The story revolves around many characters representing the various sections of Indian community. The peasant and rural society is represented by the family of Hori Mahato and his family members which includes Dhania(wife), Rupa and Sona (daughters), Gobar (son), Jhunia (daughter-in-law). The Story starts from a point where Hori has a deep desire of having a cow as other millions of poor peasants. He purchased, on debt of Rs.80, a cow from Bhola, a cowherd. Hori tried to cheat his brothers for 10 rupees. This in turn led to a fight between his wife and his younger brother, Heera’s wife. Jealous of Hori, his younger brother Heera poisoned the cow and ran away because of the fear of police action. When the police came inquiring the death of the cow, Hori took a loan and paid the bribe to the police and was able to clear off his younger brother’s name. Jhunia, the daughter of Bhola, was a widow and eloped with Gobar after she got pregnant by him. Because of the fear of the action from villagers Gobar also ran away to the town. Hori and Dhania were unable to throw a girl carrying their son's child from their doorstep and gave her protection and accepting her as their daughter-in-law. The village Panchayat fines Hori as his wife tackles the personal attack of the Pandit on them for sheltering Jhunia. Hori again is compelled to take a loan and pay the penalty. Hori is in huge debt from local money lenders and eventually married off his daughter Rupa for mere 200 rupees to save his ancestral land from being auctioned because of his inability to pay land tax. But his determination to pay those 200 rupees and to have a cow to provide milk to his grand son, leads to Hori's death because of excessive work. When he is about to die, his wife Dhania took out all the money she had (1.25 Rupees) and made Hori pay the priest on behalf of (Godaan) (cow donation). This eventually fulfils the traditional dream of Hori but still his desire to pay back the rupees 200 to his son- in- law and to have a cow to feed the milk to his grandson remain unfulfilled. Hori is shown as a typical poor peasant who is the victim of circumstances and possess all the deficiencies of common man but despite all this, he stands by his honesty, duties and judgement when time requires. He is shown dead partially satisfied and partially unsatisfied.
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