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Amrit Aur Vish is a sweeping social drama, a story of the struggle between the old and the new in post-independence India. The story is set in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, the hometown of the author. As the book begins, the young people of newly independent India are dreaming of shaping a new society and a new order, inspired by an idealistic vision. The old have been shorn of all their ideals by bitter experiences and they mostly cling to tradition and old values.
This brings the two into conflict as has been happening through the ages. The narrative revolves around the characters of Arvind Shankar, a novelist, Ramesh, the son of the local priest Putti Guru, and Rani, a young widow who dares to defy convention. There is also Dr. Atmaram, who dreams of creating an ideal society and plans many schemes for the benefit of the village. But Dr. Atmaram is so lost in his theories and visions that he lacks the practical wisdom and drive necessary to put all his grand schemes into practice.
Lachhu, Ramesh's friend, is also another character. He is a wayward youth who is drawn by Dr. Atmaram's visionary dreams. Lachhu, while working for the doctor, is lead astray by temptations of different kinds. Meanwhile, Ramesh and Rani fall in love and defy the wrath of the society and get married. Both of them are educated and progressive. They too have dreams, but unlike Dr. Atmaram, they are very practical.
Through a crisis that befalls the village, the narrative depicts the contrast between the idealistic dreamers like Dr. Atmaram and the practical men like Ramesh. Amrit Aur Vish is an interesting portrayal of the changes that take place in the society, the different conflicts within society, and the wheel of time that brings in these inevitable changes again.
About Amritlal Nagar
Amritlal Nagar was a noted Hindi writer. Other books by Nagar include Maanas Kaa Hans, Chakallas, Khanjan Nayan, Karwat, Naachayo Bahut Gopaal, and Orachhaa Ki Nartaki. He wrote social novels, historical novels, and children's fiction.
Nagar was born in Agra in the year 1916. He worked as a journalist and then turned to writing for the film industry. This well-known writer was involved in the movie industry for seven years. He also produced dramas for All India Radio's Lucknow station. Nagar won numerous awards including the Sahitya Akademi Award, the Soviet Land Nehru Award, and the Padma Bhushan.