Acta Universitatis Danubius. Communicatio, Vol 10, No 1 (2016)

The Interpretation of the Krishan Chandar’s Story “The Resignation of Satan” as an Aspect of Perception of a Foreign Culture: The Methodological Aspect

Indira Gazieva1

Abstracts: The paper deals with the perception and interpretation of the text on Hindustani by Russian students, who study Hindi on the advanced level. The subject of the research is the synonymic correspondence of Urdu and Hindi lexis within the literary text. The following objectives have been assigned: to identify the complications of perception of text-interpretation and also to assist to students to accept a part of reality of period of creation of a literary work: to introduce students with etymological composition of lexis of Hindi, to find out morphemic and word-forming structure of borrowed words as the percentage of applied synonymic lexis. The paper is trying to build on the experience of understanding of the differences in the perception of foreign text, which can even lead to inadequate interpretation of a foreign culture. The miscomprehension of the text is the strongest demotivation for the further interpretation. The descriptive, structural and comparative methods were employed. The training of the text’ interpretation by students leads to a result of understanding the narration, and then to the perception of his ideas and problems.

Keywords: Hindustani; interpretation; perception; borrowed words

1. Introduction

There are a variety of ways of the perception of a foreign culture. “The people of different cultures express happiness, disparity, love and hate variably; for those the world is colored in contrast as well as the time; which elapses in discrepancy. Some of them have got some features, which others do not possess; and some of them apply those things which have already become outdated. Within the frame of a foreign language this may be an audition, viewing and listening to television programs, movies, reading of reference-encyclopedic, scientific and literary literature in original. In our case we will deal with the perception and interpretation of a foreign text. In accordance to the concept of M.M. Bakhtin a comprehension of a text includes separate statements or levels, each of them executing its own function: perception of the text: recognition of it as well as its general comprehension in this particular language; also the comprehension of its meaning within this culture: broad dialogic understanding of its meaning in correlation to its formation (Bakhtin, p. 361). What is the text interpretation? The dictionary provides with the following definition: Text interpretation deals with words, phrases and their combination in the literary text, forming a certain sense of messaging possessing in itself definite cross-linkage. Depicting imaginary events as well as fictional worlds in similarity to real, they form the connections within the world providing correspondence with the reality. Due to the fact that the processes in reality are varied, therefore the consciousness of human completes this relationship in a fictional world too. (Zavelskaya, Zavelskiy & Platonov, 2001).

2. Concept and Terms

The necessity of text interpretation can be explained in the following: in our view point it is important in order to a) to reveal and perceive the idea and plot of the author’s creation b) to identify within the literary work a part of a reality, for example, one of the difficulties of perception of Russian students of Indian culture are the specific-national actualities. The Indian culture is a complicated synthesis of cultural, religious and language varieties: Veda, Sanskrit, Turkic, Arabic, Persian and European cultures; Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism. The principle of this culture is in “The unity within the variety” defines the country as the unique civilization with the preservation of national individuality. Mark Twain wrote: “India is the cradle of human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grandmother of tradition. Our most valuable and most astrictive materials in the history of mankind are treasured up only in India”

3. Problem Statement

The paper deals with the perception and interpretation of the text on Hindustani by students, who study Hindi on the advanced level. The research is based on the story “The Resignation of Satan” (1972) by Krishan Chandar, the Indian advanced author who wrote his stories in Urdu and Hindi. The subject of the research is the synonymic correspondence of Urdu and Hindi lexis within the literary text. The aim of the research is to describe mentality of Indian nation through the text interpretation as well as in demonstration to students of the correspondence of lexical composition of Urdu and Hindi and its spoken variant of Hindustani. In addition the following objectives have been assigned: to identify the complications of perception of text-interpretation and also to assist to students to accept a part of reality of period of creation of a literary work: to introduce students with etymological composition of lexis of Hindi, to find out morphemic and word-forming structure of borrowed words as the percentage of applied synonymic lexis. The level of the development of any literary language is defined by richness of its word-stock. Lev Shcherba mentioned that “The dignity of literary language is identified by the complication of the means that define it.., i.e. the luxury of ready opportunities to express a variety of different shades. The lexical synonyms are those ready capacities. The subtle shades are meaning, expressiveness, as well as the emotional sense-feeling find the expressiveness in the word, in particular in its usage and the combination of them with another word”. (Shcherba, p. 122). Etymologically the word-stock of Hindi may be divided into words of Indian origin and foreign ones. Among those words the most impressed layer of the Iranian lexis, which have been passed from Hindi through direct communication of local population with the bearers of Iranian languages; as well as through administration institutions, religion, art, science and literature. Arabic and Turkic words were introduced to Hindi through the communication and religious, Muslim texts. The Portuguese and French words were introduced to Hindi through oral communication since 16-17 centuries. Such a varied completion of Hindi word-stock led to the appearance of a big number of synonyms; especially due to Sanskrit and Arabic-Persian words, which are widely used in all layers of lexis without any differentiations.

4. Solution Approach

It is to be considered a temporary aspect of interpreted text. Krishan Chandar (1913-1977) lived and worked during Liberation Movement of India against British Empire (1900-1947). Class distinctions are the main actual topic of the author, his sympathy to poor people. The changes of events in the Indian society have been traced in his works. As a matter of fact, the idea of social-realism has been traced in the search of the solutions of Hindu-Muslim problem as well as poor life of Indian people, peasants and intelligence within the critics of Indian caste system. Class struggle of Indian people has also been depicted in his historical novels. In the novel “The Resignation of Satan” a reader faces a village theme where the class sympathies of author have been expressed in the form of a satire. In this novel the author describes the layers of Indian society-Indian Brahman, Muslim Mullah, traders which have been humiliating peasants. In the story through the image of Satan an author attests that the society is full of corruption trying to subdue all the feelings and deeds to mercantilism. Contract is a theme of novel, the purchase and sale contract of a girl in order to retain a land. Within interpretation of a literary text the dialogue of a main hero with the participants of this contract is embedded. The broad structure of the novel is concentrated on three main places of action-Hell, Paradise and the village Maoza Lakshmanpattan, which means the city of “Happy delight”. Moreover, the author has chosen a name of the village combining Arabic and two Sanskrit words Maoza –“caprice”, Lakshman – “happy” and pattan –“a small city”. The bench mark of prologue of the novel is an area of paradise. The hero of the novel Satan decided to recant from its direct assignation a work in hell arrives to Paradise and stands before God asking him to give back to him the wings of angel. He assumes that the angels in the Paradise have a rest and conduct classes of kindness, while his job consists of encouragement of human sins, beating people with ropes, stripping off the skin from their bodies and burning them in fire. Praying to God Satan appeals to him as super-natural creature – a unique God, appealing to Allah: “Khuda” means “God” in Persian etymology, turns to “King” – “mere Malik” (the Arabic etymology), asks “mere Bhagvaan!” (Sanskrit etymology), appeals to “Rabbul Azlim” –“Great God”(Arabic Etymology), refers to “Sab se Raa Paramaatmaa” or “the greatest soul” (Sanskrit etymology), “Khudaband Karim” (Arabic etymology) means “The Supreme and Generous”, “Rahiim” (Arabic etymology), “Dayaaluu” (Sanskrit etymology) means “Graceful”. God is mentioned here together with the “compilation of angels” – “Malaaik,” which is defined in Sanskrit by “Devataagana” and means “A Pantheon of Gods”. However these are two completely different notions: the angels exist in Islam but not in Hinduism. In order to solve this problem the Satan is the first to whom God appeals asking him a question “Will he work instead of Satan?” to which angel Jibril answered that he is a “Peigam-rasaaan”(where “Peigam” is word of Persian origin “news, letter”) i.e. providing with a divine revelation. Here the author duplicates a Persian borrowing by the Sanskrit word-combination “Sandesh-vaahak”, which means “news, message, letter”. Further on turn by turn answers of angel Michael that he is “Rozi-rasaan” or providing daily feeding and means for the existence (“Rozi” is Persian etymology); the third answers of angel Israfil, which is “Suur phunkta huun” or blares to Sur (trumpet) in a Judgment Day and the fourth of angel Izrail (the angel of death), which is “Ruuh kabz kartaa hei” or “taking one’s soul during the death”. God orders to angel Israfil to gain a place of the Satan and sends the last to study kindness, to be precise to the village of MaozaLakshmanpattan, to the house of peasant Karamdin, who would like to sell his daughter for 750 rupies. And Satan takes an image of an old, respected man, with a long grey beard and comes to the house of peasant and asks him to stop this purchase-sale contract. Even taking into consideration the name Karamdin we can identify that the peasant is a Muslim, and from the first sight giving a daughter to marriage has to provide, in accordance to tradition redemption. Zohra is a young girl lives at the house of her father with brothers and everyday has to work from morning till evening at the field or at home. Her father has to make a contract with Indian-money-lender whose name is Lala Misrishah, who getting 750 rupies submits Zuhra to dealer – Muslim Xodja Badruddin, who dreams of having an heir in spite of the fact that he has already got four wives. The whole contract is investigated by a police-officer Gurudayalsinkh, who wants to become rich from all the participants of a contract using a black-mailing, so that to cover all his expenses in connection to the upcoming wedding of his daughter.

Satan during the whole story appeals to God, asking him in dependence to the religious possessiveness of the recipient, he says to the peasant Karamdin if that one does not stop a sale the anger of God will reach him. However, the author provides here a combination of words: the word ”anger” is given in Sanskrit and Arabic etymologies: “kop” means “anger, rage”, “kahar” means “trouble, misfortune, anger, rage”. The peasant explains to Satan that in case he does not sell a daughter he will sell a land, as a result the whole his family will die from famine. The Satan, who has not been accustomed to impatient concerts, closes his ears with hands in order not to hear the explanations of peasant Karamdin. However, that one provides him with an advice –“to depart to the trader and to persuade him to forgive a peasant and to return to him 750 rupies”. So Satan takes an image of scholar or “pundit”, who wears into saffron clothes, puts on his forehead a sign – “tillak”, takes beads into his hands and moves to the house of Indian trader in order to urge him to rip up a contract. When he entered a house, the trader Lala Misrishah has just finished his pray and decided to have a rest in the yard. When the Satan asked not to proceed with a false deed, Lala Misrishah, whose name means “smooth-tongued shah” said: “Pandit ji! Aap kyon baar-baar Bhagvaan ka naam lekar mujhe daraa rahe hein? Larki ka saoda mein nahin kar raha hun, Karamdin kar rahe he. Uski sazaa-jaza (dand-inaam), qunaah-savaab (paap-punya) vah bhugatega!” – “The Lord scholar! Why do you reproach me with the name of God? I do not sell a daughter but Karamdin. Let God punish him for his sins”. Here the author uses double phrases: “sazaa-jaza”, which means “punishment and retribution” the word “sazaa” of Persian etymology means: 1) punishment, penalty; 2) a confinement and the word “saza” of Arabic etymology means 1) retribution, punishment; 2) requital in another world for good or bad behavior (Muslim Term). Two words are the synonyms. It is curious that an author in brackets doubles this word combination of the Sanskrit word “danD” means: 1) a stick, bludgeon; 2) staff; 3) punishment; 4) judgment; 5) fine, penalty. However, the word “inaam” has an Arabic etymology and is the antonym to the word “danD”. It means: 1) a present; 2) an award, a prize; 3) redemption. So that the word-combination may be translated as: “its own bludgeon (the punishment with stick beating ceremony) and an award”. In the second word-combination from this sentence “gunaah-savaab” an author uses the word from the Arabic-Persian etymology, which “gunaah” means 1) sin; 2) blame, misbehavior; 3) a crime. The word “savaab” is of the Arabic etymology and means 1) retribution, an award for kind deeds (a religious term); 2) good deeds. In phrase “paap-punya” the two words belong to Sanskrit origin. The word “paap” means 1) sin; 2) trouble (as punishment for the sins which took place in a previous birth) (Hindi term); 3) a blame, fault; 4) a murder; 5) a defect, 6) bad thoughts. The word “punya” is an adjective from the morphological view point and means: 1) virtuous, 2) sacred. But it is also a noun of male gender and means 1) a kind affair; 2) benevolence; 3) fortune. So, having considered the etymological and lexical combination of a sentence “Uski sazaa-jaza (dand-inaam), qunaah-savaab (paap-punya) vah bhugatega!” it can be translated as “He (Karamdin) will pay for everything: and for his punishments and requital in another world, and for his awards and sticks, and for his crime and virtues!” Satan decided to persuade the debt of a peasant, but the trader has not changed his mind. “I have to ask my money back”, – explained the trader, – I appealed for the purchase of two mills, and where should I get money. Here, look Sundardas (name of man) owned to me 2000 rupees, Jumma (name) – five hundred sixty, Gurudayal (name) – eight hundred, and Makhtabrai (name) has already “eaten” (in details..: “tiin hazaar khaaye beithaa he”) three thousand!”

Further on, Satan shames up the Indian-trader, pressing on his religious thoughts: “Tumko sharam nahin aatil Lalamisrishah? Un sarhe sat sao rupayon ke badle tum ek musulmaan larkii ko apne ghar men laoge, apna dharma bhraSht karoge?” – “Don’t you feel a shame a highly respected Lala Misrishah? Instead of seven hundred fifty rupies you are going to bring a Muslim girl to the house? Would you like to break your dharma?” These words were met by the trader in a frightened way and answered appealing to his Indian God: “Ram-Ram! Mein ne eisi nich harkat ki to soch nahin sakta” – “O my God! I even could not think of such a lawful act!”. After a visit of Indian trader the story transfers readers to the house of Xodji Badruddin, 65 years old Muslim man, who wanted to marry to the daughter of a peasant. Satan shamed him of infringement of Sharia law. Due to the fact that he has four wives, the trader started to explain to him: “Yah durust he ki meri chaar biviyaan hein magar sab se pehli buuRhi ho chukil hei aor gahr ka kaam-kaaj tak nahin kar sakti. Zohra se shaadi karunga” – “Yes, that is the truth I have four wives, but the oldest one is very old and she can’t manage with the economy. So I will divorce with her and appoint to her salary and will be able to marry Zohra”). The interpretations of the trader prove to Satan that he did not commit any crime because he also possesses in accordance to Sharia with four wives. However Satan continued to shame a trader pointing to his age and obliging of marriage procedures. This time the trader also found judgment explanations to his deed, telling that from all his wives only girls were born but he needs an heir, who will continue his generation. He also added that Zohra is not obliged to marry anyone. She is an adult one and “Arpaa bhalaa-buraa hud soch sakti he” –“She knows well herself what is bad or good for her”. Satan getting despaired that he can’t convince people to reject from a law made contract, takes an image of a young handsome guy comes to Zohra and proposes to her. Zohra falls in love from the first sight but asks him about his occupation and the way he is going to support her.

Do nothing. But pray to God” – Satan answered.

God is praised by everyone!” – Zohra answered, – “How would you feed me?”

We will work hard together,” – answered the Satan.

I work all days long; at home and in the field and what is the profit of it? I am always hungry, wear cast-off clothes. I will marry an old man, but I would have clothes and I will be able to feed myself twice in a day (here: “Do vakt pet bharkar roti to dega”) Zohra said.

Satan tried to appeal to the wit and honor: “Kya tumhaaril ruuh ko itminaan hoga, ki tum ek insaan hokar chaandnil ke chand sikkon ke badle bikne ja rahli ho?” – “But he is too old, awful old man! Are you sure that you will be happy that your soul has been sold for thirty silver coins?”

Satan was in despair. She looked at him, embraced him and said: “Khush hone ke liye mein kabhi-kabhi tum se mil liya karungi. Aoge na milne chupke se?” – “And for the sense of a fortune I will date with you confidentially. Will you date with me”? Satan got out of her embracement and headed to the police department to appeal to a human wit of a policeman Gurudayalsinh: “Kya insaan ki ruh ab martlon aor biighon ki suurat me bechil jaegi? Akhlaaki (neitic) etibaar se yah saoda galat he. Mazhaabii etibaar se yah gunaahe-azmil he. Kanunli etibaar se bhi yah jurm he” – “Is the soul of a human sold for the hectares of land or for a piece of coins? From the moral view point this contract is a falsified one, from the religious this is a sin, in accordance to the law – a great crime”. Satan directly mentioned the contract as an illegal one, asks to break it up: “Mein Apko habardaar kartaa huun Ap is ilaake ke thanedaar hein, Ap is hilaaf-kaanuun saode ko rak dijiye!” – “I warn you, as far as you are a policeman of this district stop this contract!”. However the policeman explained to the Satan how is he going to earn on this story: “Men eisaa ahmak nahiin huun ki itne bare mukadme ko asaani se haath se jaane duun jis men Khojaa Badruddin aor Lala Misrishaah aor Karamdin aor Zohraa ko mein eksaath lappet men le sakuun! Khojaa Badruddin se mein kam se kam do hazaar rupaya rishvat me le sakuunga aoe itnli hi rakam Lala Misrishaah se eint luunga. Mein is mukadme ki kamyaabi ke baad sab-inspectar bana diya jaauun. Phir Zohraa to barli khuubsuurat larkii he!” – “I am not a full in order to lose such a great deal! I will arrest everyone. I will take bribery from Khojaa two thousand rupies, the same I will get from Lala Misrishah. For this criminal case I can become the main policeman of the district. I also heard that Zohra is a beautiful girl.”

To the naive question of Satan asking a policeman just to prevent a criminal case but not to allow a judgment investigation, the policeman said: “Un chaar rupayon se mein apni larkii ki shaadil kar sakunga. Meri bachchii kii shaadii ek tarah se ruki hui he kyonki mujhe uske dahej ke liye maakul (paryaapt) rakam chaahiye” – “Having taken four thousand rupees, I will be able to marry my daughter due to the fact that I did not have enough money for her dowry”. In this sentence the author shows the words “necessary”, “appropriate” in two etymologies: “maakul” (the Arabic etymology), “paryaapt” (the Sanskrit etymology). Satan could not stand with this and cried: “Magar ye to gunaah he aor jurm!” – “But this is a sin and crime!”. “Aap bich men bilnavaale kaon hote?” – “By the way, who are you?” – the policeman shouted. “Mein Khudaa ka bandaa hun. Logon kaa nekli ka dars detaa hun!” – “I am a God slave! I provide people with the lessons of kindness!”, – Satan answered meekly. The policeman immediately arrested him and sent to the prison. That was the plot of this story.

Analysis of Results

The linguistic analysis of the text impacts well on the students of advanced level, who are engaged into the learning of an oriental language. The first step is the process of introduction of a foreign text in which the students are involved into the academic translation, in order to comprehend it fully, to differentiate between changes of tenses forms, to identify the etymological composition of lexis. The students have to accomplish the following tasks for it:

To make up questions to the text paragraphs;

To write down the synonyms, antonyms, onomatopoeic words, word combinations, idioms and phraseological units;

To write down the words referred to the epithets of God;

To write down the words concerned with the concept of “Crime”;

To write down from each paragraph of the text with the participial constructions;

To analyze the following nouns within the context of word-formation: devataagaN, paramaatma, vaaahak, rakhvaala, zimmedaar;

To form adjectives from nouns and vice-verse;

To write down complicated syllables;

To write down the causative verbs, which express modality and completeness, the expressions with the verb lagnaa (the beginning construction);

To explain the meaning of intensive verbs: de rakhaa, bhar denaa, khiil uthnaa, banchaa lenaa, churaa lenaa, rok denaa, bandobast kar lenaa, bhej denaa;

To write down your own opinion “If you were in the place of the peasant Karamdin, the Indian-trader Lala Misrishash, Muslim-trader Xodji Badruddin and a policeman or a Satan, I would, in order to prevent a sale of Zohr”;

To interpret the word “Saoda” (a contract);

To comment on the work of each hero of the story: the peasant Karamdin, Zohra, Indian-trader, Muslim-trader, policeman;

To write down a composition in Hindi, denoting the plot and culmination;

To write down an annotation in Hindi.


In conclusion, we can say that the text is the best conciliator for the comprehension of a foreign culture, also the perception of factors of a foreign culture is characterized by the national-specific differences, existing between local and foreign cultures. Here, the problem of comprehension arises up very sharply due to the fact that that these distinctions create definite difficulties in the process of perception of a foreign text, which can lead to an inadequate interpretation of a foreign culture. (Tretyakova, 2002, p. 38). The miscomprehension of the text is the strongest demotivation for the further interpretation. The students, who begin to interpret the text with a mixed lexis, usually deal with the difficulties of comprehension. To our view-point the text interpretation should be mainly followed by a comprehension of a plot, further on the perception of its idea and problem. For example, complicated, mixed interrelationship between people of different social estates, their greediness and the ability to calculate seem to be strange and insignificant to the Satan, who became an angel. Appealing to the faithfulness and humaneness, he became to be alone before sharp consequences of each hero of the story. The awareness of the world outlook situation of choice of Zohra between the love and material issues, and arguments to meet with him confidentially lead the Satan to horror. Here the motive of the author is explained in the thesis” There is no love in the society where everything can be sold and bought”. The author also uses different epithets of the God, underlining the idea of God as a unique creature. However, at the end of the story he goes back to the hell, being aware of the fact the job of angels to bring kindness to people is far more difficult than his own.


Bakhtin, M. (1979). The aesthetics of verbal creativity. Moscow: Art.

Shcherba, Lev (1957). Selected works in the Russian language. Moscow: Uchpedgiz.

Zavelskaya, D. & Zavelskiy, A. & Platonov. S. (2001). The text and its interpretations. Web page. Retrieved from:

Chandar, Krishan (2007). Shaitan ka istifa/Devil's resignation. Lahore: al Asr Publications.

Tretyakova, I. (2002). Interpretation as the means of comprehension of a literary text. Web page. Retrieved from:

1 Russian State University for the Humanities, Departament of Oriental Studies, Institute of linguistics Moscow, Russia, Address: Miusskaya pl., 6, корп. 5, Moscow, Russia, Tel.: +74952506118, Corresponding author:

AUDC, Vol. 10, no 1/2016, pp. 32-41


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