31 pages 1 hour read

Rabindranath Tagore


Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1892

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Character Analysis

Rahmun, The Cabuliwallah

Rahmun, the Cabuliwallah, is the central character in Tagore's short story. He is a dynamic protagonist whose presence and development are vital to the narrative. Rahmun's role in the story is multilayered. On the surface, he is a merchant from Kabul who sells dry fruits and other items, but beneath this exterior lies a complex individual who serves as a bridge between two distinct cultures: Afghanistan and India.

Rahmun's weathered robe, unkempt appearance, and the dry fruits he carries are symbolic of his Afghan identity and the struggles he faces as a nomadic peddler in India. These physical attributes set him apart from the local Indian population and symbolize the existing cultural difference. Rahmun's longing for his daughter in Afghanistan is shown towards the end of the story. This deep, heartfelt yearning adds emotional depth to his character and underscores the theme of A Father’s Love that runs through the narrative.

Rahmun’s interactions with Mini and the warmth he displays in their relationship reveal his capacity and desire for connection and friendship. The way Mini addresses him–"O Cabuliwallah! Cabuliwallah! what have you got in your bag?" (7)–and his humorous response–"[a]n elephant" (7)–reflects the warmth he feels towards the little girl, who for him is a stand-in for the daughter he has left at home.