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The Theme of East-West Conflict in R. K. Narayan’s Waiting for the Mahatma

The Theme of East-West Conflict in R. K. Narayan’s

Waiting for the Mahatma

The phrase East-West Conflict stands for the conflict between religion and rationality, tradition and modernity, spirituality and materialism, superstitions and scientific outlook, tyranny and democracy. The conflict between the West and the East or between Innovation and Tradition is a perennial theme in Indo-Anglian fiction. R. K. Narayan depicts the clash of deep-rooted values of Indian culture, characterized by Hindu culture, with those of the modern West in many of his novels.

Modern world has undergone so complete a transformation under the impact of globalization that international community has become increasingly interdependent on one another. Hence the theme of East-West conflict or encounter may sound irrelevant and inconsequential in the present world. But that was not the case of India as depicted by R. K. Narayan in his fictional world of Malgudi from the nineteen thirties to seventies. Most of the novels of R. K. Narayan were written when India was under the British. Therefore the characters in the novels bear the imprint of colonized people.

Waiting for the Mahatma is an exceptional novel in the sense that the actions strayed out of Malgudi—it came as far as Delhi—and the two central characters, Sriram and Bharati were engaged in politics. Several novelists in Indo-Anglian literature as well as regional languages have exploited the magic of Gandhi’s name and presence. What makes this novel different from others is that Gandhi plays a major role from the beginning to the end. In Untouchable Mulk Raj Anand gives Gandhi a part towards the end. K. R. Srinivasa Iyengar writes that, “Gandhi is too big to be given a minor part: on the other hand, he is sure to turn the novel into a biography if he is given a major (or the central) part. The best thing for the contemporary novelist would be to keep Gandhi in the background but make his influence felt indirectly” (372).

Waiting for the Mahatma told the story of two young people of Malgudi, Sriram and Bharati. Sriram was the orphaned young man brought up without a care by his pampering grand-mother, whom he called Granny. On his twentieth birthday his Granny entrusted him a considerable amount which she had kept in her account. The money was the pension from Sriram’s father who had been killed in the War. He came into contact with Bharati and fell into love at first sight. He met her as she was making tin collection for the freedom movement. Bharati’s father had been shot dead while offering Satyagraha against the British during the first Non-cooperation Movement. She, who was just an infant then, was adopted and brought up by the Sevak Sangh, a Gandhian institute, as a foster daughter to Gandhi. The love of Sriram and Bharati went on in the background of the struggle for independence launched by Mahatma Gandhi. Bharati’s first loyalty was to the Mahatma and the marriage between Sriram and Bharati could be possible only when Gandhi gave his blessings to it. Meanwhile Sriram, a pleasure seeking man, was totally changed to a freedom fighter and a follower of Gandhi.  He was imprisoned for several years as punishment for derailing a train. Finally he is freed from the prison as India won independence. Thus finally Sriram and Bharati waited for the Mahatma at the Birla Mandir in New Delhi to obtain his final consent for their marriage. Having received the consent they attended the prayer meeting of Gandhi, where a young man shot Gandhi dead.

Gandhi was a modern man who was educated in the West. He bore values which he received from Western philosophy. The very concept of democracy was derived from the Western Philosophy. Gandhi’s weapon of Satyagraha, Non-violence and Civil-disobedience were derived from American Transcendentalists like Emerson and Thoreau. Similarly Gandhi was influenced by the French Revolution. Hence the freedom struggle of India is the effect of modern concepts of democracy. The people of India enjoyed little freedom during colonialism. They were oppressed by the colonial government as well as by local kings. Thus the novel throughout is a call for modernity—a fight against the traditional suppression. Gandhi’s revolutionary ideas and practices are contrasted with the views of the orthodox traditionalists. The freedom struggle in India under his leadership was aimed at making India a free democratic country. The noble democratic values of liberty, fraternity and equality were embodied in him. Malgudi, the setting of Narayan’s novels, was a typical South Indian town inhabited by traditional Hindu people. Naturally Gandhi’s values met with resistance in Malgudi.

Sriram’s mother died after giving birth to him. His father was killed in Mesopotamia. He had his mother’s framed photograph which for years he has been hanging on the wall for him to see. “. . . when he grew tall enough to study the dim picture, he didn’t feel pleased with her appearance; he wished she looked like that portrait of a European queen with apple cheeks and wavy coiffure hanging in the shop opposite his house, where he often went to buy pepper mints with the daily money given him by his Granny” (WM 5). Sriram’s admiration for the West is visible here. Fascination for the West has been a common feature of the people of the Orient.

As part of propagating Gandhi’s message, especially ‘Quit India’, Sriram came to the village named Solur. He halted before a shop and bought two plantains and a bottle of soda. The shop man told Sriram that he had nice biscuits and asked if he wouldn’t try it. Sriram asked him if the biscuit was English. He replied, ‘“. . . Purely English biscuits which you cannot get for miles around. In these days no one else can get them.’

‘Have you no sense of shame?’ Sriram asked.

‘Why, why, what is the matter?’ the other said, taken aback, and then said, ‘Hey, give me the money for what you took and get out of here. You are a fellow in Khadi, are you? Oh! Oh! I didn’t notice. And so you think you can do what you like, talk as you like, and behave like a rowdy.’

‘You may say anything about me, but don’t talk ill of this dress—it is—too sacred to be spoken about in that way.’” (WM 116)

Sriram has transformed from a wayward selfish modern materialist to a spokesman of traditional values, swaraj and nationality.

In Waiting for the Mahatma Narayan presented Gandhi not as a symbol but as a character, who took part in the development of the plot. In the words of Prof. Gurugopal Mukherjee, “The incidents of the novel were interwoven with such historical incidents as Gandhiji’s struggle for Indian independence, the Quit India Movement and that fatal evening of the 30th January, 1948, when the great devotee of non-violence fell a victim to the assassin’s bullets” (45). Narayan did not present Gandhi in terms of great political events, but in relations to ordinary events while retaining his historical authenticity. “He showed how ordinary people with no pretence to any idealism reacted to this great man” (Mukherjee, Gurugopal 48).

Gandhi’s modern views on democracy were in conflict with the traditional views of the characters in the novel. Satish C. Aikant writes:

Much of the narrative rests on the divergence between Gandhi’s teachings and the manner in which the people adopt these in practice. They have their own individual motives for joining Gandhi. Sriram joins the movement because he wants to remain close to Bharati in order to follow her wherever the movement may lead them. The chairman entertains Gandhi to show off his palatial house and exhibit his worldly wealth against Gandhi’s spiritual wealth. Mr. Natesh wants to wear the halo of Gandhi’s words by interpreting his speech to Tamil. (94)

Sriram’s Granny is sceptic about Gandhi’s principles. She fears Gandhi’s undesirable influence on her grandson and feels concerned that he is weaning Sriram away from her. “For her filial bonds are more urgent and important. She also ridicules Gandhi’s so-called soul-force and satyagraha and his fasts which she thinks are nothing extraordinary” (Aikant 95).

Despite the ostensible political theme of Waiting for the Mahatma, the novel centres on a personal rather than a socio-political subject. “Narayan shuns the intellectual and political debate of the times and saves his characters from getting involved in such issues: and he does not demand such involvement from his readers. He is not a politically committed novelist like Anand, nor a principled Gandhian like Rao, but “simply the novelist as a novelist”” (Aikant 97).

Waiting for the Mahatma is the most controversial novel of R. K. Narayan. Though the title proclaims that it is a novel about Gandhi it is not a “Gandhi-Novel.” Some critics argue that the readers, especially Indians are dissatisfied with the novel since they do not find the warmth and glorification of Gandhi in it. People do not find in the novel the same Gandhi who is seated in their minds like a god. Similarly Waiting for the Mahatma is not a “political novel” properly called. “As is his wont, Narayan aims at telling a straightforward story of some belonging to Malgudi, the town of his mythical imagination” (Jayantha, “Portrayal of Gandhi” 57). Narayan only wanted to focus the humane qualities of Gandhi in this novel. Jayantha writes:

What he does is to focus attention mainly on the humane qualities of Gandhi, which had enthroned him in the hearts of his countrymen, in spite of his towering far, far above them in other aspects. This device enables the novelist to avoid any detailed discussion, debate or elaboration of the politics of the day, which Gandhi guided. Thereby the chief interest of the novel and of Gandhi in it remains human rather than political, and the novelist feels free to allow his comic irony to play upon events and people, as he does in other novels. (“Portrayal of Gandhi” 58)

Waiting for the Mahatma is the most misunderstood of Narayan’s novels. Those who admire it express only a lukewarm appreciation. Many critics of the novel compare it with Raja Rao’s Kanthapura and Mulk Rah Anand’s Untouchable. But in theme, design and structure Waiting for the Mahatma is different from these novel. When Uma Parameswaran, A. N. Kaul, C. D. Narasimhaiah etc. censure the novel, William Walsh, O. P. Bhatnagar, and R. A. Jayantha praise it. William Walsh suggests that Waiting for the Mahatma is a rare piece of triumph. Narayan’s ambition in writing this novel is not to produce a great political novel. As Tripti Tiwari says, “Gandhi is seen here in relation to the life of an ordinary boy from a remote village in the deep South. The Mahatmahood of Gandhi is seen more in the tender care with which he treats the common people than the statesman-like decisions that he takes about the destiny of the nation” (84). Murthy, the hero of  Kanthapura is a typical Gandhian disciple, a kind of Mini-Mahatma. “While Murthy is an idealised version of a village lad, Sriram is portrayed realistically as a half-educated youngman, who is irresistibly drawn towards Bharati” (Tiwari 85).

The title of the novel is very apt. To quote P. S. Sundaram from his book R. K. Narayan, “Waiting for the Mahatma is not like Waiting for Godot. Sriram waits on him for permission to marry Bharati. Godse waits for his pistol in hand. A sub-continent waited in the confident hope that he will bring swaraj for its millions. He did not fail any of them” (88). It is not fair to say that Narayan has not brought out the greatness of Gandhi. In the words of Sundaram, “He certainly has not “enlarged” that awareness in the sense of painting the picture larger than life. But the picture is all the truer for the restraint and fidelity with which it has been drawn” (88).

Since Waiting for the Mahatma is a novel in which Gandhi’s presence is throughout from the beginning to the end, the spiritual element, characteristic of Gandhi, is found in conflict with the material element in several parts of the novel. Materialism is an offshoot of the West which conquered the minds of the East as well. Though Gandhi studied in the West he was not at all influenced by the western values which devour the noble Indian values. Spirituality is a hall mark of India and Gandhi preached the people to keep spirituality in their words and actions. The following are the episodes in the novel where spirituality is confronted with materialism:

In order to receive Gandhi in his house Mr. Natesh, the Municipal Chairman made many arrangements. He was a materialist having a very large house with rich furnishings. The text says:

He had effected a few alterations in his house, such as substituting Khaddar hanging for the gaudy chintz that has adorned his doorways and windows, and had taken down the pictures of hunting gentry, vague gods and kings. . . . He had also discreetly managed to get a picture of Krishna discoursing to Arjuna on Bhagavad-Gita, knowing well Gandhi’s bias towards Bhagavad-Gita. He had kept on the window-sill and in a few other places a few specimens of charka (spinning wheels). . . . Now he hoped as he approached the main building that his wife and son would emerge in their proper make-up to meet Gandhi: he hoped his wife would have had the good sense to take away the diamond studs not only in her ears but also in their son’s. (WM 44-45)

Mr. Natesh’s hypocrisy as well as clash between materialism and spirituality in his mind is visible in the above narration.

Mahatma was received by the Municipal Chairman in his luxurious house. Though oranges were offered to him he did not eat or drink its juice. Instead Gandhi called the children to his side and gave them all oranges. The Chairman though unhappy had to obey Gandhi and brought more and more oranges to the children. The children dirtied his beautiful diwan where Gandhi was sitting. After eating oranges the children were still sitting there. The Chairman hoped if the children had disbursed. Then Gandhi beckoned a boy who was standing aloof from the rest. The text says:

His face was covered with mud, his feet were dirty; he had stuck his fingers into his mouth and was watching the proceedings on the veranda keenly, his eyes bulging with wonder and desire . . . Mahatmaji beckoned to the young fellow. One of his men went and fetched him. The Chairman’s blood boiled. Of course people must like poor people and so on, but why bring in such a dirty boy, an untouchable, up the steps and make him so important? (WM 48)

The Chairman’s conflict of values is pictured here. He is very selfish and he wants only popularity and praise from the people. He honours Gandhi with a selfish motive of becoming a friend of the great man. He has none of the Gandhian values. His materialism can in no manner go along with Gandhi’s spirituality. The Chairman is an orthodox Brahmin who can never tolerate an untouchable boy sitting on his diwan.

The Municipal Chairman wished Gandhi to stay overnight in his palatial house. But Gandhi preferred to stay in one of the sweeper’s huts in the slum. Gandhi was about to leave the Chairman’s house and he told him, “You will come along with me too. Let me invite you to come and stay with me in a hut.’ Unable to say anything more, the Chairman replied, ‘All right, sir, I obey’” (WM 51). The mental conflict the Chairman experienced could be read from his words. It is hellish for him to stay in a sweeper’s house. His materialistic thoughts had to yield before Gandhi’s spirituality.

Mahatma along with Sriram, Bharati and the followers were visiting the villages which were affected by famine. He refused accommodation arranged by the officials. They wanted to make arrangements for him. His reply was, ‘“For me? Don’t trouble yourself. I can sleep in any hut. I can live where others are living. I don’t think I shall demand any luxuries. . . . I’m not a guest here; I am a host. Why don’t you join us as our guest?’ He said this to the District Collector. ‘We will promise to look after you, giving you all the comforts that you want’” (WM 90). The humility and spirituality of Gandhi is expressed in these words. His invitation to the District Collector to be his guest must have put him into conflicts between materialistic comforts and simplicity.

Gandhi toured the villages mostly on foot. He halted wherever he liked. He stationed himself at the lowliest hut in the village if it was available, or in a temple corridor, or in the open air. For hours he walked silently, holding his staff and supporting his arm on one or other of his disciples. Often he stopped on the way to speak to a peasant cutting a tree or digging a field (WM 90).

Gandhi was about to leave Sriram and Bharati. He got into the train to leave Malgudi and go northwards. Both Sriram and Bharati were found overwhelmed with emotions. To quote from the text:

For the first time during all these weeks Sriram felt depressed and unhappy. The thought of having to live a mundane existence without Mahatmaji appalled him, not even the proximity of Bharati seemed to mitigate his misery. As the sound of the approaching train was heard he looked so stunned that Mahatmaji said: ‘Be happy. Bharati will look after you.’ Sriram looked at Bharati hopefully. Mahatmaji added: ‘Remember that she is your Guru, and think of her with reverence and respect, and you will be all right and she will be all right.’ Sriram took time to digest this sentence. (WM 93)

The above passage points out the transformation that took place in Sriram by the influence of Gandhi. The amorous, flamboyant and materialistic Sriram had changed into a spiritual man. He could conquer his weakness of sensuousness. Gandhi did not forget to comfort him and advise him. He reminded him that Bharati should be treated only as his Guru and never looked through a lover’s eye.

Sriram learned to spin and in exchange of the yarn he got warm cloth of the same count. Thus he got his Khadi clothes, a simple dhoti and a jibba stitched by the village tailor. He took off his mill manufactured clothes and heaped them in the middle of the street, poured half a bottle of kerosene over the lot, and applied a match. “Sriram explained to the gathering, fascinated by the leaping flames: ‘I will never again wear clothes spun by the machinery.’ The Dhoti and jibba were heavy, it was as if a piece of lead were interwoven with the texture. But he felt it was something to be proud of. He felt he had seen and reached a new plane of existence” (WM 99). Sriram’s words and actions show that he has totally transformed in to a disciple of Gandhi, a transformation from materialism to spirituality.

Sriram, as part of spreading the ‘Quit India’ message got into Mathieson Estates and talked to the English man about the need of the British to quit India. Mathieson asked Sriram what Mahatmaji had advised him to do. Sriram replied, ‘“We will spin the charka, wear Khadi, live without luxury, and we shall have India ruled by Indians”’ (WM 113). The message of Charka—the simple, spiritual way of life is spoken out through Sriram’s words.

Mathieson offered Sriram a glass of juice. It looked so tempting that he couldn’t but accept it. “Sriram could merely mumble. ‘Thanks,’ and drained his glass. The passage of the juice down his throat was so pleasant that he felt he could not interrupt it under any circumstance. He shut his eyes in ecstasy. For a moment he forgot politics, Bharati, strife, and even Mahatmaji. Just for a second the bliss lasted. He put down his glass and sighed” (WM 113-114). The passage shows how Sriram was tempted. In the conflict between spirituality and materialism he fell a victim to materialism though only for a few minutes.

In the conversation between Sriram and Mathieson, Sriram asked him whether he would not quit India. Mathieson replied that he would not leave the country as he was part of it. He pointed out that he had employed five thousand field labourers and two hundred factory and office workers and so he was of use to the country. Sriram replied, ‘“You are doing it for your own profit. You think we can only be your servants and nothing else,’ said Sriram, not being able to think of anything better . . .”’ (WM 114). Mathieson and his British government is not doing any service to the Indian people, but rather exploiting them and accumulating material prosperity for England. Hence ‘Quit India’ is a message of fight against materialism. The freedom struggle itself is a spiritual struggle, a struggle for existence.

In Waiting for the Mahatma the theme is apparently the spiritual love between Bharati and Sriram which gains new dimension in the background of their allegiance to the Mahatma. To quote Iyengar:

Since the stress is not merely on Gandhi’s influence but on Gandhi himself—we see him in Malgudi stationed in Nellappa’s grove and we see him, years later, in Delhi on his way to prayer on the fatal day, 30 January 1948—the novel develops a duality of interest which is not wholly resolved by the compulsion of art. Waiting for the Mahatma is an ambitious effort, and an impressive feat; but one also feels that Narayan’s art—now denied the security of Malgudi and catapulted into Gandhian or terrorist political action—betrays unsureness and perplexity . . . It is Bharati who makes a patriot and a man of Sriram, and in marriage he is certain to find in her the saviour strength that is woman’s sakti. (373)

The materialist Sriram was converted into a spiritualist and patriot by the effort of Bharati and Gandhi.

Sriram was attracted by white complexion. As a little boy he liked very much the portrait of the unknown English lady better than his own natural mother. “This is typical of many young people who were (perhaps even now are) more in love with the glamour of the West than with the culture of their own poverty-stricken mother-country” (Patil 87).

Gandhi explained to the people how non-violence could be practiced in daily life. He told the people that when someone had wronged them or had done something which appeared to them to be evil, just pray for the destruction of the evil. He asked the people to develop love and not bitterness. Only then they can tell the British to leave the country to be managed or mismanaged by the Indian people, which is purely their own business.

Sriram left his Granny at Kabir Road at night leaving behind his household things and went to become a non-violent soldier of Gandhi. His aim was to remain with Bharati. “Gandhiji welcomed Sriram and told him: ‘“Before you aspire to drive the British from this country you must drive every vestige of violence from your system. . . . You must train yourself to become a hundred percent ‘ahimsa’ soldier’” (qtd. in Mukherjee, Gurugopal 49). Gandhi could easily read what type of a man Sriram was. So he advised him to leave his materialistic life and accept a spiritual life.

In August 1942, Gandhi in his famous speech said that Britain must quit India. He was arrested because of this exhortation. But his message “Quit India” spread like wild fire throughout the country. It had a tremendous momentum. Bharati went to jail but Sriram did not go. He dreaded the hardships and loss of comfort in the prison. Material pleasures and comforts of life were still dormant in him even though became a Gandhi disciple.

Sriram became a violent soldier of freedom. He became a slave of Jagdish who was a follower of Subash Chandra Bose. Jagdish turned the Mempi temple into a fortress. “Sriram did many destructive works on the request of Jagdish. Soon he understood that by destroying things none could oust the British from India. He felt that Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent weapon was superior to the violent weapon. He was arrested under the Defence of India rule” (Mukherjee, Gurugopal 50).

Gandhi’s spiritualism and noble ideas of democracy could not easily enter into the minds of the materialist VIPs of the town. To quote Aikant:

When Gandhi enters the scene there is a sudden hush, as all the babbling voices subside. His presence triggers feigned deference on the part of the notables of the town, but their conversation reveals their indifference to the distinguished visitor. A comment made by Mr. Natesh, the municipal chairman, shows how opportunistic he is: some people conveniently adopt patriotism when Mahatmaji arrives (p, 26). . . . He emerges as a product of what Gauri Viswanathan has seen as the policy of the British administration to draw the Indians into its own hegemonic structure.” (94)

This indifference was found among the masses also when Gandhi addressed them. When the Mahatma urged the crowd to join him in chanting “Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram,” the familiar hymn to the glory of the Lord Ram, there was a bemused reaction to it and it was only after much insistence that the crowd repeated the refrain with hesitant attempts. “Thus the reaction of the audience problematizes the very myth of the charisma of the Mahatma and his appeal to the popular imagination. Of course, it also underscores the shifting allegiances of the people and the fact that they cannot always be taken for granted” (Aikant 94).

Gandhi preached truth and non-violence. He was the epitome of love. He loved Harijans and wanted to uplift them. So he stayed in their house. He was very courteous to the municipal sweepers, railway guards and the engine driver. His greatness lay in his intimate concern for every man, woman and child as an individual. To quote P. S. Sundaram from his book R. K. Narayan as a Novelist: “Individual happiness or misery weighed as much with him as natural needs, so there were occasions where he was human enough not to stand too rigidly on principle. Incident is thus made to throw light on character, and history and invention are so twined as to seem a single thread” (71).

Sriram needed a prolonged training in understanding and realizing the meaning of love and the wider implications of non-violence in this and the context of freedom. Bharati made him aware of the feminine beauty and Gandhi truth. To quote Bhatnagar:

Beauty had enamoured him and truth had astounded him. He could not grasp what Gandhi was saying, but he looked rapt, he tried to try and follow something, the first time that he found himself at a disadvantage. When he tried to meet Gandhi in the camp he had to undergo a trial of not only waiting but hunger, patience and order and receiving a warning from Bharati—“Don’t imagine that because it is Mahatmaji’s camp it is without any discipline. He himself felt that “If one were to live in this camp one had to follow orders that emanated from the great soul.” (63)

The apprenticeship under Gandhi had brought about a new awareness in Sriram both towards himself and his countrymen. He was full of desire to do something for the country. It was only under such moments of extreme boredom due to loss of faith in action that his thoughts turned towards Bharati and her presence made him pounce upon her in all his passion and possess her.

In pursuance of Gandhi’s wishes, while Bharati courted arrest, Sriram kept himself out of it and fell a prey to the machinations of a revolutionary terrorist Jagdish. Temporarily he found satisfaction in his job of setting fire to the records in half a dozen law courts, derailing a couple of trains, paralyzing the work in various schools and exploding a crude bomb. “But he enjoys these bouts only as “a relief in his lonely drab life, isolated from all human association. His revolutionary activities give him a feeling of romantic importance and an image of a character out of an epic” but he feels a loss of direction and “a certain recklessness” about himself. The freedom that he abrogates for himself in disorder as destruction proves him false” (Bhatnagar 65).

Bharati has no existence without Gandhi. She has no independent character of her own. She only symbolises Gandhi model of love, non-violence and freedom. Sriram comes into contact with Gandhi through Bharati. The nearer he goes to Bharati the more he learns about Gandhi. “In no other novel on Gandhi has Narayan’s ideology been so well integrated with the personal. The fictional technique adopted by Narayan in concretizing the image of Gandhi and validity of his ideals both at the personal and national level against the background of Sriram’s love for Bharati is unique and effectively engaging.” (Bhatnagar 67-68).

Waiting for the Mahatma is the study of a Gandhian disciple’s struggle to accommodate Gandhian principles in his life. The novel presents a study of the bewilderments, the uncertainties, the struggles and the human failures of the disciple who only imperfectly understand his master, and whose attempts to follow the latter’s teaching involve a battle not only against external circumstances but also against deeply ingrained unsaintly aspects of his own imperfect nature. “What the novel dramatizes, then is Narayan’s continuing concern with the idea of spiritual perfection and the difficulty of its attainment by “average” humanity” (Driesen 363).

Sriram’s name recalls that of the great hero of the Indian epic the Ramayana. “While there is some irony here, considering the nature of this particular hero, the detail is significant. The novel could be read as a kind of parable with Sriram as a figure representative of the Indian nation, attracted to the Gandhian teachings but lacking the moral fibre necessary for faithful continued adherence to them” (Driesen 366-367).

Waiting for the Mahatmais a story of progress and growth of the hero Sriram. From a materialist he has grown to a patriot and man of values. “At one level, therefore, Waiting for the Mahatma is a story of progress of young, irresponsible, carefree Sriram into a passionate lover, a responsible citizen of the country with a record of considerable sacrifice and a term in jail to make him a complete patriot” (Tiwari 86).

Works Cited

Aikant, Satish C. “Colonial Ambivalence in R. K. Narayan’s Waiting for the Mahatma.” The Journal of Commonwealth Literature 42.2 (2007): 89-100. Print.

Bhatnagar, O. P. “Love, Non-violence and Freedom in Waiting for the Mahatma.” The Literary Endeavour 3.3-4 (Jan-Jun 1982): 61-69. Print.

Driesen, Cynthia Vanden. “R. K. Narayan’s Neglected Novel: Waiting for the Mahatma.” World Literature Written in English 26.2 (Aut 1986): 362-369. Print.

Iyengar, K. R. Srinivasa. Indian Writing in English. New Delhi: Sterling Publishers Private Limited, 2001. Print.

Jayanta, R. A.  “Portrayal of Gandhi in Waiting for the Mahatma.” Triveni 51.2 (Jul-Sep 1982): 56-63. Print.

Mukherjee, Gurugopal. “R. K. Narayan’s Mahatma Gandhi in Waiting for the Mahatma.” Cyber Literature 15-16.1-2 (Jan-Dec 2005): 44-52. Print.

Narayan, R. K.  Waiting for the Mahatma. Chennai: Indian Thought Publications, Reprint 2007. Print.

Patil, V. T. and H. V. Patil. Gandhism and Indian English Fiction: (The Sword and the Sickle, Kanthapura and Waiting for the Mahatma). Delhi: Devika Publications, 1997. Print.

Sundaram, P. S. “Waiting for the Mahatma.” R. K. Narayan. By P. S. Sundaram. New Delhi: Arnold-Heinemann, 1973. 83-89. Print.

Tiwary, Tripti. “R. K. Narayan’s Waiting for the Mahatma: A Reappraisal.” Indian Scholar 3.2 (Jul 1981): 79-87. Print.