The Buddha of Suburbia

by

Hanif Kureishi

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Buddha of Suburbia can help.

Changez Character Analysis

Changez is Jamila's husband. Though he came highly recommended by one of Anwar's cousins in Bombay, Changez defies all expectations. While Anwar wanted a strapping young man capable of working in his grocery store and providing him grandchildren, Changez is fat, has only one working arm, doesn't care to work, and Jamila refuses to have sex with him. Despite all of this, Changez is generally cheerful. He spends his days reading and walking around London with Karim. He and Karim soon become good friends, as Karim finds Changez easy to bully. Karim marvels at watching Changez fall in love with Jamila. Changez respects her wishes to not consummate their marriage and sleeps separately from her for the duration of the novel. He admires her openly and desperately wants to have children with her, and becomes extremely frustrated when it becomes apparent that that won't happen. To deal with his frustration, Changez hires a Japanese sex worker, Shinko. He initially tries to keep this a secret, but Shinko and Jamila eventually become friends, much to Changez's embarrassment. As the novel progresses, Karim watches Changez and Jamila's marriage slowly become more respectful. Changez's unwavering love for Jamila means he's perfectly happy to follow her into a communal living situation. When Jamila has a baby with Simon, one of the men in the house, Changez cares for the baby as though she's his own.

Changez Quotes in The Buddha of Suburbia

The The Buddha of Suburbia quotes below are all either spoken by Changez or refer to Changez. 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:
Coming of Age Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of The Buddha of Suburbia published in 1991.
Part 1, Chapter 7 Quotes

"That bastard, what does he think I am, his servant? I'm not a shopkeeper. Business isn't my best side, yaar, not my best. I'm the intellectual type, not one of those uneducated immigrant types who come here to slave all day and night and look dirty."

Related Characters: Changez (speaker), Karim, Anwar
Page Number: 107
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 2, Chapter 12 Quotes

As I sat there I began to recognize that this was one of the first times in my life I'd been aware of having a moral dilemma. Before, I'd done exactly what I wanted; desire was my guide and I was inhibited by nothing but fear. But now, at the beginning of my twenties, something was growing in me. Just as my body had changed at puberty, now I was developing a sense of guilt, a sense not only of how I appeared to others, but of how I appeared to myself...

Related Characters: Karim (speaker), Changez, Matthew Pyke, Eleanor
Page Number: 186
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Buddha of Suburbia LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Buddha of Suburbia PDF

Changez Character Timeline in The Buddha of Suburbia

The timeline below shows where the character Changez appears in The Buddha of Suburbia. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 6
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
...Jeeta and Jamila to the airport to pick up Jamila's new husband. His name is Changez, and he's a very short and fat man. Helen drives them to Anwar's store in... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Changez's welcome party is awkward. Jamila and Changez don't look at each other, and even Helen... (full context)
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
...marry him. When it's time to eat, Helen looks ready to vomit as she watches Changez eat with his one hand, not with silverware. Karim, however, feels bad for Changez. They... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
...of Anwar's relatives had been rude to her, and she's mad at Jamila for marrying Changez. Karim tells Helen to go to San Francisco. As they pass through Anwar's shop, Changez... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 7
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Karim begins splitting his time between Eva's house, his parents' empty house, and Changez and Jamila's flat. He drops out of school when Charlie stops going, and Eva sets... (full context)
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Karim spends much of his time at Changez and Jamila's two-room flat. Jamila lives in the bedroom and spends all of her time... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
Before Changez's "sex trouble" truly begins, he starts having trouble with Anwar. Anwar had started Changez working... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
Karim and Changez become friends, as Karim finds Changez easy to bully. Karim enjoys that Changez finds him... (full context)
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
Soon, Jamila neither likes nor dislikes Changez. He tells her stories about India and asks her about her political beliefs, though he... (full context)
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
Karim explains that having children is extremely important to Changez. Recently, Anwar had asked Changez if Jamila was expecting his grandson and when Changez was... (full context)
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
...unhappiness might be infectious. He begins to tell her about the bizarre sight of watching Changez fall in love with Jamila, but Mum becomes bored. Karim then begs Mum to draw... (full context)
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
...Dad he's appreciated. Karim nearly runs back to Jamila's flat, where she's busy studying and Changez is occupied watching her study. Changez pulls Karim into the kitchen and whispers that he... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Karim and Jamila have sex, and he asks her if she cares for Changez at all. Jamila insists she never wanted him here and doesn't see why she should... (full context)
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...Karim have sex again and then fall asleep. Karim wakes several hours later to see Changez lying awake on his camp bed, a vacant expression on his face. Karim dresses and... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 8
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...Dad ignores Karim, though Karim remains at Dad and Eva's house so he can avoid Changez. He doesn't understand why Dad takes his failing so personally, and he thinks that Dad... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 9
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
Karim is relieved to see Jamila, Changez, and Shinko getting out of a cab. He explains to the reader that he's spoken... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Changez and Karim shake hands. Karim insists that Jamila is her own person, not his or... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 10
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
...dancing afterwards and Karim is thrilled at Mum's happiness. Karim invites Dad, Eva, Jamila, and Changez to the opening night, and nobody looks happy afterwards. Dad informs Karim that Mr. Kipling... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 12
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Karim goes to visit Changez. Changez is busy dusting and wearing Jamila's pink robe as Karim says that he'd like... (full context)
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
Karim changes the subject and asks about Shinko. Changez happily shares that he and Shinko continue to experiment with sex positions. Karim asks how... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Suddenly, Changez becomes angry. He cries out that he'll make Jamila like him or he'll kill himself.... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Karim settles in to think about Changez. He realizes this is one of the first moral dilemmas he's ever faced, and notices... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
...important to Karim that the other actors like his new character, and he rehearses his Changez character frequently. When Karim finally performs Changez, Tracey starts to object, but Pyke insists that... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 14
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
...also remodels without consulting him. Jeeta also regularly taunts Anwar about what a horrible son-in-law Changez is.  (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
One day, as Anwar returns from the mosque, he recognizes Changez walking with Shinko. Changez and Shinko had been shopping at a sex shop and are... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
When the men lower the coffin down, Jamila staggers. Changez catches her and seems ecstatic to be touching her at last. Later that night, Changez,... (full context)
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Slowly, Jamila informs Changez that she's leaving their flat. Changez looks terrified as Jamila explains that she wants to... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Karim thinks that Jamila probably didn't think it through when she asks Changez if he'd like to come with her. Changez nods, Karim affirms that this is a... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Karim helps Jamila and Changez move into the communal house, which is rundown and filled with hardworking vegetarians. Changez looks... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 15
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Hierarchy and Class Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
Karim takes a break and goes to visit Changez. He barely recognizes him: Changez has had a haircut and seems exceptionally happy, now that... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Later, Changez tells Karim that he loves the communal life, especially the nudity. When he begins to... (full context)
Hierarchy and Class Theme Icon
...Karim realizes how derelict this neighborhood is. As Karim surveys the unhealthy people around them, Changez says what Karim is thinking: that this neighborhood makes him feel at home. (full context)
Hierarchy and Class Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
Several days later, Jamila calls Karim to tell him that Changez had been attacked by a group of National Front members who thought he was Pakistani.... (full context)
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
Karim unexpectedly finds Changez standing in front of him. Changez is congratulatory and seems happier than usual. He explains... (full context)
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
Jamila approaches Karim and Changez. Simon is with her, his face bandaged, and Jamila looks angry. Karim tries to congratulate... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 18
Hierarchy and Class Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
...punks and hippies are gone, and everyone is well dressed. He decides to go see Changez and Jamila. (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Karim steals a tablecloth from the Fish's apartment as a gift for Changez and Jamila. He picks up Indian takeout and passes Jeeta's shop in his taxi on... (full context)
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
Changez explains that Simon is away in America, and Jamila is still angry with Karim for... (full context)
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...Joanna and dances for the baby. She takes the baby and as she talks to Changez, Karim realizes their marriage has become strangely respectful. Joanna insists she recognizes Karim, and Jamila... (full context)
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Changez won't meet Karim's eyes and accuses him of making him think too much. He tells... (full context)
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
Changez talks about how he's renovating Jeeta's store and asks Jamila for a kiss. Karim hears... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
Jamila pleads with Changez to stop, but he asks how Jamila and the others in the house can talk... (full context)
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
...hears Karim behind the sofa. Karim announces himself and insists he didn't hear anything, but Changez is incensed. Jamila stops Changez from hurting Karim and early in the morning, Karim sneaks... (full context)
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
...Allie, and Allie's girlfriend out to dinner to celebrate his new job. He also invites Changez and Jamila. They go to an expensive restaurant, and Eva is thrilled to know several... (full context)