Wednesday, 15 July 2009

HAMIDA - Lesson Summary



“Hamida” by Amrita Pritam is a satire on the inhumane treatment meted out to an infant, all because of communal strife. The story portrays the malady of communal hatred and its horrific effects on society.

Hamida finds a Baby:

In the early hours of the morning, when it was still dark, Hamida went out of her home and discovered a new-born baby, born to a mad woman, who was by now stone-dead. Hamida, brought her husband and together, they took the baby to their home.

The news spread like wild fire in the village. The women hurried to Hamida’s house and blessed Hamida. They appreciated her act of mercy and went back to their homes. The elders buried the mad woman’s corpse.

The Meeting of the Hindus to discuss the Baby:

Hamida was curious to know what was being said about the child and its dead mother. The Hindus called a meeting to discuss the matter. Soon, the religious fervour was spreading across the room and the atmosphere was filled with hate.

Finally it was decided to take back the boy from Hamida and bring him up under the paid custody of the water-carrier woman. It was also decided that the boy would be provided with two square meals a day when he grows up.

Hamida’s Agony:

Hamida felt very traumatized and agonized. They were given black looks and ostracized by the Hindu community. Having nurtured the tiny infant with her own milk for six months, after six months of sleepless nights, after washing the soiled garments of the infant for so long a time, the child had come to look upon Hamida as his own mother. So Hamida did not feel like parting with the child.

Rashida’s Plea:

Rashida sincerely defended his wife’s love for the child in front of the village elders. But the Hindu elders were very particular about taking the child from the custody of Hamida. Now, the water-carrier woman emerged and took the unwilling baby from Hamida’s arms. The child felt the rough touch of unfamiliar hands and began to cry.

Hamida sank to the ground. She heard the boy’s crying. That night, no food was cooked in Rashida’s home. Even their own little son Javed felt sad at the departure of the baby boy.


On the fourth day, the villagers could talk of nothing but the fate of the infant, which refused to take any food. The story ends with the infant throwing up every drop of milk that went down his throat.

Thus the story represents communal egos and hatred that divide the society and thereby take away the humane aspect of man. Amrita Pritam, through her short story criticizes these Hindu-Muslim divisions, and pleads for greater unity and harmony among the various faiths of the country.

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