Kanthapura

by

Raja Rao

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Kanthapura: Section 9 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Bhatta hears about the Congress Committee, which he considers “bad business,” and plots on his veranda as the carts’ noise dies down in the evening. “There must be an end to this chatter,” he thinks, for “if not, the very walls of Kanthapura will crackle and fall before the year is out.” Even after his excommunication, Moorthy was succeeding in persuading the other villagers. Bhatta decides to charge every Gandhian extra interest and stop offering them credit. But he recalls that a few of the brahmins—Temple Rangappa, Patwari Nanjundia, Schoolmaster Devarayya, Rama and Subba Chetty, and Venkamma—are still on his side, and that Venkamma “will set fire where we want” if he can find her daughter a husband.
True to his reputation as a profiteer, Bhatta’s main complaint with the Congress Committee is that it might affect his business. After he sees that the other villagers are more willing to reject the caste system than Moorthy, he decides to try making his own “bad business” for the Gandhians because he wrongly thinks that they, like the colonial government, want primarily to protect their economic interests. While he wants to take advantage of Venkamma’s sardonic and belligerent character, it is possible that the other Gandhians—like Moorthy during his fast in the temple—will brush off rather than escalate the conflict. 
Themes
Oral Tradition, Writing, and Political Power Theme Icon
Nationalism and Colonialism Theme Icon
Labor, Exploitation, and Economic Independence Theme Icon
Bhatta decides that Advocate Seenappa is the best candidate to marry Venkamma’s daughter, even though it would be his second marriage, and he is so thrilled that he wakes his wife up and “she said he had never loved her as on that night.” He meets Venkamma in the morning and says that he has found a horoscope compatible with her daughter Ranga’s. She is so delighted that she weeps and thanks Kenchamma. Word spreads around the village; the other brahmins congratulate Venkamma and Ranga on their luck.
When Bhatta finally does marry off a daughter, as he hoped to do in the book’s fourth section, it is not even his own. Indeed, the marriage is his calculated attempt to preserve the brahmins’ wealth in Kanthapura.
Themes
Gandhism and the Erosion of Caste Theme Icon
Labor, Exploitation, and Economic Independence Theme Icon
On the wedding day, it turns out that Seenappa is middle-aged and missing teeth, while Venkamma had promised her daughter he was 25. He is, however, wealthy, and the marriage party is extravagant, “and every pariah and cur in Kanthapura was satisfied.” The villagers praise Bhatta and Venkamma, finding them “not so wicked after all.” Moorthy, however, did not attend, and begins to wonder “how, how is one an outcaste?”
Bhatta briefly wins back a limited favor among the villagers with the large wedding party, which illustrates how easily the villagers’ public opinion is swayed and continues to suggest that most of the Kanthapura Village Congress members chose Gandhism on a whim rather than by reflecting on their options and vision of the Indian future.
Themes
Gandhism and the Erosion of Caste Theme Icon