Kanthapura

by

Raja Rao

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The regional Hindu religious leader based in the city of Mysore who supports the brahmins’ campaign against Moorthy’s Gandhian movement. The colonial government gives him 1200 acres of land to defend the rigid caste system that keeps much of Kanthapura’s population impoverished and powerless. He excommunicates Moorthy for “polluting” the caste system by “mixing with the pariahs.” Although he never directly appears in the book, he is incredibly powerful and exemplifies the decentralized, distant mechanisms of colonial rule.

The Swami Quotes in Kanthapura

The Kanthapura quotes below are all either spoken by The Swami or refer to The Swami. 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 4 Quotes

There was something deep and desperate that hurried her on, and [Narsamma] passed by Rangamma’s sugarcane field and by the mango grove to the river, just where the whirlpool gropes and gurgles, and she looked up at the moonlit sky, and the winds of the night and the shadows of the night and the jackals of the night so pierced her breast that she shuddered and sank unconscious upon the sands, and the cold so pierced her that the next morning she was dead.

Related Characters: Achakka (speaker), Moorthy, The Swami, Narsamma
Page Number: 46
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Kanthapura LitChart as a printable PDF.
Kanthapura PDF

The Swami Character Timeline in Kanthapura

The timeline below shows where the character The Swami appears in Kanthapura. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Section 3
Gandhism and the Erosion of Caste Theme Icon
Labor, Exploitation, and Economic Independence Theme Icon
...himself “adopted a pariah girl as a daughter.” Bhatta says that he recently visited the Swami in Mysore and saw his “wife’s elder brother’s wife’s brother-in-law” Seetharamu, who told him that... (full context)
Gandhism and the Erosion of Caste Theme Icon
...next morning they briefly reconcile, but before long, she starts raging again, suggesting that the Swami has ordered the whole village excommunicated unless Moorthy stops “mixing with the pariahs.” (full context)
Section 4
Oral Tradition, Writing, and Political Power Theme Icon
Gandhism and the Erosion of Caste Theme Icon
Nationalism and Colonialism Theme Icon
Labor, Exploitation, and Economic Independence Theme Icon
...asks him to “never show himself again until he had sought prayaschitta [penance] from the Swami himself.” She laments that her son has become a pariah and runs off, spitting and... (full context)
Gandhism and the Erosion of Caste Theme Icon
...him there. Bhatta visits and tells Narsamma that he has spoken to Moorthy, whom the Swami has not yet excommunicated. But, “if he continued with this pariah business,” Moorthy will be... (full context)
Gandhism and the Erosion of Caste Theme Icon
...Bhatta says there is nothing he can do—in fact, he will have to tell the Swami soon, for he does not “want our community polluted and the manes of our ancestors... (full context)
Gandhism and the Erosion of Caste Theme Icon
...“oh, he’s lost!” Bhatta runs to the city and, two days later, reports that the Swami has officially excommunicated Moorthy, plus his family “and all the generations to come.” (full context)
Section 10
Nationalism and Colonialism Theme Icon
Labor, Exploitation, and Economic Independence Theme Icon
As the man steps down, someone asks if he follows the Swami—which he affirms he does—and then announces that the Government has just given the Swami 1200... (full context)
Oral Tradition, Writing, and Political Power Theme Icon
Gandhism and the Erosion of Caste Theme Icon
Nationalism and Colonialism Theme Icon
After the old man steps down, “youngster after youngster” comes to defend Moorthy against the Swami, who excommunicated him. Ranganna stands and declares that he, too, has been excommunicated. He receives... (full context)