Theory:

     The panchayat was held the same evening under an old banyan tree. Jumman stood up and said, “The voice of the Panch is the voice of God. Let my aunt nominate the head Panch. I will abide by her decision.”

     “The Panch knows neither friend nor enemy. What do you say to Algu Chowdhry?” the old lady announced.
     “Fine,” replied Jumman hiding his joy over this unexpected piece of luck.
     “Chachi, you are aware of my friendship with Jumman,” said Algu.
     “I know that,” replied the aunt, “but I also know that you will not kill your conscience for the sake of friendship. God lives in the heart of the Panch, and his voice is the voice of God.” And the old lady explained her case.
     “Jumman,” said Algu, “you and I are old friends. Your aunt is as dear to me as you. Now I am a Panch. You and your aunt are equal before me. What have you to say in your defence?”
     “Three years ago,” began Jumman, “my aunt transferred her property to me. I promised to support her as long as she lived. I have done all I could. There have been a couple of quarrels between my wife and her but I can’t stop it. Now my aunt is claiming a monthly allowance from me. This is not possible. That’s all I have to say.”
Explanation:
 
Later in the evening, after the aunt met with Algu, villagers gathered under an old banyan tree to proceed with the panchayat.
 
shutterstock_1744499969.jpg
Panchayat under an old banyan tree
 
Typically, during a panchayat meeting, it was custom for the people involved in the dispute to stand up and elect the head Panch (judge). The head Panch will have to be unbiased. The Panch knows neither friend nor enemy. He would then have to listen to what people from both the sides have to say. Later, he would discuss with the other villagers and will pronounce the verdict. Once the verdict is passed, the people involved in the dispute will have to respect and follow it.
 
As the panchayat was happening to solve the problem between Jumman and his aunt, Jumman stood up and offered that his aunt should choose the judge.
 
shutterstock_1429564301.jpg
Jumman let the aunt nominate the Head Panch
 
The aunt stood up to state her choice. Without much deliberation she pronounced the name of Algu Chowdhry. Jumman became happy hearing this. He considered himself lucky at the fact that Algu was chosen as the Panch. He believed that Algu would be on his side because of their friendship.
 
But Algu was surprised. He reminded the aunt about his friendship with Jumman.
 
But the aunt believed in the honesty and the integrity of Algu. She said that Algu would not give away his moral sense of right and wrong for the sake of friendship. Although Jumman was his friend, Algu had the duty to stand by the truth. In this case, the aunt was wronged by Jumman, and only Algu can give her justice. Moreover, a Panch is equal to the God, and his words should be uttered with care. Hence, Algu had a greater responsibility to uphold justice and truth. Later, she explained her situation to the Panch and the villagers.
 
truth.jpg
Head Panch should uphold justice and truth
 
Jumman's turn had come to explain his point of view on the case. Algu asked him to present his defence. But Algu also warned him by saying that Jumman and his aunt are equal in his eyes since he was a Panch.
 
Jumman started explaining his point of view. He began by saying how his aunt transferred her property to him about three years ago. He had then promised to support her as long as she lived. And of course, he did what he could do to help her; he fed her and gave her a place to sleep. But then, his wife and his aunt started having some troubles between them. They had small fights and clashes which he couldn't stop. Then, his aunt became upset with the whole issue and asked him for a monthly allowance. He couldn't agree to that as he felt that it would be a loss to him.
 
 
Meanings of the difficult words from the paragraphs:
 
Sl. No.
Words
Meanings
1
PanchThe person who is appointed to judge the case during a panchayat
2
NominateTo choose
3
HeadLeader
4
Abide
To respect and follow the rules
5
AnnounceTo make a formal public statement about a fact, occurrence, or intention
6
JoyHappiness
7
UnexpectedSudden; something that was not expected to happen
8
Piece of luckSomething that happens by chance and that helps you to achieve something
9
Aware To know something
10
Conscience A person's moral sense of right and wrong, viewed as acting as a guide to one's behaviour
11
Old friendsFriends whom you have known for a long time
12
DefenceThe act or action of defending
13
Quarrels
Fights
 
Enrich your vocabulary with the following words from the explanation:
 
Sl. No
Words
Meanings
1
Proceed Move ahead; to start something
2
Custom The widely accepted way of doing something
3
Dispute Disagreement; problem
4
Elect To choose someone to hold a public position
5
UnbiasedNot being partial to anyone or anything
6
PronounceTo say; to utter
7
Typically In normal situations or circumstances
8
OfferedVolunteered; to express readiness to do something
9
IntegrityThe quality of having strong moral principles
10
Wronged byBeing illtreated by someone or something
11
UtteredTo say; to pronounce
12
UpholdTo maintain and protect something
13
TurnOpportunity or chance
14
ClashConflicts; dispute; problems
Reference:
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2006). Honeysuckle. Fair Play - Premchand (pp. 84 - 90). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.