A House for Mr Biswas

A House for Mr Biswas

Govind Character Analysis

Govind is a cheery, illiterate former coconut-seller who began to work in the Tulsis’ fields after marrying Chinta. Mr Biswas’s early attempts to befriend him by complaining about the other Tulsis eventually led them to a physical fight. While they never fully reconcile, Govind personally carries Mr Biswas in his arms from Green Vale. At Shorthills, Govind withdraws from the family, sells fruit from the estate’s trees, and destroys the cricket pavilion to build a cowshed, where he spends most of his time beating the cows. Eventually, he gets wealthy by driving a taxi for the Americans who come to Trinidad during World War II, terrorizes everyone in the Port of Spain house, beats Chinta mercilessly, and becomes obsessed with his three-piece suits.

Govind Quotes in A House for Mr Biswas

The A House for Mr Biswas quotes below are all either spoken by Govind or refer to Govind. 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:
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of A House for Mr Biswas published in 2001.
Part 2, Chapter 5 Quotes

[Mr Biswas] turned the long room into an office. In this room, where the lotuses still bloomed on the wall, he had lived with Shama. Through the Demerara window he had tried to spit on Owad and flung the plateful of food on him. In this room he had been beaten by Govind, had kicked Bell’s Standard Elocutionist and given it the dent on the cover. Here, claimed by no one, he had reflected on the unreality of his life, and had wished to make a mark on the wall as proof of his existence. Now he needed no such proof. Relationships had been created where none existed; he stood at their centre. In that very unreality had lain freedom. Now he was encumbered, and it was at Hanuman House that he tried to forget the encumbrance: the children, the scattered furniture, the dark tenement room, and Shama, as helpless as he was and now, what he had longed for, dependent on him.

Related Characters: Mr Biswas, Shama, Mrs Tulsi, Owad, Govind
Related Symbols: Houses
Page Number: 509
Explanation and Analysis:
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Govind Character Timeline in A House for Mr Biswas

The timeline below shows where the character Govind appears in A House for Mr Biswas. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 3: The Tulsis
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...brought Mr Biswas some tea with “a frank, unimpressed stare,” and her smiling, sunburnt husband (Govind) soon came inside and told Seth how their animals were faring. Mr Biswas wondered whether... (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
...children; Shama and C were close, so Mr Biswas approached C’s handsome and jovial husband, Govind, a former coconut-seller who now worked in the Tulsis’ fields. Mr Biswas considered Govind “a... (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...of her unhappiness and the sincerity of her plea,” which proved to Mr Biswas that Govind told Seth about his “blasphemies,” and Chinta had come to placate him. (full context)
Gender and Family Theme Icon
After a commotion downstairs, Govind came upstairs and attacked Mr Biswas, who “allowed himself to be pummeled.” Chinta called the... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 5: Green Vale
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
...Savi. She “had to satisfy them.” He asked whether “Chinta would break up a dolly-house Govind buy?” as Shama continued to cry for the rest of the night. (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 6: A Departure
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
The men returned with Anand sad and sleepy and Mr Biswas in Govind’s arms, “deeply exasperated and fatigued.” Although he had not spoken to Mr Biswas since fighting... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 3: The Shorthills Adventure
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
...to look abandoned” now that Mrs Tulsi was too busy being ill to direct things. Govind destroyed the cricket pavilion to build a shed for cows (including one owned, of all... (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...amidst the house’s chaos. It turned out that W.C. Tuttle was selling whole trees and Govind whole lorry loads of fruit, and Mr Biswas felt ridiculous for his pride at selling... (full context)
Gender and Family Theme Icon
Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
Govind and W.C. Tuttle pursued other business opportunities: taxi-driving and opening a quarry, respectively. The widows... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 4: Among the Readers and Learners
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...Spain. He put a “FOR RENT OR SALE” sign outside the Shorthills house. The Tuttles, Govind and Chinta’s family, and a widow named Basdai also came to Port of Spain; the... (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
In Port of Spain, W.C. Tuttle played a gramophone incessantly and quarreled silently with Govind over parking space; Basdai started mediating the family’s arguments. Despite his brahmanic ways, “W.C. Tuttle... (full context)
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
...even though they were buying land, building mansions, and sending their children abroad to college. Govind and W.C. Tuttle continued to provide transport for the Americans and started growing wealthy. For... (full context)
Gender and Family Theme Icon
Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
Back in Port of Spain, Chinta and Govind were singing the Ramayana to drown out the sound of W.C. Tuttle’s gramophone. After hours... (full context)
Gender and Family Theme Icon
Govind was unfazed by the other goings-on in the house and kept up his threats, which... (full context)
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
Chinta and Govind’s son Vidiadhar began a rivalry with Anand at school, where they were both in the... (full context)
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
...clothes. The boys and their fathers chatted outside the school—the others noticed the “H” on Govind’s license plate, which revealed that his car was a taxi; seeking to save face, Anand... (full context)
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...question on homonyms and synonyms that he was saving for last. The Biswas children despaired; Govind and Chinta’s rejoiced at Vidiadhar’s apparent success, despite his lack of private lessons. The next... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 5: The Void
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...him a car, which he decided not to mention to anyone else in the house. Govind complained that the new “matchbox” took his parking spot while Mr Biswas read the manual.... (full context)
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
...grew even angrier than before, and occasionally violent, making him as much an outsider as Govind and leading everyone to yearn even more for Owad’s return. (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 6: The Revolution
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...walked out of the house. Mr Biswas declared, “Communism, like charity, should begin at home.” Govind burst into his room in a rage, then he and Mrs Tulsi argued over who... (full context)