Ayush Antiwal

Ayush Antiwal

Summary of Kanthapura By Raja Rao

Kanthapura is a novel authored by famous Indian-American writer, Raja Rao and it was originally published in 1938. The story of the book is set in a village, Kanthapura. The book talks about a theme of nationalism.

Kanthapura By Raja Rao
Summary of Kanthapura By Raja Rao


Summary of Kanthapura By Raja Rao

Raja Rao’s Kanthapura revolves around a village called Kanthapura,a small village of India where different types of people live like lower caste people and upper caste people.

Synopsis of Kanthapura

The story of novel begins with the narrator, Achakka, an old brahmin woman who tells us that Kanthapura was a dehati village. Kanthapura was divided into two kinds of people, Upper caste and lower caste. An upper caste brahmin used to live in a good place of village whereas lower caste weren’t allowed to live with brahmin. The people from lower castes were given a very bad area of the village by upper caste brahmin. Kanthapura people had great belief in their religion, they used to follow old rituals. 

The people of Kanthapura have a belief that a god named Kenchamma is protecting their village from all kinds of demons and danger. There comes a new character, Moorthy, a brahmin man whose mindset is different from all the brahmins of his village. Moorthy wants brotherhood amongst all the people of the village whether they are from lower caste or upper caste. He wants everyone to be united with Mahatma Gandhi to throw out Britishers from India. 

One day, Moorthy gets a half buried Shivling; he established that Shivling in his village, Kanthapura. Afterwards, people of Kanthapura built a temple around Moorthy’s Shivling which became a central point of the village. All the festivals and rituals of the village are celebrated in the same Shivling’s temple. 

As Kanthapura is a dehati village with decent people, Moorthy goes outside of his village to learn more about Mahatma Gandhi. He starts reading about Gandhiji to understand his ideology. He reads literature books and pamphlets about Mahatma Gandhi.

After reading about Gandhiji, Moorthy understands that a discrimination among people based on their caste is an injustice because everyone has equal rights and freedom to live. He returns to his village after taking some inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi.

Thereafter, Moorthy tries to teach his villagers that discrimination amongst people based on their caste is injustice and crime. On the other side, Kanthapura villagers are dehati who don’t want to change themselves no matter what happens. 

As villagers saw Moorthy, even being a Brahmin but still fighting against untouchability for lower caste people, they all went against him. They all go to the village’s pandit, Swamiji, and tell him that Moorthy is fighting for lower caste people. As soon as Swamiji learns about Moorthy, he expels him from their religion. When Moorthy’s mother, Narsamma learns about Moorthy being expelled from their religion, she loses her life in shock. She could not tolerate that her son being a brahmin is fighting for lower caste people’s rights. 

There comes a new character, Bade Khan, a muslim police inspector who comes to Kanthapura village. On the other hand, Kanthapura’s people are very fanatic about their religion, they cannot tolerate muslim in their village. They do not allow Bade Khan to live in their village.

As Moorthy’s mother is no more, he ends up marrying a widow woman named Rangamma. Rangamma is characterised as a well educated widow woman who is fighting for freedom just like Moorthy.

One day, Moorthy gets an invitation from a Brahmin Clerk at Skeffington coffee estate. The Brahmin clerk wants Moorthy to teach their coolie about Mahatma Gandhi and motivate them to fight against Britishers. When Moorthy was going to meet a coolie of Skeffington coffee estate, Bade Khan stopped him.

Bade Khan works for Britishers, it is his responsibility to stop people from speaking against Britishers. As Moorthy didn’t obey Bade Khan’s order, he started beating him ruthlessly. When Skeffinton’s coolie saw Moorthy was beaten by Bade Khan, they all came together and beat Bade Khan. But Moorthy feels very sorry about this violence as he follows Mahatma Gandhi and doesn’t want any type of violence from his villagers.

He just wants Bade Khan to fight with him against Britishers. When Britishers get to know how villagers have beaten their officer, Bade Khan, they get furious and throw out all the villagers who were involved in the fight with Bade Khan. 

Moorthy takes responsibility for Coolie’s fight with Bade Khan, he keeps a 3 day fast. Moorthy is following Mahatma Gandhi’s footsteps, he also opened a Congress Committee unit in his village. Lots of people from Kanthapura’s village joined the Congress Committee with Moorthy to fight against Britishers. Moorthy eventually became the leader of Kanthapura. The characters named Gowada, Rangamma, Rachanna and Seenu became an officer of Congress Committee. Moorthy is becoming very famous in his village Kanthapura. 

As soon as Britishers learned about Moorthy’s plan, like how he is motivating people to fight against them, Britishers arrested him and sentenced him to prison for 3 months. Afterwards, Moorthy’s wife, Rangamma became a new leader of the Congress Committee. Rangamma started motivating Kanthapura’s people by telling them a story about Laxmi Bai and Sarojni Naidu. 

Laxmi Bai and Sarojni were women but they fighted like great warriors, we should be like them. After 3 months, Moorthy was released from prison and became very famous in his town. He was getting more and more popular day after day.

At the end of the story, Britishers started committing crimes on Kanthapura’s people. Like killing, beating women and children for no reason. Kanthapura’s people were facing daily crimes from Britishers. The novel shows a Glimpse of how our ancestors have fought against Britishers for the freedom of India. 

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