Fair Play by Premchand is story about two friends who had to decide what was more important — friendship and enmity, or a sense of what is right and what is wrong.
Jumman Shaikh and Algu Chowdhry were very good friends and were greatly respected in the village. Jumman had an old aunt who had transferred her property in his name. In return, Jumman was to look after her till her last breath. But in two-three years, Jumman and his wife were tired of the old lady and started ill-treating and insulting her for food.
The aunt then decided to cook her own food and asked Jumman for a monthly allowance. Jumman refused shamelessly.
The aunt then complained to the people of the village, some laughed at her, some sympathised but nobody helped her. Even Algu said that although he respected her, he could not go against his best friend. So the old lady decided to hold a Panchayat and asked Algu also to come.
The Panchayat was held under a Banyan tree the same evening and when asked to nominate a Panch, Jumman’s aunt named Algu to the delight of Jumman. He expected the decision to be in his favour as Algu was his friend. But his happiness did not last long because Algu gave the decision in favour of the old lady and ordered Jumman to pay her a monthly allowance or return her property. This decision severed all ties between the two friends.
Jumman decided to avenge the wrong done to him. He soon got a chance. It so happened that Algu was in financial trouble so he sold one of his bullocks to Samjhu Sahu, but unfortunately the bullock died soon after being sold. Samjhu Sahu was to pay the money for the bullock in a month’s time which he refused to pay.
Algu took the case to the Panchayat where Sahu nominated Jumman as the Panch hoping that Jumman would definitely want to take revenge and hence will take the decision in his favour. As soon as Jumman became the head Panch, he realized the responsibility attached to this seat of honour. He decided fairly in favour of Algu and ordered Sahu to pay for the bullock.
Algu was overjoyed. The two friends embraced each other. They agreed unanimously that a Panch has no friend or enemy. He knows only justice.