There is always unremitting impression which brings Premchand’s Goodan and Dickens Hard Times in framework as an entirety. Goodan which was written 1936, in a nutshell travels on the apprehension of a life of a farmer, most importantly oppression in the hand of class structure. As a critic points out the life of Indian village and the farmer seems to be trapped in the net woven by the landlords, moneylenders and police i. e. suggesting double standard of the capitalists.
Dickens correspondingly voices social injustice and problem in the capitalist framework most importantly oppression of the lower class by the upper class. A critic suggested that both the writers Premchand and Dickens primarily concerns to voicing the social reform, consciously trying to draw a balance between idealism and realism as a whole.
In Hard Times which was written in 1854, depicted Victorian industrial society, and formulated a troop of radical critique of industrial England. Siengfried A. Schulz in his book “Premchand : a western appraisal” provided mainly three proposition drawn between Hard times and Goodan. In Hard Times : 1) Injustice 2) Oppression of the poor by the upper class 3) Attack on the economic theorist, utilitarian. Again, in case of Goodan he proposes 1) deeply intrigued on the Question of Dharma. 2) Oppression of the poor by the rich. 3) Confinement of Premchand to depict the ugly aspect of Indian society. If we closely observe there seems to struggle between two world : world of fancy and world of factualism in Hard Times and world of village and city in Goodan.
Goodan presents the life of Hori and his inclination towards religious ritual i. e. Goodan and his unable to forsake the concept of his dharma and his life is doomed due to his adherence to it. The use of the term Dharma by Premchand gives the impression of a hollow ring suggesting hypocritical too. Hori, hopes that all other would understand and naturally adhere to a traditional code of conduct, but his attitude is not reciprocated. This also gives a vibrant picture of problem of social hierarchy as a whole.
In Hard Times too, the fact oriented ideology of the characters like Gradgrind and Bounderby can be seen as they opposed any kind of fancy or imagination. Dickens represents utilitarian concept of adherence to ‘fact’ which is dominant in the novel. Again, a critic points out that the marriage between Lusia- Bounderby can be connected with the character of Hori, as he too maries his elder daughter in marriage to an elderly man, but the difference according to him is that it is Hori’s helplessness and misery that drives him towards this decision.
Some critic even points out that Premchand’s bringing out of this concept of marriage gives a parallel treatment of marriage as a whole for the western as well as Indian society. Through Hori, Premchand reveals the prospect of Indian farmers giving a warning that life of misery would continue until there is no change in the approach of Indian farmers towards his environment. Through Gradgrind and Bounderby, Dickens produced his product of representing the contemporary purely materialistic, scientifically bent utilitarian theory.
A critic posts Goodan far ahead of Hard Times as it seems more realistic then Hard Times. There is many instances like the Gradgrind’s giving shelter to Sissy Jupe, and Hori’s giving shelter to Siliya which proposed Siegfried’s attempt of convincing that there can be possibility of borrowing ideas by Premchand Form Dickens. Again, there is also a possible analogy between lives of Stephen and Hori as both had extreme faith in life and simplicity and honesty are almost akin to Hori’s dharma.
Even their death brings out similarity as both dies with desires that are not fulfilled. Stephen’s fall symbolizes the destruction of the working class by industrial upper class and Hori’s death indicates defeat of the Indian peasant in the face of unbearable odd. There can be similar parallel between characters like Stephen- Richel and Mehta and Malti in Goodan. Both limited roles, suggesting extra-marital affair.
Through these characters Premchand represented the immergence of free thinking society. Mehta and Malti exposes Premchand’s idealism and Dickens depicted realistic form through Stephen and Richel. Premchand posesthe concept of westernization in the cities as well as Malti becomes the target of his sarcasm and satire too in Goodan. At last Tom and Gobar poises two portal of articulation as Tom suggests natural and nasty influence of the fact – oriented society.
Gobar seems to be burdened by the approach of younger generation. Tom, like Gobar becomes the link betwwn the two worlds. Dickens seems to be hopeful but Premchand exposes his pessimism, his loss of faith in the ability of the Indian psyche to overcome change. This voices the two writers concern in reforming society. “No matter how far you’ve gone down the wrong road, turn back. ” — Turkish Proverb