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Title- Satire on Politics and Government in Rag Darbari

Mr. Punit Shukla

Ph. D. Scholar,

Jaipur National University,

Jaipur, India


Advertisement for removing impotency and piles on the street walls, Ganja smokers, Bhang Drinking, Beetle leaves chewing, pontification, misconception in family planning miscreants in society, National drink: Tea, Vote based politics,  tyranny of police, over delay in public services and using public fund for personal trip all are the features of shivpalganj in UP. Shri Lal Shukla has carved a niche of all such realities in his work Rag Darbari—a Sahitya Academy Winning work. The current system in the biggest constituency UP in India is still unprogressive in removing corruption and other social evils. It is still struggling with malpractices which are generated to exploit the poor. The wrong propagation of Malaria abolition and finding dirt at the bus and railway stations are also comment-able issues.

Keywords- Power Politics, Satire, Corruption, Superstitions, Malpractices


The beautifully carved characters, the startling twists in the plot, the wit, and humor in the lampooning sketches of life in a stereotypical village of Uttar Pradesh are crying out in the renowned work Ragdarbari written by Shrilal Shukla. Drawing inspiration from his experiences as a bureaucrat in the state UP, Shukla depicts a spirited picture of a typical village which is named Shivpalganj. The satirical incidents are held together like the issue of Ranganath, the town graduate, who comes to utilize his time for studies at the house of his uncle Vaidyaji. Vaidyaji -- a Brahmin Ayurveda-- controls lives in Shivpalganj with the help of his elder son, the wrestler Badri and the younger son Ruppan -- a student leader. The novel -- set in the late '50s -- spans the period of Ranganath's stay during which Vaidyaji's political standing is challenged by a group of rebel college teachers who are backed by Vaidyaji's arch-enemy, Ramadhin as he is Shivpalganj's opium dealer and gambling don who also fancies himself as the village poet. Since that point he has started experiencing the mundane politic of villages.

The politics play a pivotal role in affecting personal life as well as social image. Political power is controlling everything in the society. The English translator of this book Gillian Wright, who has a first-class honors degree in Urdu, Hindi, history, and politics from the School of Oriental Studies of London University, and has been in India since 1977, manages to keep the real essence of Shukla's satirical wit and humor intact. The translation also shows the pace and rhythm of life in Shivpalganj which is fine paragon of  power politics; Burglaries, Bhang drinking sessions, Gambling, Wrestling, Pan chewing and other 'Ganja' habits are inseparable parts of its life. People are having these things as incorporeal parts of their daily routine.  Wright's Indian experience stands her at the vantage point in the description of the economic and political power connections and the explanation of issues like inter-caste marriages, family planning, the Indian habit of pontification and speech giving, the eccentric legal system and the flexible tyranny of the police.

But, one always misses the robust Awadhi dialect in the English translation whereas the Khari Boli dialogues are read well in English.  Rag Darbari after its publication, notwithstanding its fame as one of the funniest novels in modern Hindi literature due to its picaresque and satiric tones is a very realistic and pessimistic representation of postcolonial India where the social and political systems are totally corrupt and eventually spoiled. Exposing in a very refined way social and political dynamics of rural life particularly in the country in the period immediately following Independence the author laughs at the whole system in totality for its funny deceptive strategies for befooling the common people. He tells the story of a student, Rangnath, as mentioned at the beginning, who visits his uncle in the village as mentioned earlier and hopes to find an untouched and serene environment so he can prepare for his examinations. This research student in history finds himself amusingly surfing through the venality of rural politics and its connections to urban politics; this leads to a complete reversal of the romantic though about the rural world and that had been an idiosyncrasy of Hindi literature in the 1950s where the goodness of village life has always been shown profusely. His uncle plays an instrumental role in all local social institutions, from the village school to the panchayat and from the government to the local administrative offices including officers. Thus it is openly shown to admit that the whole education system in India is absolutely questionable and impractical, that the rural world is possibly even more corrupt than the urban society, and that it is literally as well as metaphorically a muddy world.

Winner of the Sahitya Akademi Award, this novel develops in the form of a comedy, a major trait of Indian writing in all geographical and linguistic areas: a deep gap between government and population and the deriving sense of alienation from the worldly affairs. For example, one passage describes the endless struggle of a character, The Cripple, who spends his whole life trying unsuccessfully to get a copy of a court document without giving any bribe. This sort of problem is still persisting in the society.  Actually, the novel ends recording the failure of society and institutions and pointing out albeit ironically as the only possible choice palayan, flight which is to run away from the corrupt social and political system. 

A person would get the feeling of alienation from the society as per the existing problems. The text mentions:  “The Music of Escapism You are an average human being, and are stuck in the mud of humanity. You are surrounded by mud and mud alone. Don't extol mud. Don't be under the illusion that lotuses grow from it. Only mud flourishes in the mud. Mud spreads mud and throws up mud. Save yourself from the mud. Leave this place. Escape. Go and hide yourself in the places you have seen in the color photographs of Look and Life magazine, in places where crowns of flowers, guitars and girls constantly beckon your soul to new explorations, where the air is thinner than thin, where you will find the eternal dreaminess of Ravi Shankar's brand of music and Maharishi Yogi's brand of meditation.... Escape from here…..Bars and tea houses. In the new buildings of Chandigarh, Bhopal, and Bangalore. In hill-station retreats where endless seminars are held. In brand new research institutes funded by foreign aid, where the image of Indian intellect is being shaped. In cigar smoke, books with shiny covers, and universities enveloped in a fog of incorrect but compulsory English. Go and stay there, and holdfast. If you can't do that, go and hide in the past, in the philosophy of Kanad, Patanjali and Gautam, in the temples of Ajanta, Ellora, Konarak and Khajuraho, in the heavy breasts of the sculpted female figures of Shal-bhanjika, Sursundari and Alaskanya, in prayers and mantras, in saints, astrologers and palmists—hide wherever you can find a place. Run, run, run! You're being pursued by reality. (Shukla    340)

Shrilal Shukla, the creator of the notable content of Raag Darbari is the winner of the Sahitya Akademi Award passed away on 28 October 2011 for the text. In a touching tribute to him, Sidharth Monga returns to Shukla's this most celebrated work, in which he made a "World Possessed by Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron as he says that two of his most loved places in India are anecdotal. The first is Malgudi where he can notice channel espresso besides he considers cricket after school, lethargic Sunday evenings, windy front veranda with the concrete floor cool underneath. Malgudi is a perspective according to him. The second place, Shivpalganj in Uttar Pradesh, is a legitimate Wild West. These two places are totally opposite as "Malgudi is a good place where we wished to live at but at Shivplaganj even the hero of the novel wants to leave it in a half year since he feels choked there because of the corrupt suffocating environment. It is a place where sadness, feudalism, debasement, and legislative issues, maladies, urgency, and misdirection are running the life of people living there.

After the death of Shukla it wasn't grieved on Gmail status messages. Raag Darbari was merciless in its trustworthiness. It stunned India as it clearly exposed the flaws of the country. In the introduction of the book's 40th-commemoration version, Shukla recalls that one of the primary reviews written in 1967 for his book and it stated: ""to end up unread is its fate".

After two years, however, Shukla won the Sahitya Akademi Puraskar for the novel. Raag Darbari has since gone ahead to end up a standout amongst the most read critiques on post-freedom India. It has been cast as a television serial where a youthful Om Puri played a major role that has likewise passed away now and known as an exceptional performing artist in Bollywood. In the prelude, Shukla composes that in interviews he has frequently discussed the importance of Raag Darbari, if in the main focus the upper - class debasement is discussed and he squandered his vitality in exaggerating a couple of villagers which are not of any importance. Shukla composes his answer for such remarks over his work that he has delineated the town governmental issues which must not be compared with the corruption of village authorities, yet that is the thing that makes the book significantly more applicable for everyone and makes people feel them connected with it. Despite the fact that he concedes that his portrayal of debasement is a simple piece of the present mammoth unchangeable defilement framework yet it is the embodiment of reality which extinguishes the reader's hunger for encountering obvious points of interest of blemishes in the Indian social orders. The dialect of this content is extremely amazing and managing the genuine neighborhood articulations. It inspires the readers as it is repressed in uncovering the imperfections in the government administrative framework.

However this isn't awful Hindi in this text which makes a reader feel the boldness of the author in explaining things in exact expressions, this is simply freed Hindi without any vulgarity. It resembles as a reader is having a long discussion with Shukla in a neighborhood dialect expressions. Regarding the same, there is a maxim in relatively every passage, the kind you don't read in typical Hindi writing. Tan par nahi patta, paan khaye albatta (Not even a leaf to cover the body, but a betel in the mouth); Saala aag khayega to angar hagega (If you eat fire, you'll shit embers), Jis kisi ki dum uthakar dekho mada hi nazar aata hai (Lift whosever tail, all turn out to be females),  Yeh jaangh kholo toh laaj, aur who kholo toh laajDeh mein aisi josh ki hawa mein danda maarte aur patta bhi khadak jaye to chhitak kar ma ki gaali de detay thay. This is badass Hindi from badass UP, without the behen… and madar...

Each page of the book has wry cleverness on acts on the negligence of society for the common people and the torturing political framework. The book isn't short in detail showing Shukla's anger on the spoiled corrupt system; however these are rants without moral acting on extreme corruption. Tirades against the education system, against the inflated Hindi writing of that time, against arranging commissions and panels, against the possibility of untainted rustic environment,  against the worship for the English dialect among the policymakers, against the Darshnik Log (rationalists) all are engaged. The dialect and silliness emerged all over the place, both in exchange and in the portrayal. A truck driver tells an informed looking wanderer who declines to pay off a daroga (cop) on his sake tumhari yehi taleem hai? (What have you examined?) And the portrayal takes after, Vartaman Shiksha paddati rastay mein padi hui kutiya hai jisay koi bhi laat maar sakta hai. Driver bhi us standard chalte-chalte ek jumla maar gaya. (Display instruction framework is the bitch out and about, who can be kicked by anyone. The driver too had a go at it)

Toward the start of the content, it turns out to be to a great degree clear that the feeling of parody and funniness is commanding in it as the well known articulation is given that Use dekhtay hello there yakeen ho jaata tha ki iska Janam kewal sadakon ke saath balatkar karne ke liya hua hai. (One look was sufficient to know it was destined to assault the streets).  This shows up the rash driving  and life of the truck drivers who run the unmaintained trucks polluting the city.

There is a beautiful section on the advanced inclination of giving addresses to public by the politicians, and Shukla doesn't utilize the word Bhashan here. Address Ganjahon (individuals from Shivpalganj) ke liye vishesh roop se dilchasp thay kyunki in mein shuru se hey vakta shrota ko, aur shrota vakta ko bewakoof maankar chalta tha joki baatcheet ke uddeshya se ganjahon ke liye aadarsh paristhiti hai… Lecture ka maza toh tab hai hit sunanewalay bhi samjhein principle bakwas kar raha hoon aur bolne wala bhi samjhay primary bakwas kar raha hoon.

At that point there is a depiction of grandiose trivial commercials on the dividers and how in these affected adverts which ranges from heaps to the impotency or daad which is an indication of advancement and a matter of pride for the Ganjahas; In this manner the genuine phony existence of calling is reflected and the trust of individuals in such mixtures and shams demonstrates the absence of mindfulness.

This was the scene of private-area promoting yet the general population part advertisements on checking malaria fever requested villagers' assistance in the annihilation of mosquitoes. Hriday-parivartan ke liye raub ki zaroorat hai, aur raub ke liye angrezi ki -- isi Baharatiya tark-paddati ke hisab se machhar maarnay aur malaria-unmoolan ki sabhi appealein angrezi mein hi likhi gayin thi (For a change of heart you need authority, for authority you need English going by this Indian philosophy all appeals to kill mosquitoes and eradicate malaria were written in English). (Monga Nov 3)  Connecting the public welfare programme to the English leaning is useless and illogical. It shows the complete failure of government in the propagation of such a big and important awareness about the reasons and remedies for Malaria.

This custom of parody and self-joke is conveyed into the novel that delineates the thwarted expectation which the native experienced in the post-pilgrim state and the most inspiring is Shrilal Shukla's attention on the Post-Nehruvian give up. “The use of satire strikes a bitterly mocking tone, yet the humor assuages lifts the narrative from being a work of utter desolation to one, the reader can understand, mourn and yet laugh.” (Anjaria   4796)

“In our ancient books of logics, it is written that wherever is smoke, there is fire. To this should be added that wherever is a bus-stand, there’s filth” (Raag Darbari  315).  “Raag Darbari is taken as the seal on the coffin of the idealism of the nationalist movement which had extended into the postcolonial era but which could no longer sustain itself in the face of its increasingly disappointing actualization.” (Nayar 1975 4)

While Nehru's charming authority had continued a significant part of the energy coming full circle in 1947 to the post-frontier state, instilled in substantial part in the guarantees held out by overwhelming modern advancement, huge scale change extends in the rural segment and the objective of financial uniformity. While “Although Raag Darbari is, set in the 1950s, its preoccupation, especially evident in its plot, with the generally failed ideals of independence confirms what many see as “its post-Nehruvian “cynicism”. (Mozumder 16)

It is remarkable to find the view over that span of time by various authors and critiques. Political scientists have studied this era characterized by profound disillusionment primarily from “the perspective of the planners and reformers who witnessed a failure of implementation of well-meaning policies at many levels of the state structure” (Chopra 1968; Nayar 1975; Bhargava 2000). In this manner on one level, the 1960 tried the very presence of the free country state, from the Chinese attack in 1962 to the various debasement embarrassments, public revolting, Nehru's passing and the "little" administration of Lal Bahadur Shastri and a definitive triumph of the organization over the communism, on another level the approaches of state designing confronted their greatest test in the interpretation and exchange of halfway imagined ventures to the intricate and alterative epistemic structures that denoted the assorted existence of India's recently named natives. This procedure, the significance of which the expression "usage" can just incompletely pass on, brought about huge movements and depravities of specific political qualities as well as of whole methods of considering legislative issues and its training in any case.

In this manner, as of now, toward the finish of the Nehruvian time, an interesting reversal had occurred in the game plan and working of India's extending state contraption, recording it with the characteristic of permanent lacking honesty. As of now, the reasoning and genuine argumentation behind it were getting dislodged by an altogether different fact. Early redistributive thoughts were transforming into its talk, “or its ideology covering and justifying actual forms of private aggrandizement mediated through the state machinery” (Kaviraj 51-52). The dialect of refractions, curves, tragedies and reversals catch the wretched experience of the state by featuring the procedure by which the balanced connection amongst spoke to and speak to or, regardless of whether in the political or abstract space, can lose its character under conditions in which the very cosmology of the genuine – characterized, before 1947, as inseparable from the perfect – has experienced a subjective change. This changed philosophy enters profoundly of the abstract undertaking, modifying the connection, and contorting the idea of the composition which looks to make its political scrutiny of the state by speaking to such sadness. In this manner Raag Darbari prepares an artistic custom of profound quality and diversion keeping in mind the end goal to make a particular political investigate – for this situation of the fizzled optimism of the Nehruvian state – on one level as the novel's convoluted plot of intrigues, interesting organizations together and defilements, and on another level through gnawing and comical parody. In its plot, as explained prior the novel recounts the narrative of Shivpalganj, a commonplace north Indian town which was one of the perfect recipients of government arrangements of town advancement, particularly through the grassroots organizations of helpful associations, the town committee, and the college.(Dwivedi  Nov 29) Yet a long way from guaranteeing town upliftment, the rustic projects started by the state wind up giving incalculable destinations at which the nearby town organization can solidify their energy and paid their own salaries. Rangnath, the nephew of Vaidyaji, the town pioneer, is an urban-instructed young fellow who comes to Shivpalganj to be quickly inundated in its factionalism, its in-battling and its degenerate type of buddies and sycophants. Like Chha Mana, the account wanders aimlessly around the focal plot activities, which includes a competition between two groups of school instructors, into which Rangnath is dragged into. He witnesses enormous infractions of equity for the sake of vote based system and town improvement, yet understands that the affected, optimistic state of mind he prides himself on is totally unsuited to the new political condition.

In this way, the present time legislative issues is of a similar sort where an ethically up perfect individual can be effortlessly deceived. As the school primary says to him in one of the novel's end lines: “Babu Rangnath, your ideas are very elevated. But all in all, they just prove that you’re a fool” (Rag Darbari 343). Alongside the plot's portrayal of the defilement and insatiability which describes the post-frontier state, notwithstanding, is of an all the more gnawing level of investigation that shows itself specifically methods of parody – which, as said above, works on the unsteady personality amongst genuine and portrayal that portrays this post-dreamer period. In the meantime, the 'ulta' rationale of the Shastra is given present-day incarnation in the specific reversal of a traditional, pragmatist comprehension of the connection amongst circumstances and end results, appearance, and embodiment, and result and expectation, which the experience of fizzled optimism makes show and most intricately ridicules. “This is not merely a literary innovation, but, as Akhil Gupta argues, a mode of capturing the experience of the post-Nehruvian state from the perspective of those interacting with it on the most grass root level, from where the ontology of the state itself arises out of a confusion of intentions and effects.”(Sangepu Venu Gopal   1-5) By invoking the relationship between realist logic and the ideals of the liberal state, and then proceeding to invert such logic, the novel represents and thus critiques the collapse of nationalist idealism into its manifestly dismal reality.

Politics of Ulti Batein (Rizvi 1-29) the descriptive logic of Raag Darbari gives a realist description. This sound rationale presents impacts and causes relationship. Finding the genuine circumstance two noteworthy illustrations give a fundamental feeling of delineating reality. Right off the bat, about the majority of the shops offered one of the most loved beverages of the Indian masses, which was set up from tidy, soil, tea leaves and it had just been utilized a few times, bubbling water et cetera  (jise wahan gard, cheekat, chai ki kai baar istemal ki hui patti aur khaulte pani aadi ke sahare banaya jata tha) (Rag Darbari  1). “There was a sheet of tin in front of the room on the roof. Rangnath was underneath the tin sheet and a charpoy was underneath Rangnath” (Rag Darbari 87). In the principal section, tea is portrayed as "readied" with soil and overboiled tea leaves, as though these fixings were included deliberately; contrast and a theoretical, more customary, pragmatist depiction: The tea posed a flavor like soil. An antiquated Sanskrit verse clarifies a state of topography – that is, that the sun doesn’t rise depending on where the east is, but where the east depends on where the sun rises. In the same way senior officials (uttam koti ka sarkaari aadmi) don't go on visit contingent upon their work, yet at whatever point they go anyplace it naturally turns into an official visit.

The reasonable defilement at the level of the educational framework and the administration can likewise be experienced as the reports on the training occasions are constantly not quite the same as the truth and also, the authorities go on their own visits and show it in the official visit record to abuse the administration support for their own motivation.


It is to highlight the flaws in the administration at the level of village or urban area in UP. Rag Darbari works as a catalyst in this issue. All the social taboos of UP are highlighted where bhang drinking and other malpractices are welcomed by the people as a proud part of their life yet in the present time where the government claims a lot improvement in the state.


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