And the Mountains Echoed

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The son of Iqbal (Abdullah’s half-brother), Gholam is a clever, savvy teenager who befriends Adel during Chapter Seven of the novel. Gholam knows from his father that The Commander, Adel’s father, is a thief and criminal. He doesn’t hesitate to share this information with Adel, despite the fact that Adel idolizes his father.

Gholam Quotes in And the Mountains Echoed

The And the Mountains Echoed quotes below are all either spoken by Gholam or refer to Gholam . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Interconnectedness Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Riverhead Books edition of And the Mountains Echoed published in 2014.
Chapter 7 Quotes

“My father is not a thief!” Adel shot back. “Ask anyone in Shadbagh-e-Nau, ask them what he’s done for this town.” He thought of how Baba jan received people at the town mosque, reclined on the floor, teacup before him, prayer beads in hand. A solemn line of people, stretching from his cushion to the front entrance, men with muddy hands, toothless old women, young widows with children, every one of them in need, each waiting for his or her turn to ask for a favor, a job, a small loan to repair a roof or an irrigation ditch or buy milk formula.

Related Characters: Adel (speaker), Baba Jan / The Commander / Commander Sahib , Gholam
Page Number: 278
Explanation and Analysis:

In this chapter, we meet Adel, a young, idealistic boy who hero-worships his father, "The Commander." Although it's never explicitly stated, we get the sense that Adel's father isn't such a good man--in fact, he's probably a member of the Taliban, a fundamentalist, terrorist group that hurts and oppresses innocent people. The reason that Adel thinks of his father as a "good man" is that The Commander makes a point of granting special favors to the people of his community--he uses his wealth and prestige to make his neighbors loyal to him. As far as Adel is concerned, The Commander's actions are good and generous--but we can tell that they're just the opposite: selfish and calculating.

The passage brings up an interesting point: is generosity "good" if it's designed to make an evil person more influential in his community? The Commander may be an evil person, but he's still using his money to give jobs and repair roofs, after all. Perhaps there's no simple way of answering the question: as the div said in Chapter One, there's no real difference between cruelty and benevolence.

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Gholam Character Timeline in And the Mountains Echoed

The timeline below shows where the character Gholam appears in And the Mountains Echoed. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 7
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Power and Wealth Theme Icon
...They get into a lively conversation about soccer, and afterwards, the boy introduces himself as Gholam. Adel introduces himself as well. Adel enjoys talking with his new friend, as he hasn’t... (full context)
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Adel and Gholam continue talking. Gholam explains that he was born in a Pakistani refugee camp outside of... (full context)
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Gholam and Adel continue talking. Gholam mentions that Adel’s father has many enemies. Adel has heard... (full context)
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Compassion and Selfishness Theme Icon
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In the coming days, Adel sees little of Gholam. Then, about a week after meeting him for the first time, Adel sees Gholam near... (full context)
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Compassion and Selfishness Theme Icon
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One day, Gholam tells Adel something unpleasant: Adel’s father built his mansion on Gholam’s family’s land. The orchard... (full context)
Time, Memory, Forgetting, and Art Theme Icon
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The evening after his fight with Gholam, Adel still isn’t sure what to believe. On one hand, he worships his father, and... (full context)
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A few days after he speaks with his stepmother, Adel sees Gholam wandering through the orchards. Gholam tells Adel that there’s been a highly suspicious mix-up at... (full context)
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A few days after Adel’s talk with Gholam, Baba jan returns to Shadbagh. Adel is overjoyed to see him, though he can’t stop... (full context)