Set against the backdrop of colonial India - characterized by a brutal state, opportunistic, feudal landlords and ruthless capitalists - this novel is a grim account of the blind beggar Soordas's struggle against the acquisition of his ancestral land. Weaving together themes such as industrialization, atrocities committed by princely states, the role of women in India's independence movement, and caste and class hierarchies, Playground's concerns remain shockingly relevant. Capturing Premchand's masterful handling of a variety of linguistic registers, Manju Jain's evocative translation shows us the deep humanism of one of India's greatest writers.
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