Read “Tribute” this way:

Babuli is highly sarcastic and critical of his wife and her plans of investment. Don’t you think what his wife did
is right? She is the one who runs the family, knows how to balance the expenditure for domestic as well as
personal use. If she feels Babuli should buy a scooter, is it a big crime nowadays? She knows life and time
are changing. The vicissitudes of economy is first felt in the kitchen. A woman knows it better than anyone
else. I feel she is an ideal housewife.

She gives a very practical advice to her impractical and sentimental husband about selling the land in the village
and investing that money in the bank. She knows the practical difficulty of looking after it staying away from
the village. Isn’t it a wise advice?

It is through Babuli’s words we get a picture of his wife. His opinions are no doubt that of the male-dominated
society’s perception of women. He tries to make his wife appear cruel (remember he compares her to a
butcher!!!see the extent of male ego?)and money-minded. Think what moral commitment and integrity Babuli
has…and you will feel shocked. Remember him saying how a “stranger” all of sudden can influence his life than
his brothers. He treats his wife like a stranger who has no right to advise him or check him. He blames
his sisters-in-law for initiating the family feud underlining that women are responsible for domestic splits.

Now look at Babuli’s second brother. Again it is through Babuli we know him. How can you call it immoral or cruel
if his second brother asks for his property? Don’t you see that he is ready to pay for the land he demands from
Babuli? I hope you all would call it absolutely sensible to have a legal and practical approach in matters
related to property. It makes relationships smoother and stronger even or specially between brothers/sisters.
No wise or matured man would call it selfishness or greed.

Second brother is a very modern and practical person. He knows that the times ahead are not what used to be. One
has to be straightforward and not merely emotional or sentimental. No joined family is going to last when
private property and family welfare, good education, good facilities etc. become one’s priority. Moreover, what
is the point in having a joined family of suppressed wails and grouses compared to a nuclear family of
less inteference, the optimum in relationships and better facilities for new generation?

How can we trust the narrator Babuli who holds others responsible for his family’s downfall? Imagine what would
have been the story had it been written from the point of view of Babuli’s wife or second brother? Babuli’s
narrative is prejudiced and he paints many dark out of his own guilt.

Think and see the change in your understanding of the text. No text is a finished product. It gets life and meaning
only with the reader. Every text is a social and political conTEXT.