. law’s Mini became embarassed and retreated inside.

That was their final encounter. Rahamat slouched on the floor, heaving a long, deep sigh as he realised his own daughter back home in Afghanistan had grown up to be just like Mini. He always carried a small impression of her with him. He was so devoted to Mini that he saw a reflection of his own small daughter in her.

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