52 pages 1 hour read

Supriya Kelkar


Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2017

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Character Analysis

Anjali Joshi

The novel’s protagonist, Anjali Joshi is 10 years old and is a member of the Brahmin caste. During the story, Anjali comes to recognize the complications of the world in which she lives. Because she initially tries to separate the world and the actions of its people into categories of right and wrong, Anjali struggles when contradictions arise, such as when she realizes that Gandhi calls “Untouchables” “Harijan” even though Mohan prefers “Dalits,” or when she sees members of the freedom fight engaging in violence. Part of her maturing requires that she understand that sometimes one must align oneself with a particular person even if one doesn’t always agree, as in the case of Gandhi and Keshavji.

However, Anjali’s straightforwardness also makes her a fierce advocate for the Dalits and for ahimsa. She’s usually the first to correct people who say something derogatory toward Dalits. For example, when Masterji holds class under the tree with both Dalits and non-Dalits and the vegetable vendor complains, Anjali says, “The riots scared away your business […] Now if you don’t mind, we’re trying to hold class here” (268). This is something an adult would typically say, but Anjali cares little about politeness or the relationship between children and their elders when it comes to justice.