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The Song of Kahunsha

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tessa m

on 14 December 2012

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Transcript of The Song of Kahunsha

The Song of Kahunsha Anosh Irani Biography of Author Anosh Irani was born in 1974 in Bombay India where he grew up. In 1988 he moved to Vancouver where he attended the University of British Columbia and achieved his bachelor degree in creative writing. He has written three novels; The Cripple and His Talismans, Dahanu Road and The Song of Kahunsha. The Song of Kahunsha was a finalist for CBC Radio's Canada Reads and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. It was also published in 13 different countries and was a best seller in Canada and Italy. Irani has also written three plays including My Granny the Goldfish, Bombay Black, and The Matka King. Bombay Black was the winner of the Dora Award for Outstanding New Play. He was also nominated for the Governor’s General Award for Drama for his anthology The Bombay Plays: The Matka King & Bombay Black. Chamdi is a ten year old boy who has grown up his entire in an orphanage just outside of Bombay. It is 1993, in the middle of all the bombings and violence, yet Chamdi likes to believe that beyond the gates of the orphanage lies a beautiful Bombay, where everyone sings in the streets, is happy, gets along, and where his father is. So when Chamdi learns that the orphanage will be closing down and they will all have to move, he runs away during the night and heads for Bombay in search of his father. But when he arrives in the city Chamdi realizes it is not all he thought it would be. He meets a young brother and sister named Sumdi and Guddi who have lived on the streets their entire life. They take him in and show him what its like living on the streets. Chamdi discovers that siblings beg and sell on the streets for a man named Anand Bhai. Who plans to attack a Muslim family after a bomb explodes in one of the Hindu temples that injures Guddi and kills Sumdi. Chamdi takes Guddi to Anand Bhai knowing he would be able to help her. Doing this makes Chamdi in debt to Anand, meaning him and Guddi will never be able to leave Bombay. Summary Character Development Chamdi's character goes through many changes throughout the book. At the beginning he is a ten year old boy with a huge imagination. He has imagined a city of what he thinks Bombay is like in his head and named it Kahunsha, meaning "the city of no sadness". When Chamdi first ventures out into Bombay for the first time he still has these dreams and hopes, but he starts to realize the truth of the real world. He has always thought that he had it tough living in an orphanage and not knowing his parents, but meeting Guddi and Sumdi he realizes that his life was not that bad. Chamdi must go through things that no ten year old should ever experience. Begging and stealing on the streets, seeing one of his only friends killed, and committing crimes for a man that he will never be able to escape. Throughout the novel he is forced to grow up and become a man. At the end of the novel Chamdi has gone through so much and ends up stuck in Bombay, but he still has his imagination Themes The biggest theme most represented in the novel is the theme of change. From beginning to end there is a lot of change in Chamdi's life that he must learn to adapt to. The biggest changes he goes through are leaving everything he's ever known and entering the complete unknown. Also a more minor change Chamdi must face is changing his plans and goals. When he first left the orphanage his plan was to go to Bombay and find his father, but in the end he must stay in Bombay with Guddi and work for Anand Bhai. Conflicts Person vs. Person- Chamdi vs. Anand BhaiThe conflict with Anand Bhai started out as Sumdi’s conflict with him that Chamdi got dragged in to. Chamdi wanted nothing to do with Anand knowing he was a bad man. But near the end of the novel Chamdi was willing to do anything to save Guddi after the explosion, even if it meant working for Anand Bhai. So in the end this conflict was never really resolved for Chamdi. Although he does not regret it because he knows it saved Guddi’s life.

Person vs. Nature- Chamdi vs. BombayThe conflict between Chamdi and the real world of Bombay is not quite as obvious. When Chamdi first comes to the city he is very lost and really does not know what to do. He has never been in a situation like this before so it is all very overwhelming for him. It is resolved when he meets Sumdi and Guddi and spends a few nights on the streets and starts to get an idea of what this kind of life is like. Literary Devices Reference to event- “The Hindus broke down the Babri Masjid, a mosque in Ayodhya, a faraway place, she said, and now Hindus and Muslims were hurting each other in Bombay because of that”. (Irani 10).

Pathetic Fallacy- “The cough of a car engine makes Chamdi turn”. (Irani 49).

The Song of Kahunsha is written in third person limited where we only know Chamdi’s thoughts and views. My Opinion I personally loved The Song of Kahunsha. I found it really interesting to read and imagine what it is like living in Bombay. Before I read the novel I thought of the difference between Canada and India to be large. I never really thought of they’re being such big changes just between the life of a child living in an orphanage just outside of Bombay, to a child living on the streets of Bombay. It was also interesting to learn a little about the riots that went on in Bombay because I had never really heard about that before. What I loved most about this book was the idea of a person being stuck in a bad situation or a terrible life, and still having the imagination and optimism to remain happy.
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