Karma by Khushwant Singh
About the Author
Known as a brilliant and straightforward writer, Khushwant Singh (1915–2014) was a man of letters, a lawyer, and a journalist by profession, and a novelist, a playwright, and a short-story writer during the 20th century. The Indian Foreign Service stationed him in various locations, including Toronto, Canada; England; UNESCO; and Paris. The Indian government published two magazines in which he worked as an editor: the Yojana and the Illustrated Weekly of India. He was a member of the Rajya Sabha from 1980 to 1986, and he was awarded the Padmabhushan in 1974 and the Padmavibhushan in 2007. In 2007, he was awarded the Padmavibhushan. During the course of his autobiography, Truth, Love, and Little Malice (2002), the author chronicles his rise from being a common man to becoming a well-known author of several books. His writing style is fluid and witty, and he uses a lot of metaphors. As a true secular Indian, he is highly regarded.
Summary of the Story
Originally published in 1989, the storey Karma serves as an example of the adage “pride comes before a fall.” The central theme of the storey is the imitation of the Western way of life and the tragic consequences that result from this imitation. Written in a lighthearted tone, the storey is told from the perspective of an omniscient narrator. As for the storyline, it goes like this: He is in his mid-forties and works for the British regime as a clerical assistant. With the goal of passing for an Englishman, he tries to keep his Indian identity a secret. Dressing in the manner of a high-ranking British official, he attempts to imitate the taste of the English. Completing crossword puzzles from newspapers allows him to portray himself as a learned individual. A Scotch cigar and Scotch whisky are among the things he tries to drink.
First-class travel is reserved for Mohan, whereas zanana is reserved for Lachmi and other passengers. Typical of a traditional Indian woman, Lachmi is submissive and takes pleasure in her husband’s adoration for her. Only because of her compromising nature can the couple continue to be together. In spite of her enslavement, Lachmi is obedient and worships her husband, and she never expresses any dissatisfaction with him. As if to highlight the irony of the situation, Lachmi is completely unaware of her subordinate position and lavishes praise on her sophisticated husband, who is both a “vizier” and “a barrister.” The British soldiers are unimpressed with Mohanlal’s attempts to pass as an Englishman, and he is thrown away on the platform of a train station on charges of illegally travelling in first-class without permission. What follows is a storey that every Indian should be proud of, and it is told by Sir Mohan Lal himself.