Behind the Beautiful Forevers

Manju Waghekar Character Analysis

Asha’s daughter, the seemingly perfect, “most-everything” girl in Annawadi. Manju is going to college to become a teacher and she cares deeply for the other children in Annawadi. In defiance of her mother’s corrupt dreams of becoming slumlord, Manju hopes to be virtuous and good. She spends most of her time studying, cooking and cleaning for her family, and tutoring the young girls of Annawadi who would otherwise receive no education. Abdul seems to have a crush on her, but the two never speak because they are from such different worlds. Manju has big dreams for herself, despite seeing the oppression and desperation that often follows women in the slum.

Manju Waghekar Quotes in Behind the Beautiful Forevers

The Behind the Beautiful Forevers quotes below are all either spoken by Manju Waghekar or refer to Manju Waghekar. 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 4 Quotes

As every slumdweller knew, there were three main ways out of poverty: finding an entrepreneurial niche, as the Husains had found in garbage; politics and corruption, in which Asha placed her hopes; and education.

Related Characters: Asha Waghekar, Manju Waghekar
Page Number: 62
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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In calmer moments, Manju could argue that parents were terrified of losing control of their children in a city where dangers seemed to be multiplying-a city they didn't fully understand. And as much as Manju hated violence of any stripe, the odd thrashing, like the odd axe blow, could be effective in keeping a child close to home.

Related Characters: Manju Waghekar
Page Number: 64
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 12 Quotes

…she kept thinking she saw smoke coming out of Meena's mouth and nose-as if the girl had set herself on fire from the inside. No, that was impossible. Rat poison only. Her mind was looping. If she screamed for help, the whole slum would know that Meena had attempted suicide, which would ruin her reputation.

Related Characters: Manju Waghekar, Meena
Page Number: 187
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Manju Waghekar Character Timeline in Behind the Beautiful Forevers

The timeline below shows where the character Manju Waghekar appears in Behind the Beautiful Forevers. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: Asha
Opportunity, Corruption, and Inequality Theme Icon
...housedress, giving a potent message that she doesn’t care about impressing these people. Asha’s daughter Manju brings tea and the supplicants come in. Women weep about lost jobs or being forced... (full context)
Society, Competition, and Social Division Theme Icon
Opportunity, Corruption, and Inequality Theme Icon
Manju, silently kneading bread in the corner of the hut, angrily sighs. She knows that her... (full context)
Opportunity, Corruption, and Inequality Theme Icon
The Local vs. The Global Theme Icon
Manju finishes cooking and Rahul comes home from chatting in the street. Asha scolds Rahul for... (full context)
Chapter 4: Manju
Opportunity, Corruption, and Inequality Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
Manju struggles to understand Mrs. Dalloway, the latest novel for her college English course. She blames... (full context)
Permanence, Legacy, and Erasure Theme Icon
...or wait in line for water. At 11 pm, Subhash still hasn’t arrived. Asha tells Manju to give the people the food they had prepared. Most Annawadians eat and go home.... (full context)
Society, Competition, and Social Division Theme Icon
Permanence, Legacy, and Erasure Theme Icon
...a crowd, a young eunuch named Suraj arrives outside the temple and starts to dance. Manju is fascinated by the sight of this sexually ambiguous person, though popular superstition says that... (full context)
Society, Competition, and Social Division Theme Icon
Opportunity, Corruption, and Inequality Theme Icon
Manju spends most of her time doing things for others, such as running a small public... (full context)
Opportunity, Corruption, and Inequality Theme Icon
Manju leaves her brother to watch TV and turns to her English literature reading. The book... (full context)
Opportunity, Corruption, and Inequality Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
Manju wishes she had an English-Marathi dictionary. She doesn’t harbor the same resentment of this colonial... (full context)
Opportunity, Corruption, and Inequality Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
Manju whispers the plot summary of The Way of the World while she cleans the family... (full context)
Society, Competition, and Social Division Theme Icon
Opportunity, Corruption, and Inequality Theme Icon
...Annawadi and she uses this endeavor to prove that she is a good person. But Manju actually runs the school while her mother focuses on Shiv Sena political commitments. Asha wishes... (full context)
Society, Competition, and Social Division Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
The students come rushing into Manju’s hut in a frenzy because one of the young boys has been hit by a... (full context)
Society, Competition, and Social Division Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
Manju finally patches up the injured boy and enjoys a few minutes of gossip while she... (full context)
Society, Competition, and Social Division Theme Icon
Opportunity, Corruption, and Inequality Theme Icon
Manju gets the students to the classroom and starts a round of “Head-Shoulders-Knees-and-Toe” to get out... (full context)
Chapter 9: Marquee Effect
Opportunity, Corruption, and Inequality Theme Icon
In July, Asha, Mahadeo, Rahul, and Manju visit the small village where they lived before moving to Mumbai. Asha feels like a... (full context)
Opportunity, Corruption, and Inequality Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
The night before the wedding, Manju walks through the village leading prayers for the bride and groom. The whole village comes... (full context)
Opportunity, Corruption, and Inequality Theme Icon
Permanence, Legacy, and Erasure Theme Icon
...act like the first-class people until she is accepted as one of them. She counsels Manju to “by-heart” (meaning memorize and pretend) her way into improving their conditions by asking first... (full context)
Society, Competition, and Social Division Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
Taking advantage of her mother’s more open mindset, Manju cautiously brings up the subject of marrying a man of her own choosing. Asha still... (full context)
Society, Competition, and Social Division Theme Icon
Opportunity, Corruption, and Inequality Theme Icon
Manju applies herself to learning the insurance business, finding that she has to play up the... (full context)
Society, Competition, and Social Division Theme Icon
Opportunity, Corruption, and Inequality Theme Icon
Asha begins to think that Manju is spending too much time on her slum school project. Asha forces Manju to teach... (full context)
Opportunity, Corruption, and Inequality Theme Icon
On Asha’s 40th birthday, Manju passes around cake to the family. Asha tries to celebrate, but is distracted by the... (full context)
Opportunity, Corruption, and Inequality Theme Icon
...extra-marital liaisons as necessary for the money and power that has allowed Asha to send Manju to college and consider a fabulous marriage for her. Asha walks out into the night... (full context)
Chapter 12: Nine Nights of Dance
Opportunity, Corruption, and Inequality Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
...faked caste documents. However, this success has come at the cost of alienating her family. Manju is disgusted with the way that Asha uses extra-marital affairs to gain control. (full context)
Permanence, Legacy, and Erasure Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
...especially oppressive marriages. Two women follow Fatima’s example by setting themselves on fire. Meena and Manju even discuss suicide methods one night. Manju is ashamed of her mother’s dishonorable behavior, while... (full context)
Opportunity, Corruption, and Inequality Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
Manju lives and breathes her college studying, which helps to block out the painful experience of... (full context)
Life and Death Theme Icon
A week before Navrati, Meena and Manju meet at the public toilet to discuss Fatima’s “way out” of their worries about arranged... (full context)
Society, Competition, and Social Division Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
The women furiously clean the streets of Annawadi the day before Navrati. Manju rushes about trying to finish her housework so that she will have time to study... (full context)
Opportunity, Corruption, and Inequality Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
Meena’s mother is inside making dinner when Manju tells her about Meena eating rat poison. Meena’s mother insists that Meena is faking it,... (full context)
Society, Competition, and Social Division Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
Manju sees some women pass by Meena’s house. She quietly tells them that Meena has poisoned... (full context)
Permanence, Legacy, and Erasure Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
...of Annawadi cluck that she was simply bored of her world, while Meena’s family blames Manju’s influence. Manju mourns her friend staring at the letters “Meena” that someone had carved in... (full context)
Chapter 16: Black and White
Society, Competition, and Social Division Theme Icon
Manju is saddened to see her mother depressed, and she tries to cheer Asha, but Asha... (full context)
Opportunity, Corruption, and Inequality Theme Icon
Asha tells Manju not to worry about getting a job after her studies anymore, now that the small... (full context)