She looks out the window and spots a Kabuliwallah named Rahamat and starts calling to him. However, when he comes over, Mini runs into another room, convinced that his large bags are full of children, not goods. A few days later, the narrator finds Mini sitting next to Rahamat and talking to him with a pile of raisins and nuts in her lap. The narrator tells Rahamat not to give her any more treats and gives him a half-rupee, which Rahamat takes. Unhappy with Rahamat, a complete stranger, spending so much time with Mini, she warns the narrator to keep an eye on him.
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She looks out the window and spots a Kabuliwallah named Rahamat and starts calling to him. However, when he comes over, Mini runs into another room, convinced that his large bags are full of children, not goods. A few days later, the narrator finds Mini sitting next to Rahamat and talking to him with a pile of raisins and nuts in her lap. The narrator tells Rahamat not to give her any more treats and gives him a half-rupee, which Rahamat takes.
Unhappy with Rahamat, a complete stranger, spending so much time with Mini, she warns the narrator to keep an eye on him. When the narrator tells her there is nothing to worry about, she talks about the possibility of Mini being kidnapped and sold into slavery. Rahamat, however, continues to come and the narrator continues to enjoy seeing him with Mini. Rahamat is preparing to go home. One morning, the narrator hears something going on in the streets and looks out the window to see Rahamat, covered in blood, being led down the street in handcuffs.
The narrator runs outside, and Rahamat tells him that he got into a physical altercation with a customer who had refused to pay and, during the fight, he stabbed the customer. Rahamat is sent to jail. It does not take long for Mini to forget Rahamat and find new friends, first with the groom someone who takes care of horses and then with girls her age.
The house is full of people setting things up and the narrator has isolated himself in his study. Rahamat suddenly arrives and tells the narrator he had been released from jail the day before, which reminds the narrator of his crime and sets him on edge. The narrator tells Rahamat that they are busy and he will have to go, but Rahamat asks if he can see Mini. Once again the narrator tries to brush him off and Rahamat prepares to leave, but as he walks out the door he asks the narrator to give Mini some grapes, nuts, and raisins he brought for her as a reminder of their past friendship.
When Mini leaves, Rahamat suddenly realizes that his daughter, like Mini, will have grown up and be different from the little girl he once knew. As Rahamat thinks about Afghanistan and his daughter, the narrator pulls out some money and asks Rahamat to use it to get home.
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Kabuliwala (short story)
Kabuliwala is a Bengali short story written by Rabindranath Tagore in The story is of a Hazara merchant from Kabul , who comes to Calcutta present day Kolkata , India each year for selling dry-fruits and while living in India he becomes friends with a five-year-old girl Mini from a middle-class aristocratic family. The main theme of this story is filial love—the deep love that fathers have for their children. In the story we encounter three examples of filial love—the author and his daughter Mini; the Kabuliwala and his own daughter in Afghanistan; and the Kabuliwala and Mini. In this story Kabuliwali comes to India every year to sell dry-fruits and to meet this girl named Mini.
125 years of Tagore’s Kabuliwala: Here’s what life is like for the community today
In The News. Upcoming Shows. About Artists. The Invisible Kabuliwala. Where Are The Women? Tagore's Kabuliwala. Stories Behind The Photos.
Kabuliwala is the heart-rending childhood tale of innocence, love & fate
In an old neighbourhood of central Kolkata, where the buildings could do with a fresh coat of paint, residents readily point to a narrow alley leading to an old house when asked about the residence of the Kabuliwalas. A young man coming out of one of the two flats on the ground floor gestures towards the door next to his own house as the one where the Kabuliwalas live. The door is opened by a man dressed in a Pathani suit. But he sullenly shakes his head when asked if he is a Kabuliwala or if there are other Kabuliwalas living in the flat. His flatmate is more vocal.
How should we think of this as an example of migration of Afghans to other parts of South Asia? The first point is that mobility and migration are very prominent themes in the history of South Asia. By mobility I mean internal, maybe urban to rural, or north to south, and these kinds of movements can be for a variety of reasons: they can be for pilgrimage purposes, cultural, religious, economic, political, trade, and personal. In fact, that was how the Mogul Empire functioned. It circulated administrators through the system to engage and control this movement of people, goods, ideas etc. External migration in South Asia can be of two very different types. The first is incoming migrants from outside of the region and the second is outgoing migrants from the region leaving.
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