Hungry Stones as a Short Story by Rabindranath Tagore

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      Rabindranath Tagore long life of eight years is marked by cashless and torrentereal flew of creativity manifested in the richness and variety of all kinds of literary forms - dance drama, music, painting and original organisational activities. While Tagore's international reputation rests largely on his poetry, his short story too have brought him considerable recognization as one of the foremost Indian writers. Perhaps the story form on account of its brevity and unity of effects, has served him as a powerful vehicle for conveying his is insight into different facts of human experience. He is multidimensional vision of life is discernible in 61 short stories he has written.


A solitary marble palace built by the Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah II for his pleasure about 250 years ago.
Mughal Palace


      Tagore's short stories bear the impression of his poetic talents. The phenomenon of the combination of lyricism with realism in his short story is unique. He never unfold is tales with lengthy problems like a garrulous grand theatre, but plunges right into the plot and grapes the attention with the first sentence. In them significant moments of human life are depicted, telescoping men's relationship with man and with environment. Tagore's short story like the Hungry Stones, In The Night, Lost Jewels and The Private Tutor are those of fantasy and imagination.


      The Hungry Stones short story translate it from Rabindranath Tagore composition 'Kshudita Pashan' in Bengali is a great piece of literature. The story gives abundant scope for supernatural and psycho analytical studies. The motto of the Hungry Stone is: "There happen more things in heaven and earth, Horatho, then are reported in your newspapers". The story opens with the narratives account of a train journey during which he comes across a stranger who tells the story later in the waiting room. Thus the major part of the story is narrated by the stranger. The double narrative device gives dramatic objectivity and intensity to the story. The description of the lonely pleasure resort of the emperor Mahmud Shah II, the solitary marble palace weighs upon the narrator like a nightmare and exerts a weird fascination upon him.


      In fact, he feels as if the whole house is like a living organism slowly and imperceptibly digesting me by the action of some stupefying gastric juice. The wind around is laden with an oppressive scent. The setting sun is a long dark curtain falling upon the stage of the day. The narrative mental framework makes him see visions: "Me thought I saw a bevy of joyous maidens coming down the steps to bathe in the 'Susta' in the summer".


      Having so far built upon atmosphere of suspense and fare, the author takes us into that realm of poetic fancy with the mystic forms brushing past the narrative and giving the feeling that it was the mose that had taken advantage of my solitude and possessed me. The narrator exclaims at the sprits voice: "O lovely ethereal apparition! Where didst thou flourish and when? By what cool spring under the shade of what groves? Wast thou born in the lap of homeless wondered in the desert"? But he is constantly brought back to the word of reality by the the refine of the crazy Mehar Ali's scream: "Stand back! Stand back! All is false!" Thus the initial atmospheric week build up taking the reader into to the mediaeval world and stirring up the emotion of fair is at variance with delightful poetic tendency that is subsequently developed. The story falls between the two stools of depressing fear and poetic tendency. The character is out of tune with the environment, leaving the reader somewhat confused as to the unlimite effect of the tale.


      The Hungry Stones like Edgar Allen Poe's "The fall of the house of Usher" is a masterpiece of horror stricken reticence and magical suggestions. This is one of his is earliest stories and very characteristic one because nature and the so-called inert matter are also part of the story and help to create an atmosphere and mood of half-pity and half-awe which rather than the plot is the essence of the story. The Hungry Stones is a short story which blends supernaturalism with realism. But here the supernatural does not trrangress the bounds of reality and it is gradually created with great skill without losing hold on realism. A solitary marble palace built by the Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah II for his pleasure about 250 years ago is the background of the story, but the curse of heart aches and blasted hopes transmitted throughout those years still persist in every thirsty and hungry stone of the palace, eager to devour any living being who chances to come near it.


      In conclusion, it will not be wory to say that Tagore's the Hungry Stones is a superb piece of short story. Its plot, subject matter, style and use of language make it deserve a special place as a supernatural story of high order. It shows the special bland of genius of Rabindranath Tagore as a short story writer.

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