Justice Above Self

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Introduction

Justice above Self is transalated from hindi into english. It is originaly known as 'Panch Parmeshwar' which is written by Munshi Prem Chand. In english, the title is 'The Holy Panchayat. The story revolves around two best friends, Jumman and Algu. It deals with their roles as the Sarpanch in the village panchayat and how one changes as soon as he/she is delivering justice.

About the Author

Munshi Premchand (31 July 1880 – 8 October 1936) was an Indian writer famous for his modern Hindustani literature. He is one of the most celebrated writers of the Indian subcontinent, and is regarded as one of the foremost Hindustani writers of the early twentieth century. Born Dhanpat Rai Srivastav, he began writing under the pen name "Nawab Rai", but subsequently switched to "Premchand", while he is also known as "Munshi Premchand", Munshi being an honorary prefix. A novel writer, story writer and dramatist, he has been referred to as the "Upanyas Samrat" ("Emperor among Novelists") by some Hindi writers. His works include more than a dozen novels, around 250 short stories, several essays and translations of a number of foreign literary works into Hindi.

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Concept Map

Summary of the Prose

In the story, Jumman and Algu were friends; the best of friends indeed. Jumman had an old aunt. She was in a dispute with him over the issue of the transfer of her property. The old lady took the argument to the village panchayat to end the daily fights. Jumman was pretty sure that he would win, because of the very reason that everyone was obliged to him and would not dare to stand against him, but contrary to what he had expected, the panchayat stood in favour of his aunt and surprisingly it was Algu, Jumman’s best friend who took the decision. After this incident, Jumman considered Algu as his enemyand a treacherous fellow. He thought of him as a deceitful person. On the other hand, Algu did not feel guilty about his decision, because he knew that the roots of a stable friendship lay in our abilities to do justice and be critical of our friend. Algu knew that there was sanctity about the panch. Whatever he spoke would be treated with the same respect as the words of God. Once a man takes the position of a panch, he cannot afford to be partial. As a judge, there are no relationships, familial or friendly ties or biases, no subjective or emotional considerations. Justice should be objective and unprejudiced. If a man becomes a panch, God speaks through his lips. It is a position of great social and moral justice. The person who stands on such a pedestal understands it and can’t resist it. This realization was seen in Jumman when he was given the chance of solving the dispute between Algu and Samjhu Sahu. Eventhough he wanted to take revenge on Algu for what he had done to him, but when he was chosen the panch, his conscience overpowered him. He realized that whatever he would utter through his lips would be the words of God and falsehood would be swept away. Hence, he concluded his decision in favour of Algu, which was a just and morally correct decision and that is when Jumman’s notion of blind loyalty was also wiped away.

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Text of the Prose

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Language skills

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Assessment

Additional Resources

To know more about the works of Premchand, click here