Behind the Beautiful Forevers

Kehkashan Character Analysis

Abdul’s older sister. Kehkashan acts as a second mother to all the Husain children. During the course of the book, she returns home from her arranged marriage after her new husband turns out to be cheating on her, and she takes over many family responsibilities. Kehkashan has few options in Annawadi outside of marriage, prospects that are further limited when she is accused as an instigator of Fatima’s burning.

Kehkashan Quotes in Behind the Beautiful Forevers

The Behind the Beautiful Forevers quotes below are all either spoken by Kehkashan or refer to Kehkashan. 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:
Society, Competition, and Social Division Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of Behind the Beautiful Forevers published in 2014.
Chapter 6 Quotes

"Everyone is jealous of us, fixing our house," Kehkashan explained to an older cousin who'd just arrived from the countryside.
"So let them be jealous," Zehrunisa exclaimed. "Why shouldn’t we live in a better room now that we are doing a little better?"

Related Characters: Zehrunisa Husain, Kehkashan
Page Number: 86
Explanation and Analysis:
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Kehkashan Character Timeline in Behind the Beautiful Forevers

The timeline below shows where the character Kehkashan appears in Behind the Beautiful Forevers. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue: Between Roses
Opportunity, Corruption, and Inequality Theme Icon
...They are strangely polite to Abdul’s family, simply relaying that Karam, Abdul, and Abdul’s sister Kehkashan have been charged with beating One Leg and setting her on fire. Abdul overhears the... (full context)
Chapter 5: Ghost House
Opportunity, Corruption, and Inequality Theme Icon
...how Mirchi has failed 9th grade, Karam is in the hospital for his lungs, and Kehkashan has run away from her husband. While the younger Husains are happy that Kehkashan is... (full context)
Society, Competition, and Social Division Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
...that Fatima’s extramarital affairs have brought improper men to their neighborhood who now leer at Kehkashan. Zehrunisa is also skeptical of how Fatima treats her children. Fatima’s 2-year-old daughter recently drowned... (full context)
Opportunity, Corruption, and Inequality Theme Icon
Now that Kehkashan has returned to care for the younger kids, Zehrunisa can go with Karam to visit... (full context)
Chapter 6: The Hole She Called a Window
Society, Competition, and Social Division Theme Icon
Permanence, Legacy, and Erasure Theme Icon
Kehkashan grumbles at the obvious jealousy of their neighbors, but Zehrunisa is proud to show off... (full context)
Society, Competition, and Social Division Theme Icon
Opportunity, Corruption, and Inequality Theme Icon
...Zehrunisa that Fatima has gone to the Sahar Police Station to accuse Zehrunisa of assault. Kehkashan tells her mother to go to the station to share her own side of the... (full context)
Society, Competition, and Social Division Theme Icon
Back in Annawadi, Kehkashan is guarding her family’s things and fuming at the sight of Fatima putting on elaborate... (full context)
Opportunity, Corruption, and Inequality Theme Icon
Permanence, Legacy, and Erasure Theme Icon
...Abdul has never disobeyed his father, but he doesn’t want to hit a cripple. Luckily, Kehkashan interrupts and leads Karam home while Fatima continues to threaten them from inside her house. (full context)
Life and Death Theme Icon
Kehkashan starts a fire for dinner. Meanwhile, Fatima’s daughter Noori returns home for dinner to find... (full context)
Society, Competition, and Social Division Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
...Fatima for burning herself for attention. Fatima screams that this is the Husain family’s fault. Kehkashan tells her brothers to go to the police station to tell their story before Fatima... (full context)
Chapter 7: The Come-Apart
Life and Death Theme Icon
Fatima has already registered accusations against Karam, Abdul, and Kehkashan. This prompted Karam’s arrest and Abdul’s subsequent flight to the police office. But Fatima’s daughter... (full context)
Society, Competition, and Social Division Theme Icon
Four days after Fatima’s burning, a Muslim fakir (monk and miracle-worker) comes to Annawadi. Kehkashan jumps at the opportunity to receive a blessing before she herself must go into custody... (full context)
Society, Competition, and Social Division Theme Icon
The Local vs. The Global Theme Icon
Permanence, Legacy, and Erasure Theme Icon
...as the official cause of death, but it is really an infection that kills her. Kehkashan and Zehrunisa, as the only other Muslim women in Annawadi, take over the burial rites,... (full context)
Chapter 10: Parrots, Caught and Sold
Opportunity, Corruption, and Inequality Theme Icon
...until his trial. There is no date set for the trial yet, but Karam and Kehkashan are still being held in prison. Abdul is angry that Zehrunisa released him instead of... (full context)
Chapter 14: The Trial
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...and cost ruinous amounts of money in the process. This trial only considers Karam and Kehkashan’s involvement in Fatima’s burning, as Abdul will be tried as a minor. (full context)
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Permanence, Legacy, and Erasure Theme Icon
Kehkashan, and Karam take the bus to the courthouse in a Mumbai neighborhood called Sewri. The... (full context)
Opportunity, Corruption, and Inequality Theme Icon
...will see the truth. Priya is the first Annawadian called to the stand, which worries Kehkashan because Priya and Fatima were close. But Priya tells the truth on the stand, saying... (full context)
Opportunity, Corruption, and Inequality Theme Icon
Permanence, Legacy, and Erasure Theme Icon
...that the judge considers this whole affair a petty problem not worth her time. But Kehkashan and Karam are still facing the possibility of ten years in jail. They lean forward... (full context)
Society, Competition, and Social Division Theme Icon
Fatima’s husband finally takes the stand. Kehkashan remembers how the Husains had celebrated the holiest Muslim celebration, Eid, with Fatima’s family this... (full context)
Chapter 17: A School, a Hospital, a Cricket Field
Opportunity, Corruption, and Inequality Theme Icon
The Local vs. The Global Theme Icon
...the rains begin again and the new judge hears more witnesses in the case against Kehkashan and Karam. Kehkashan gives up on caring about the verdict, since she is too consumed... (full context)
Society, Competition, and Social Division Theme Icon
Permanence, Legacy, and Erasure Theme Icon
...of July, the prosecutor and defense make closing arguments for the Husain case. After teasing Kehkashan for her burqa and Karam for his job “in plastics,” the judge pronounces them not... (full context)