Introduction :

Written in a captivating rhythm and rhyme and enriched with unique metaphors, this national award winning book for children is much more than its story.  The unique style made this story, as renowned Children’s writer Lila Mazumdar once said “an outstanding creation which touched the soul.  A fairy tale through which the history of Bengal manifested itself.”  Another legendary writer of Bengal, Subhas Mukhopadhyay commented on the book saying “this story is written in verse in fascinating rhythm.  Hiru Dakat is such a book for youngsters which anybody would like to collect for himself and indulge in a row to get a chance to read it.”

Synopsis

Hiru is a different kind of robber. He robs the rich to help the poor. Hiru’s heart bleeds for the deprived and the downtrodden. But he has no mercy for the tyrant. Hiru gives away everything that he robs; keeps nothing for himself. He does not even have a house to live.

Hibiscus bushes form the walls of his house and the sky is its roof.

He lives on whatever is provided by his friends and followers, for whom his concern is abounding. He worries about whether his horse has been given a drink of water. Hiru loves flowers; and above all, he plays the flute

The story is set in the first decade of this century. Hiru Daakaat is sixty when the narration begins. Three boys from the village have come to the forest and before they could leave the place Hiru and his followers arrive on the scene. The boys are scared and they hide themselves in the foliage of the trees. But they are soon discovered by Hiru’s men, who think they are spies sent by the police or the king. When Hiru is eventually  convinced that the boys are inocent and have come from the village, Hiru gives them food learns from them the plight of the poor in their village. Hiru gives them bags of rice and other provisions to take to the village.

In the second episode the boys accompany Hiru in his adventures. They go to Hiru’s village. Because of Hiru’s charity nobody ever suffers from starvation there. They live a protected and happy life. Hiru plays the flute in the day. In the darkness of the night he leads his followers to rob the rich.

Hiru is very expert in disguising himself. Hiru comes to know of a man in distress in another village. That man’s daughter was to get married that night. But the bridegroom’s father suddenly refuses to celebrate the wedding. He demands more dowry in the form of jewellery and cash. For the poor man whose daughter was to get married, this spells disaster. Hiru saves him from his predicament.  He frightens the bridegroom’s father who meekly surrenders to Hiru’s orders. Trailing Hiru, the police arrive on the scene. Hiru assumes the disguise of a marriage priest and hoodwinks the inspector. He takes the police party to a secluded spot but does not want bloodshed, as it was an auspicious night. He lets the police party go.

In the final episode Hiru comes to a village of milkmen whose life has become a horror as the Zamindar regularly plunders them of all their produce. Their children are famished and the families are forlorn. By a clever disguise Hiru holds the policeman at bay who arrive on the scent of Hiru’s presence. Then by adopting another disguise he goes to the Zamindar’s house, retrieves all the stolen articles and relieves the palace of gold and jewellery. Hiru distributes everything to the milkmen and dissolved his gang.
When Hiru was coming back he finds an old, sick and hungry man lying on the roadside. The old man narrates his tale of woe to Hiru and tells him that anybody who brings Hiru dead or alive to the police will receive a big reward. The old man was trying to find Hiru for that could save him from starvation. Hiru mounts his horse and lifts the old man to sit behind him and then discloses his identity. The old man plunges a knife into Hiru’s back and Hiru dies with a sigh for his flute.