Swami and Friends

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, he is also a loyal and affectionate friend, and Swami is proud to be allied with him. Mani often plays a supporting role in Swami and Rajam’s friendship, though at the end of the novel it is Mani, rather than Swami, who takes on the role of Rajam’s best friend. Mani lives with a frightening uncle, but little else is known about his family or background.

Mani Quotes in Swami and Friends

The Swami and Friends quotes below are all either spoken by Mani or refer to Mani. 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:
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the University of Chicago Press edition of Swami and Friends published in 1980.
Chapter 2  Quotes

Swaminathan gasped with astonishment. In spite of his posing before Mani he admired Rajam intensely, and longed to be his friend. Now this was the happiest conclusion to all the unwanted trouble. He danced with joy. Rajam lowered his gun, and Mani dropped his club. To show his goodwill, Rajam pulled out of this pocket half a dozen biscuits.

Related Characters: Swami, Rajam, Mani
Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 6 Quotes

The company was greatly impressed. Rajam then invited everyone to come forward and say that they would have no more enemies. If Sankar said it, he would get a bound notebook; if Swaminathan said it, he would get a clockwork engine; if Somu said it, he would get a belt; and if Mani said it, he would get a nice pocket-knife; and the Pea would get a marvellous little pen.

Related Characters: Swami, Rajam, Mani, Somu, Sankar, “The Pea”
Page Number: 46
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 8 Quotes

Swaminathan reflected: suppose the Pea, Mani, Rajam and Sankar deserted him and occupied Second A? His father was right. And then his father drove home the point. ‘Suppose all your juniors in the Fifth Standard become your class-mates?’ Swami sat at decimals for half an hour.

Related Characters: Swami’s Father (speaker), Swami, Rajam, Mani, Sankar, “The Pea”
Page Number: 51
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 9 Quotes

At the end of the prayer the storm burst. With the loudest, lustiest cries, the gathering flooded out of the hall in one body. All through this vigorous confusion and disorder, Swaminathan kept close to Mani. For there was a general belief in the school that enemies stabbed each other on the last day. Swaminathan had no enemy as far as he could remember. But who could say? The school was a bad place.

Related Characters: Mani
Page Number: 65
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 10 Quotes

Swaminathan began to cry. Mani attempted to strangle him. A motley crowd gathered round them, urchins with prodigious bellies, women of dark aspect, and their men. Scurvy chickens cackled and ran hither and thither. The sun was unsparing. Two or three mongrels lay in the shade of a tree and snored. A general malodour of hencoop and unwashed clothes pervaded the place.

Related Characters: Swami, Mani, The Coachman, The Coachman’s Son
Page Number: 75
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 11 Quotes

‘Whom do you address as “boys”?’ asked Rajam menacingly. ‘Don’t you know who we are?’

‘We are the Government Police out to catch humbugs like you,’ added Swaminathan.

‘I shall shoot you if you say a word,’ said Rajam to the young driver. Though the driver was incredulous, he felt that there must be something in what they said.

Related Characters: Swami (speaker), Rajam (speaker), Mani, Karrupan
Page Number: 80-81
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 19 Quotes

Mani ran along the platform with the train and shouted over the noise of the train: ‘Goodbye, Rajam. Swami gives you this book.’ Rajam held out his hand for the book, and took it, and waved a farewell. Swaminathan waved back frantically.

Swaminathan and Mani stood as if glued where they were, and watched the train. The small red lamp of the last van could be seen for a long time, it diminished in size every minute, and disappeared around a bend. All the jarring, rattling, clinking, spurting, and hissing of the moving train softened in the distance into something that was half a sob and half a sigh.

Related Characters: Mani (speaker), Swami, Rajam
Related Symbols: The Book of Fairy Tales
Page Number: 184
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mani Character Timeline in Swami and Friends

The timeline below shows where the character Mani appears in Swami and Friends. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1 
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...mediocre student but relaxed and well-liked by everyone, including the teachers. The next friend is Mani, described as “the Mighty Good-For-Nothing.” Mani is a powerful bully who never does his homework... (full context)
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
Education and Oppression Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...and all four of them approve of his telling his father about Ebenezar’s behavior, although Mani wishes he could have attacked the teacher himself. The Pea feels embarrassed because he himself... (full context)
Chapter 2 
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Swami and his friend Mani are sitting on the banks of the River Sarayu, a pleasant area near the center... (full context)
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
Education and Oppression Theme Icon
As the conflict between Mani and Rajam grows in the following days, Swami acts as their go-between, passing notes full... (full context)
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
The next evening, Mani arrives at the river carrying a club, ready to fight Rajam, and Rajam himself arrives... (full context)
Chapter 3
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...to visit his friends, ignoring Granny when she calls to him. He goes first to Mani’s house and then, together, they go on to Rajam’s house. Although they are nervous at... (full context)
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Swami and Mani are impressed by Rajam’s house, which is large and tidy. Rajam comes to meet them... (full context)
Chapter 5
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
Education and Oppression Theme Icon
...anger. The three begin to fight in earnest and they only stop when Somu and Mani enter the classroom and separate them. Swami, Mani, Somu, Sankar, and the Pea all go... (full context)
Chapter 6
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
Three weeks later, Swami and Mani are on their way to Rajam’s house. Rajam has invited them to his house, telling... (full context)
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
When Swami and Mani open their eyes, they discover that Somu, Sankar, and the Pea are in the room... (full context)
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...soon do the same. The Pea receives a fountain pen, Somu gets a new belt, Mani gets a new knife, Sankar receives a bound notebook, and Swami gets a green clockwork... (full context)
Chapter 8
Education and Oppression Theme Icon
All of Swami’s classmates and friends are overwhelmed by the pressure of the upcoming exams. Mani is particularly worried and attempts to get information about the exam questions from the school... (full context)
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
Education and Oppression Theme Icon
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...even more bored, wishes that his father would let him go out to play with Mani. Swami tries to study a map of Europe and wonders about the people who live... (full context)
Chapter 9
Education and Oppression Theme Icon
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
...up paper, smashing ink bottles, and destroying whatever they can find. Swami sticks close to Mani at first, afraid of the rumor that enemies stab each other on the last day... (full context)
Chapter 10
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...Sankar, and the Pea are not meaningful to him outside of school. His friendships with Mani and Rajam are “more human” and the three spend nearly all of their time together... (full context)
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Swami departs for Mani’s house and arrives to find a large, imposing man at the door who initially frightens... (full context)
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
The next day, Swami and Mani go to the coachman’s house. Rajam has made a plan for Mani to befriend and... (full context)
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Outside the house, Mani hits Swami and yells at him until a crowd gathers, including the coachman’s son. Mani... (full context)
Chapter 11
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Although many people view Swami’s hometown of Malgudi as intolerably hot in the summer, Swami, Mani, and Rajam enjoy going out together in the summer afternoons and barely notice the heat.... (full context)
Education and Oppression Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...third day at home, Swami’s father tells Swami that he cannot go out to meet Mani and Rajam but instead must stay at home and study. Swami protests that he should... (full context)
Chapter 12
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
While sitting on the bank of the Sarayu one August evening, Swami and Mani encounter a large group of people protesting the arrest of a political worker.  They listen... (full context)
Chapter 13
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
Education and Oppression Theme Icon
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
...transferred, and the Pea began school months late due to mysterious causes. Swami still sees Mani every day but had not seen Rajam since leaving the Mission School. (full context)
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
Swami and Rajam go to Mani’s house to choose cricket equipment from a sporting goods catalogue. Mani insists that a certain... (full context)
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Swami, Rajam, and Mani continue to believe that the cricket supplies will arrive soon, and that perhaps the company... (full context)
Chapter 14
Education and Oppression Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...tells his mother that he feels better and wants to go to school, thinking that Mani will already have gone. On the way there, he runs into Rajam and Mani, who... (full context)
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
Education and Oppression Theme Icon
Rajam leads Swami back to school and tells Mani to wait outside while they speak to the Board School Headmaster. Rajam and Swami enter... (full context)
Chapter 15
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
Education and Oppression Theme Icon
...and has no choice but to leave Malgudi. He wishes to talk to Rajam and Mani before going, so Swami goes behind the school and waits for a young boy to... (full context)
Chapter 16
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...mother.” He checked Swami’s school, as well as Rajam’s house, and was unable to find Mani’s house. He returned home after an hour without news, which made Swami’s mother and grandmother... (full context)
Chapter 18
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
...doesn’t care about Swami and wants to stay at the match. Rajam begins to tell Mani that Swami is safe, but then remembers that he has resolved not to care about... (full context)
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Mani arrives to visit Swami and the two friends go into the backyard to talk. Mani... (full context)
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Mani explains, to Swami’s dismay, that the cricket match has already happened earlier that day, Sunday.... (full context)
Chapter 19
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...father is being transferred to a new city, which Swami learned the previous evening from Mani. Swami feels desolate knowing that Rajam will soon be gone, unable to imagine life without... (full context)
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
After Mani leaves to go to Rajam’s house, Swami looks through his possessions for something to give... (full context)
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...in the dark early morning, holding the book of fairy tales. He sees Rajam and Mani get out of a car, along with Rajam’s family. He sees how tidy and refined... (full context)
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
Rajam gets onto the train and Swami asks for Mani’s help giving him the book. Mani runs to the window and calls to Rajam that... (full context)
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Swami hands the book of fairy tales to Mani in panic, and Mani runs alongside the train to give it to Rajam. Rajam takes... (full context)