How does Nasira Sharma’s story ‘Hunger’ deal with the ideas that question of survival is the uppermost priority in the mind of poor?
The story Hunger by Nasira Sharma has been a story with the themes of poverty, hunger and survival. Here, we are presented with only two named characters: Kasim and Rizwan. Rizwan is an educated young man but comes of a very poor family. His mother is ill, father had died two years ago and two younger brothers had to drop out of school just for their poverty. In such a condition, Rizwan is seeking for a job and on the verge of getting one. The Kihaan newspaper has promised him a job on the condition that he has to submit five interviews first with people’s names and addresses.
But reality is tough. Rizwan finds it very difficult to find people who has time to talk with him, as everybody is trying to survive in this harsh world. Finally, he found a man named Kasim who is a rag-seller and earns just five hundred rupees a month.
In their conversation, Rizwan comes to know that Kasim has an old father and a young child of four. He is planning to take his son in the same work the next year when he becomes five. When asked about educating his son, taking a land for farming or taking a loan from the bank to start a business, Kasim is not interested in anything. This is just because he has been cheated this way before. So he is now determined with his way of life and don’t want to get diverted from that. This is apparent that he just wants to survive in his own way, without taking anyone’s help and being deceived again. So he doesn’t wait for long in spite of Rizwan’s requests. He even had no permanent address to provide him with.
But it’s only in the later part of the story that we come to know of Rizwan’s own poverty and how he is trying to survive in this world of poverty and despair. He himself had eaten nothing since that morning. So, after reaching the office in an empty stomach he put his own name and address on the interview sheet and submitted it with the hope of getting another man for interviewing the next day.
Apparently he thought that it was only fair to write his own name and address on Kasim’s interview, as he found no big difference between his and Kasim’s conditions. Both were trying to survive in their own way.
The story is a depiction of poverty and hardships faced in today’s world. This story deals with two characters, Rizwan and Kasim. They both are suffering from acute poverty. Kasim’s poverty can be made clear from the fact that he earned only 500 rupees a month. Rizwan’s poverty is understood from his family – a dead father, a sick mother and two dropped out brothers .