Kanthapura

by

Raja Rao

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Maistri Character Analysis

The Sahib’s right-hand man, the maistri directly oversees the coolies as they work on the Skeffington Coffee Estate. He recruits workers from distraught villages and convinces them to work at the estate. He translates the Sahib’s instructions into the coolies’ native languages, beats them on a regular basis, and frequently kicks them off the estate when they demand their unpaid wages. Later, the maistri helps put down the Gandhian rebellion.

Maistri Quotes in Kanthapura

The Kanthapura quotes below are all either spoken by Maistri or refer to Maistri. 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:
Oral Tradition, Writing, and Political Power Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Oxford University Press edition of Kanthapura published in 1963.
Section 2 Quotes

“May I ask one thing, Moorthy? How much has one to pay?”

“Nothing, sister. I tell you the Congress gives it free.”

“And why should the Congress give it free?”

“Because millions and millions of yards of foreign cloth come to this country, and everything foreign makes us poor and pollutes us. To wear cloth spun and woven with your own God-given hands is sacred, says the Mahatma. And it gives work to the workless, and work to the lazy. And if you don’t need the cloth, sister—well, you can say, ‘Give it away to the poor,’ and we will give it to the poor. Our country is being bled to death by foreigners. We have to protect our mother.”

Related Characters: Moorthy (speaker), Nanjamma (speaker), Maistri
Page Number: 17
Explanation and Analysis:
Section 5 Quotes

And they all rose up like one rock and fell on the ground saying, “You are a dispenser of good, O Maharaja, we are the lickers of your feet…”

Related Characters: Achakka (speaker), Sahib, Maistri, Coolie Chenna
Page Number: 50
Explanation and Analysis:
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Maistri Character Timeline in Kanthapura

The timeline below shows where the character Maistri appears in Kanthapura. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Section 5
Oral Tradition, Writing, and Political Power Theme Icon
Land, Geography, and Belonging Theme Icon
Labor, Exploitation, and Economic Independence Theme Icon
...coolies were regularly marched through Kanthapura, past the Kenchamma Temple to the Estate, by the maistri who recruited them from their dried-up, foodless villages. (full context)
Nationalism and Colonialism Theme Icon
Labor, Exploitation, and Economic Independence Theme Icon
At the estate, the maistri “banged the gate behind them” and brought them to the Sahib, “a tall, fat man... (full context)
Oral Tradition, Writing, and Political Power Theme Icon
Land, Geography, and Belonging Theme Icon
Labor, Exploitation, and Economic Independence Theme Icon
...the night repairing their huts and begin cleaning their environs in the morning, but the maistri runs down and shouts at them to work. One coolie named Papamma begins to read... (full context)
Nationalism and Colonialism Theme Icon
Land, Geography, and Belonging Theme Icon
Labor, Exploitation, and Economic Independence Theme Icon
...have killed many a “cardamom-garden coolie.” Just the other day, coolie Ramayya was delivering the maistri’s bicycle via a mountain road and ran over a cobra by mistake—he fled, and so... (full context)
Oral Tradition, Writing, and Political Power Theme Icon
Land, Geography, and Belonging Theme Icon
Labor, Exploitation, and Economic Independence Theme Icon
...bit him, but spared his family. Siddayya continues telling stories and watching out for the maistri as the coolies chew tobacco and betel leaves. Suddenly, without a sound, “the maistri’s cane... (full context)
Section 6
Gandhism and the Erosion of Caste Theme Icon
Land, Geography, and Belonging Theme Icon
...and Madanna wrest it from Khan and hit him on the head with it. The maistri breaks them away but the coolie women attack him and begin tearing off Khan’s beard,... (full context)
Nationalism and Colonialism Theme Icon
Land, Geography, and Belonging Theme Icon
Labor, Exploitation, and Economic Independence Theme Icon
The morning after the fight, the maistri kicks Rachanna off the Estate and drives his family out by force when he asks... (full context)