Swami and Friends

Swami’s Father Character Analysis

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 for help and support. Swami’s father encourages Swami to study hard and helps him with homework and, notably, provides Swami with a study space within his own room. Late in the novel, Swami’s father reveals that his concern for Swami’s wellbeing outweighs his frustrations with his son, as shown when he searches for Swami all night and welcomes him home without punishment.

Swami’s Father Quotes in Swami and Friends

The Swami and Friends quotes below are all either spoken by Swami’s Father or refer to Swami’s Father. 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 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 11 Quotes

When they came to the car, Swaminathan got in first and occupied the centre of the back seat. He was still in suspense. Father’s friend was taking time to start the car. Swaminathan was sitting all alone in the back seat, very far behind Father and his friend. Even now, the coachman’s son and his gang could easily pull him out and finish him.

Page Number: 92-93
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 16 Quotes

He had walked rather briskly up Hospital Road, but had turned back after staring at the tall iron gates of the hospital. He told himself that it was unnecessary to enter the hospital, but in fact knew that he lacked the courage. That very window in which a soft dim light appeared might have behind it the cot containing Swaminathan all pulped and bandaged.

Related Characters: Swami, Swami’s Father
Page Number: 157
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 17 Quotes

The only important thing now was home, and all the rest seemed trivial beside it. The Board School affair appeared inconsequent. He marvelled at himself for having taken it seriously and rushed into all this trouble. What a fool he had been! He wished with all his heard that he had held out his hand when the headmaster raised his cane. Even if he had not done it, he wished he had gone home and told his father everything.

Page Number: 160
Explanation and Analysis:
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Swaminathan was considerably weakened by the number of problems that beset him: Who was this man? Was he Father? If he was not, why was he there? Even if he was, why was he there? Who was he? What was he saying? Why could he not utter his words louder and clearer?

Related Characters: Swami (speaker), Swami’s Father, Mr. Nair
Page Number: 168
Explanation and Analysis:
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Swami’s Father Character Timeline in Swami and Friends

The timeline below shows where the character Swami’s Father appears in Swami and Friends. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1 
Education and Oppression Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...two hours before school starts. He settles into his desk in a corner of his father’s dressing room and begins to work. (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
...he carries in his pocket. He thinks that he is an idiot for telling his father about the trouble with Mr. Ebenezar. Swami delivers the letter to the Mission School Headmaster,... (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
Swami tells his friends about his father’s letter and all four of them approve of his telling his father about Ebenezar’s behavior,... (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
...Swami should trust the headmaster and come to him with complaints instead of telling his father. The headmaster gives Swami a letter to give his father and Swami runs home, relieved. (full context)
Chapter 3
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...new friend Rajam and how wonderful he is, and he expresses particular excitement that Rajam’s father is the Police Superintendent. Swami goes on to list all of Rajam’s good qualities, often... (full context)
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Swami sits at home studying at his father’s orders, trying to understand the meaning of a poem. His mother brings him a snack... (full context)
Chapter 5
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...his house that afternoon. Swami wonders where to host Rajam and realizes that, because his father will be out at court, he can host Rajam in his father’s room, pretending that... (full context)
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...asks him to bring the food directly to him and Rajam. Finally, Swami asks his father if he can use his room to host Rajam, and his father agrees when he... (full context)
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...not change his clothes. Rajam and Swami talk happily for hours, until Rajam notices Swami’s father’s large books and asks Swami if he reads them. Embarrassed that Rajam has discovered the... (full context)
Chapter 8
Education and Oppression Theme Icon
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Two weeks before his April school exams, Swami notices that his father is becoming more strict about making him study. He pesters Swami frequently, eventually pointing out... (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
...of him.” However, the baby is asleep and Swami, even more bored, wishes that his father would let him go out to play with Mani. Swami tries to study a map... (full context)
Education and Oppression Theme Icon
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...few.” Swami makes his list longer and more complicated and then brings it to his father, who is busy working. Swami tries to go away and not interrupt him, but his... (full context)
Chapter 10
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...she has no money to give him, even though she wants to. Swami’s mother and father also refuse his request. Unable to find any coins in his house, he remembers that... (full context)
Chapter 11
Education and Oppression Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
As the summer continues, Swami’s father stays home on vacation from his job at the courts. On his third day at... (full context)
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Later that evening, Swami’s father feels sorry for making Swami study all afternoon and invites Swami to join him at... (full context)
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Swami feels safe again when he is inside with his father in the card room, but it is dark outside by the time they leave the... (full context)
Chapter 12
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
...center of town, where a large group of police is waiting. Swami realizes that Rajam’s father is leading these menacing men, a fact which horrifies him. Swami watches as Rajam’s father... (full context)
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Swami plans to keep his experiences in the riot secret from his father, but upon arriving home his father immediately begins talking about how Rajam’s father is “a... (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
...The reader learns that Swami refused to return to the Mission School and that his father sent him instead to the Board School. Swami quickly found himself happily the center of... (full context)
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...meantime, they make bats from a wooden box and get used tennis balls from Rajam’s father’s club and begin practicing without their complete supplies. The Pea joins their team, along with... (full context)
Chapter 14
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...her on the basics of cricket and explains how well Rajam leads his team. Swami’s father enters, carrying Swami’s baby brother, and remarks that soon it will be the baby teaching... (full context)
Education and Oppression Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...avoid seeing Rajam at his school, Swami pretends to be sick the next morning. His father thinks that he is well enough to go to school, but his Granny and mother... (full context)
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
Education and Oppression Theme Icon
...with his club, but the headmaster is not intimidated. Rajam tells the headmaster that Rajam’s father is the Police Superintendent, but even that fails to convince the headmaster. Rajam leads his... (full context)
Chapter 15
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...to get a job, and although he would enjoy having money, he knows that his father won’t let him live at home without going to school. Swami decides that he cannot... (full context)
Chapter 16
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Swami’s father walks through town, ashamed of himself as he moves toward the Sarayu river. He is... (full context)
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Swami’s father thinks back to earlier in the evening, when he had not yet been worried about... (full context)
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Swami’s father considers checking the hospital, but thinks that he is not brave enough to see Swami... (full context)
Chapter 17
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...surprised that he ever thought he needed to run away. Swami regrets not telling his father what happened and is especially sorry to miss cricket practice leading up to the match. (full context)
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...see clearly. He sees and hears a man talking to him and wonders why his father is there with him. The man says that his father will arrive soon, which makes... (full context)
Chapter 18
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
...is furious, in particular regretting that his team does not have a good bowler. Rajam’s father interrupts the game to give him a letter about Swami, from which Rajam learns that... (full context)
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...and treated him well. He is also touched at the memory of how kind Rajam’s father and his own father were, and he remembers with happiness how everyone laughed when he... (full context)
Chapter 19
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...order to get to the train station, from which Rajam is about to leave. Rajam’s father is being transferred to a new city, which Swami learned the previous evening from Mani.... (full context)
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...Swami settles on giving Rajam a book of fairy tales given to him by his father years before. Swami recalls that he has never been able to read the whole thing... (full context)
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...arrives and Rajam’s mother gets in as the policemen say goodbye to Rajam and Rajam’s father. Swami finds Mani and asks if Rajam will speak to him, and Mani says that... (full context)