The Brinjal Cut-Out by Krishan Chander
In The Brinjal Cut-Out by Krishan Chander we have the theme of poverty, desperation, religion, escape and fraud. Narrated in the first person by an unnamed man the reader realises from the beginning of the story that Chander may be exploring the theme of poverty. The narrator is a poor man who can ill afford food for his family. If anything he is desperate to provide for his family. Though this may be admirable it nonetheless burdens the narrator who might long for a simpler life. A life he sees through fraud and the seeds in the Brinjal. Through fraud the narrator goes about creating writings in the seeds of the Brinjal. His only goal is to impress people and to make enough money so that he can afford to feed his family. Something he succeeds in doing much to the amusement of his family (or wife). Who some readers might suspect is complaint with the fraud.
The wife’s roll in the story is important as she appears to be the homemaker and answerable to the narrator. This may be deliberate on Chander’s part. He may be placing a highlight on the subservient role women in India have to take when they marry. They are born free but as they grow and become of marriageable age they are answerable to their husbands. It is also interesting that the narrator’s wife cooks the meals. She appears to be rooted to domestic affairs. Unlike the narrator who has all the freedom in the world. It is after all the narrator who spreads the word about the Brinjal.
There may also be some symbolism in the story which might be important. The Brinjal can be seen to represent prosperity. The narrator’s prospects and his family’s prospects improve when the narrator doctors the Brinjal. The strength of faith in the community, across all religions, is also noticeable with Muslims, Hindis and Christians all flocking to see the Brinjal. Everybody has an interest in the miraculous Brinjal. With it having several different meanings and messages for everyone. The power of money is also symbolic. The more money that the narrator makes the happier he is till things get out of hand.
The end of the story is interesting as Chander appears to be exploring the theme of escape. The narrator has to escape to Bombay because of the ructions that the brinjal is causing. Interesting enough he goes to Bombay laden down with money and has enough money to start his own taxi business. It is also while the narrator is in the bar he sees the word Om at the bottom of the drink. This however may not really be the case and the narrator may be getting greedy after his adventures at home. This greed is dampened by the narrator’s colleague who says people in Bombay are not interested in religion. The one point to take from this incident is to understand that the narrator is still not satisfied with what he has gotten. He has managed to work his way out of poverty yet he still wants more.