Kanthapura

by

Raja Rao

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Brahmin Term Analysis

The traditionally highest and most powerful caste, composed of priests and teachers.

Brahmin Quotes in Kanthapura

The Kanthapura quotes below are all either spoken by Brahmin or refer to Brahmin. For each quote, you can also see the other terms 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 1 Quotes

Till now I’ve spoken only of the Brahmin quarter. Our village had a Pariah quarter too, a Potters’ quarter, a Weavers’ quarter, and a Sudra quarter. How many huts had we there? I do not know. There may have been ninety or a hundred—though a hundred may be the right number. Of course you wouldn’t expect me to go into the Pariah quarter, but I have seen from the street-corner Beadle Timmayya’s hut.

Related Characters: Achakka (speaker), Moorthy, Beadle Timmayya
Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:

I closed my ears when I heard [Moorthy] went to the Pariah quarter. We said to ourselves, he is one of these Gandhi-men, who say there is neither caste nor clan nor family, and yet they pray like us and they live like us. Only they say, too, one should not marry early, one should allow widows to take husbands and a Brahmin might marry a pariah and a pariah a Brahmin. Well, well, let them say it, how does it affect us? We shall be dead before the world is polluted. We shall have closed our eyes.

Related Characters: Achakka (speaker), Moorthy, Mahatma Gandhi
Page Number: 10
Explanation and Analysis:
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:
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Brahmin Term Timeline in Kanthapura

The timeline below shows where the term Brahmin appears in Kanthapura. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Section 1
Gandhism and the Erosion of Caste Theme Icon
Land, Geography, and Belonging Theme Icon
Labor, Exploitation, and Economic Independence Theme Icon
Achakka notes that, so far, she has only talked about the village’s Brahmin Quarter—there are a number of others, and perhaps “ninety or a hundred” huts in total.... (full context)
Gandhism and the Erosion of Caste Theme Icon
Land, Geography, and Belonging Theme Icon
Across the Sudra Street is the Brahmin Street, where Achakka herself lives, Subba Chetty has his shop, and the local temple stands.... (full context)
Oral Tradition, Writing, and Political Power Theme Icon
Nationalism and Colonialism Theme Icon
Land, Geography, and Belonging Theme Icon
...“half-sunk” linga (an idol that represents Lord Siva) in Achakka’s backyard and convinced the other brahmins to clean and build a small shrine for it. Postmaster Suryanarayana proposes a Sankara-jayantha—the Brahmins... (full context)
Oral Tradition, Writing, and Political Power Theme Icon
Nationalism and Colonialism Theme Icon
...in the court. Sastri makes “the god-world” feel “true and near and brilliant” to the brahmins and they can watch him perform for hours. (full context)
Section 2
Gandhism and the Erosion of Caste Theme Icon
Labor, Exploitation, and Economic Independence Theme Icon
...own cloth is sacred; the spinning-wheels give work and cloth to those who need it. “Brahmins do not spin,” Nanjamma protests—that is the weavers’ job. (full context)
Gandhism and the Erosion of Caste Theme Icon
Labor, Exploitation, and Economic Independence Theme Icon
Moorthy visits the other brahmins and then the pariahs, convincing all the people he meets to start spinning. A crowd... (full context)
Section 3
Oral Tradition, Writing, and Political Power Theme Icon
Nationalism and Colonialism Theme Icon
Labor, Exploitation, and Economic Independence Theme Icon
In his youth, Bhatta was poor and astrologically adept. He is always the “First Brahmin” at the Pandit’s house for the holy obsequial dinner, which he eats slowly and heavily.... (full context)
Gandhism and the Erosion of Caste Theme Icon
Labor, Exploitation, and Economic Independence Theme Icon
Bhatta complains that pariahs are mixing with brahmins, perhaps to one day usurp their place. Rangamma says not to worry, for elsewhere pariahs... (full context)
Gandhism and the Erosion of Caste Theme Icon
Labor, Exploitation, and Economic Independence Theme Icon
...to crush” the Gandhian pariah movement “in its seed.” Seetharamu asked Bhatta to start a brahmin party in Kanthapura before Gandhi convinces villagers to accept even Mohomedans and Europeans. The Swami... (full context)
Gandhism and the Erosion of Caste Theme Icon
...he visits the pariahs, but Ramakrishnayya convinces him to calm down—Moorthy was an idealistic “nice brahmanic boy” not worth harming, and Bhatta calms down and says he hopes that Moorthy will... (full context)
Section 5
Gandhism and the Erosion of Caste Theme Icon
Nationalism and Colonialism Theme Icon
Labor, Exploitation, and Economic Independence Theme Icon
...will lose their salaries if they refuse to send their female family members. As a brahmin, Seetharam refuses to send his daughter, and the new Sahib shoots him in the stomach.... (full context)
Oral Tradition, Writing, and Political Power Theme Icon
Nationalism and Colonialism Theme Icon
Labor, Exploitation, and Economic Independence Theme Icon
...came to the Estate, the new Sahib figured he would be useful. In fact, the brahmin clerks Gangadhar and Vasudev ignore the policeman and the rest of the coolies follow suit—they... (full context)
Section 7
Oral Tradition, Writing, and Political Power Theme Icon
Gandhism and the Erosion of Caste Theme Icon
Land, Geography, and Belonging Theme Icon
...bhajan attended by people from throughout Kanthapura, including even Badè Khan—but very few of the brahmins. Moorthy vows yet again to “send out love where there was hatred and compassion where... (full context)
Section 8
Gandhism and the Erosion of Caste Theme Icon
Nationalism and Colonialism Theme Icon
...do but open your mouth and it shall be done.” Moorthy explains his program. Fewer brahmins are coming to the bhajans, and some—like Waterfall Venkamma, Temple Rangappa, Patwari Nanjundia, Schoolmaster Devarayya,... (full context)
Section 10
Nationalism and Colonialism Theme Icon
Shouts of “Mahatma Gandhi ki jai!” come from the brahmin quarter, and the policemen go there to beat them, too. Ramanna and Dorè proclaim their... (full context)
Section 13
Oral Tradition, Writing, and Political Power Theme Icon
Nationalism and Colonialism Theme Icon
...must swear to speak Truth, spin wool and “put aside the idea of the holy brahmin and the untouchable pariah.” (full context)
Section 15
Gandhism and the Erosion of Caste Theme Icon
Labor, Exploitation, and Economic Independence Theme Icon
...with their lathis. From his toddy booth, Boranna shouts that he will give all the brahmins free drinks, and the shopkeepers join the policemen in rushing at the protestors. The protestors... (full context)
Section 16
Nationalism and Colonialism Theme Icon
Land, Geography, and Belonging Theme Icon
...around town, finding reasons to beat up whomever they wish. Only the few remaining pro-government brahmins pay their dues; the rest hide their jewels, sacks of food and other valuables in... (full context)