A House for Mr Biswas

Raghu Character Analysis

Raghu, who is Mr Biswas’s father and Bipti’s husband, is a notoriously miserly cane estate worker who buries his money in jars that nobody can find. He is not present for Mr Biswas’s birth, and Pundit Sitaram advises the family that he should not see his son until the twenty-first day. He refuses to go to work whenever Mr Biswas sneezes, which is a sign of bad luck, and dies while diving to look for Mr Biswas in a pond, believing that he and the calf he was looking after have drowned. After his death, neighbors invade his family’s garden at night, looking for his buried money, and this drives Bipti to send her children away and bring Mr Biswas to Pagotes.

Raghu Quotes in A House for Mr Biswas

The A House for Mr Biswas quotes below are all either spoken by Raghu or refer to Raghu. 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 1, Chapter 1 Quotes

Mr Biswas never went to work on the estates. Events which were to occur presently led him away from that. They did not lead him to riches, but made it possible for him to console himself in later life with the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, while he rested on the Slumberking bed in the one room which contained most of his possessions.

Related Characters: Mr Biswas, Bipti, Raghu, Pratap, Prasad
Page Number: 23
Explanation and Analysis:
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And so Mr Biswas came to leave the only house to which he had some right. For the next thirty-five years he was to be a wanderer with no place he could call his own, with no family except that which he was to attempt to create out of the engulfing world of the Tulsis. For with his mother’s parents dead, his father dead, his brothers on the estate at Felicity, Dehuti as a servant in Tara’s house, and himself rapidly growing away from Bipti who, broken, became increasingly useless and impenetrable, it seemed to him that he was really quite alone.

Related Characters: Mr Biswas, Bipti, Raghu, Dehuti
Related Symbols: Houses
Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 2, Chapter 1 Quotes

“I raised my hand but I did not know if it got to the top. I opened my mouth to cry for help. Water filled it. I thought I was going to die and I closed my eyes because I did not want to look at the water.”

Related Characters: Mr Biswas, Raghu
Page Number: 342
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 2, Chapter 4 Quotes

It was now that he began to speak to his children of his childhood. He told them of the hut, the men digging in the garden at night; he told them of the oil that was later found on the land. What fortune might have been theirs, if only his father had not died, if only he had stuck to the land like his brothers, if he had not gone to Pagotes, not become a sign-writer, not gone to Hanuman House, not married! If only so many things had not happened!

Related Characters: Mr Biswas, Savi, Anand, Raghu, Myna, Kamla
Page Number: 421
Explanation and Analysis:
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Raghu Character Timeline in A House for Mr Biswas

The timeline below shows where the character Raghu appears in A House for Mr Biswas. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 1: Pastoral
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
...before his birth, leading his mother, Bipti, to take her three children from his father, Raghu, and walk to the village where her own parents lived. Bipti told them about “Raghu’s... (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
...Bipti held a celebration for him nine days later, which people throughout the village attended. Raghu came too, but agreed to leave until the twenty-first day after a lengthy argument with... (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
Bissoondaye began making coconut oil, which was ready when Raghu came back on the twenty-first day, well-dressed and “very correct.” Mr Biswas was very confused... (full context)
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
One morning, Raghu heard Mr Biswas sneeze from the road, and Bipti had to convince him to go... (full context)
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Raghu picked up his paychecks on Saturday, as the Indian clerk shouted out amounts that the... (full context)
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...to fetch firewood. Mr Biswas slipped inside the family’s hut from behind to hide under Raghu’s bed, where he pondered the dusty cloth smells and the muffled sounds that surrounded him.... (full context)
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
...some exclaimed that they had seen Mr Biswas bring the calf to the pond, but Raghu decried them as “a pack of liars.” A carter named Lakhan noted that Raghu seemed... (full context)
Gender and Family Theme Icon
The villagers congregated around the unassuming pond as Raghu went diving after his son, convinced that “there is something down there” but unable to... (full context)
Gender and Family Theme Icon
Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
...began spitting furiously. Tara led the women in wailing for Bipti; because “cremation was forbidden,” Raghu lay in a coffin wearing his finest dhoti. “Photo now,” exclaimed Tara, but the photographer... (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...as Tara’s servant. Tara told Bipti to buy Dehuti new clothes, but Bipti confessed that Raghu left her nothing—even though Tara and everyone else in the village knew about his miserliness.... (full context)
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...his unsalted food tasted like raw flesh and spat it out. After Bipti gave him Raghu’s blanket, he screamed all night, as the raw smell seemed to emanate from it. Bipti... (full context)
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
...back. Surveying the garden he destroyed, he warned that “they will keep on looking” for Raghu’s money, and asked whether Bipti might want to help “them” out. Bipti had nowhere to... (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
At night, Bipti, Pratap and Prasad waited with Raghu’s cutlasses and sticks—Mr Biswas again drifted off to sleep but woke to hear Dhari singing... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 2: Before the Tulsis
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
...leaving home, Mr Biswas could not say where his house was or whether anyone found Raghu’s money. The land where they lived soon yielded oil, and while working on an article... (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...Jairam told Mr Biswas he could never be a true pundit—Mr Biswas destroyed his father, Raghu, and Jairam could not let the same happen to him. And so Jairam sent Mr... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 4: The Chase
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...him. He would always return to Pagotes and see Bipti, who always compared him to Raghu and claimed “she had nothing more to do, and was waiting for death.” She would... (full context)