Swami and Friends


R. K. Narayan

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Swami and Friends Characters


Swami is the ten-year-old protagonist of the novel. Swami is a schoolboy living in 1930, in the fictional town of Malgudi in the South of India under British colonial rule. At the start of the… (read full character analysis)


Rajam is the son of the Police Superintendent and one of Swami’s closest friends. Rajam is new to Swami’s school at the start of the novel, and initially Swami and Mani view him as… (read full character analysis)


Known as “the Mighty Good-For-Nothing,” Mani is Swami’s other closest friend. Mani is a fearless troublemaker who never does his homework, sleeps in class, and frequently resorts to violence to solve his problems. However… (read full character analysis)

Swami’s Father

Swami’s father, W.T. Srinivasan, is an imposing figure who works at the courts and is usually strict with Swami. Swami sometimes feels afraid of his father, but at other times he turns to him… (read full character analysis)

Swami’s Mother

Swami’s mother appears in the novel only occasionally, usually in the context of providing Swami with something he wants or backing him up in an argument with his father. She is presented as a… (read full character analysis)
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Swami’s Grandmother / Granny

Swami’s paternal grandmother, whom he calls Granny, is an old woman who lives with Swami and his mother and father. Swami views Granny as ancient and sometimes embarrassing, but she is also a source… (read full character analysis)

Swami’s Brother

Swami’s unnamed baby brother is born midway through the novel. While Swami at first thinks little of his brother, he soon grows fond of him and admires how quickly he learns and grows. Swami’s… (read full character analysis)

Rajam’s Father

Rajam’s father is the Police Superintendent and acts as a powerful figure in the community. Swami and Mani are initially very excited to be associated with the Police Superintendent through their new friend Rajam(read full character analysis)


Somu is one of Swami’s friends from the Mission School. He is the class monitor and gets along well with everyone, students and teachers, although he does not excel academically. Swami thinks of Somu… (read full character analysis)


Sankar is one of Swami’s friends from the Mission School, known as “the most brilliant boy of the class.” Swami admires Sankar’s intelligence and relies on him for guidance at school. Sankar eventually leaves… (read full character analysis)

“The Pea”

The Pea, whose real name is Samuel, is a small boy in Swami’s class at the Mission School. Although Swami acknowledges that the Pea is ordinary in most ways, they become friends over their… (read full character analysis)

Mission School Headmaster

The Mission School Headmaster is a primary antagonist for Swami in the novel’s early chapters. Although he confronts Ebenezar about his mistreatment of Swami, he also calls Swami foolish for telling his father what happened… (read full character analysis)

Mr. Ebenezar

Mr. Ebenezar is the fanatical Christian scripture teacher at the Mission School. Although Swami and his friends sometimes finds his classes amusing, he uses his lectures to degrade Hinduism and argue for the superiority of… (read full character analysis)

Board School Headmaster

The Board School Headmaster is a strict, wizened old man who Swami thinks of as “owl-like.” He is an imposing figure and frightens Swami, even preventing him from attending the cricket practices he loves. But… (read full character analysis)

The Coachman

The unnamed coachman is an acquaintance of Swami’s who promises to help him acquire a toy hoop in exchange for money. He claims to be able to turn copper coins into silver, but it… (read full character analysis)

The Coachman’s Son

The coachman’s son is a young boy who begins to taunt and threaten Swami after his father successfully scams Swami out of his money. Rajam forms a plan in which Mani will kidnap the… (read full character analysis)


Karrupan is a young boy who is bullied by Rajam, Mani, and Swami while out driving his cart. The three friends harass Karrupan and pretend to be government agents, frightening the boy before… (read full character analysis)

Dr. Kesavan

Dr. Kesavan is a physician whom Swami goes to in an effort to get a medical certificate saying he can miss school drill practice in order to go to cricket. Dr. Kesavan laughs at… (read full character analysis)


Ranga is the cart man who finds Swami unconscious after his night wandering lost in the wilderness. He rescues Swami by bringing him to Mr. Nair, thinking himself too simple to know what to… (read full character analysis)

Mr. Nair

Mr. Nair is the District Forest Officer who helps Swami return home after being lost. Swami initially confuses him with his own father, indicating the sense of loss and disorientation that Swami undergoes as… (read full character analysis)