Jimmie Thomas: Character Analysis in The Novel Coolie

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      Jimmie Thomas, nicknamed Chimta Sahib is one of the wicked characters in the novel. He is an Englishman, the foreman in Sir George Whites Cotton Mills in Bombay and exploiter of the poor coolies first and last. He is revengeful, greedy, cool and calculated villain.

      Jimmie Thomas, is a thoroughly repulsive character. The novelist says that he is a massive man with a scarlet bull dog face and a small waxed moustache, his huge body dressed in a greasy white shirt, greasy white trousers and a greasy white Polo topee. He refers to Hari Har, the coolie of his factory as a ‘stupid bullock’ and he always maltreats the workers and treats them roughly as if they were animals. He always kicks, beats and abuses them. He is also so greedy that he charges every worker in the Mill a price for giving a job—a price which increases if there are more workers available against the vacancies to fill. He also runs the business of money-lending and the interest he charges is one fourth of that. In addition he also lets out dilapidated huts to the workers with little facilities and charges high rent. Hari Har suffers greatly from his terms and conditions.

      Jimmie Thomas has unlimited power and authority as a foreman of the factory. He is the virtual master of the factory. He is an agent of the employer who engages workmen, he is the god, for the workers, on whose bounty the workmen depend for the security of their jobs. Hari Har addresses him, his kind ‘father and mother’. He had a lot of work enlisted with him. He works as a supervisor and he is also the chief mechanic who helps to keep the machines in running order. He is hungry for money and gifts. When Hari comes to him for re-employment, his first words are, “What have you brought as a gift from your village for the Mem Sahib that I should be kind to you? “You have never given me or the Mem Sahib a basket of fruit on the Christmas Day”. He also takes provisions of eggs, butter and cocks from the Sardar because he has stalled a provision stores near the factory; and does not pay him for these items.

      Thomas is a very hard task master and would not let the workers chat or relax for a moment in the factory. He also deducts the workers wages as a penalty for damaged cloth. Ratan is the single coolie who confronts him and he soon pays the penalty for his independence of mind by being dismissed from the job.

      Thomas has no love and sympathy for the poor people. He is only concentrated to exploit the people working under him since he symbolises the colonial exploitation of Indians.

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