Kamalamma’s daughter, a young girl whose husband died soon after she married him at the age of ten. After Ratna becomes a widow, her mother ostracizes her, and the rest of the village treats her as a pariah and source of shame. She gets close to Moorthy early in his campaign of resistance and cares for him during his three-day fast. Ratna gains a central role in the Gandhian campaign once Ramakrishnayya dies and she begins to read religious texts to the rest of the Satyagrahis (even though she has little interest in philosophy). During the final massacre in Kanthapura, a policeman tries to rape her but she fights him off. With Rangamma and Moorthy in jail, Ratna becomes the movement’s leader during this final protest. The police arrest her, and in the book’s final section she returns after her release to tell Achakka and the other women Volunteers about Moorthy’s letter to her (in which he disavows Gandhi). Ultimately, she moves away to Bombay. Early in the book, Ratna represents the cruel reality of a caste system that will reject a young girl whose chosen husband dies before she is old enough to even recognize her place in the world, but her involvement in the Satyagrahi campaign demonstrates the way Gandhism empowers women and outcastes through its insistence on equality and drive for freedom.
Ratna Character Timeline in Kanthapura
The timeline below shows where the character Ratna appears in Kanthapura. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...little of that primordial radiance” and feeling love “pour out of him” with every breath. Ratna visits him and he feels differently toward her, no longer seeming “so feminine and soft... (full context)
...protestors by their hair—one kicks Rangamma so hard that she passes out, and another slaps Ratna until her mouth is bloodied. When Moorthy’s calls of “Mahatma Gandhi ki jai!” stop because... (full context)
...sees that they are women from their own village, including Kamalamma and Venkatalakshamma and Lakshamma. Ratna hopes that they want to buy out Bhatta’s lands. They have trouble discerning who is... (full context)
...with bayonets, starting another chaotic massacre. Someone strikes one of the officers and Achakka hears Ratna’s voice saying, “no violence, in the name of the Mahatma” but cannot find her anywhere.... (full context)