Daya Ram: Character Analysis in The Novel Coolie

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      Daya Ram, the uncle of Munoo appears in the second chapter of the novel taking Munoo along with him to Sham Nagar to engage the boy as a servant in Babu Nathoo Ram’s house. He was in urgent need of a servant. Daya Ram is the chaprasi of the Imperial Bank of India. He plays a major role in the life of Munoo. Munoo was ignorant of the fact that his life in the city would bring suffering all the while. Perhaps Daya Ram also did not know the tragedy which his nephew would meet in city. Though Daya Ram did the right kind of work on his part, he engaged the boy on a salary of Rs. 5 a month to the house of Babu Nathoo Ram. He brought this boy at the instigation of his wife, Gujri, who told him to go to the city for earning money. They regarded him as a burden and so made his life hell. He wanted to pass all his examinations, but he could not do it, and he was forced to go to the city as a child. It is really a great injustice on the part of his uncle.

      Daya Ram did not show any trace of love for his innocent nephew when he was taking the boy with him to the city. He did not allow Munoo to even take a little rest. He is tired. His feet are blistered after an exhausting journey of ten miles and onwards. He even does not permit him to have a ride in the cart thinking the driver would ask for money This shows that he was a very close-fisted person; He forgets that he was brought up by Munoo’s parents.

      Daya Ram, the chaprasi in the Imperial Bank of India, Sham Nagar considers himself to be superior since he is occupied the service of Angrezi Sarkar. His feeling of superiority shows when he says, ‘Come quickly or I will be late at the office!’ The writer is of the view that he said this not so much from the fear of being late as to impress his nephew and the rustic passers by with the importance of the position. He is very proud and arrogant before his equals. He brings and also flatters his superiors like Babu Nathoo Ram.

      Daya Ram has no sympathy for the boy. One day he beat him most mercilessly when he complained that he was slapped and abused most callously by Bibiji. Daya Ram said, ‘You liar, you complainer! you swine! you complain all the time’. Daya Ram beat him so mercilessly that his eyes were blood-shot, his skin taut. He even does not give him some money to take food although the boy is very hungry and he could not eat at Babu’s house. He refused to give him any cloth or shoe and showed his utmost cruelty and said ‘I have neither sympathy nor food for you’. He picked up the boy and threw him out. Daya Ram showed his all anguish when he came to know that the boy had ruined the Babu’s prestige before the Sahib, and even his reputation had been damaged. Daya Ram did not forgive his faults or console him in his grief. Instead he wanted to kill him. “He had been hardened into cruelty by his love of money by the fear of poverty and by the sense of inferiority that his job as a peon in the bank gave him.” It was only due to the greed for money that he brought the innocent boy from his idyllic background and put him to the drudgery of domestic work under the callous wife of Nathoo Ram. Had he given sympathy and kindness to him he would not have run away from Sham Nagar. When Munoo slipped away from Babu’s house Daya Ram chapter comes to end.

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