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Kanthapura is framed as a flashback to a village legend told by a village oral storyteller, Achakka, of an earlier time. In the legend, a young man of the high Brahmin caste is inspired by the actions and words of Gandhi and returns to his village to lead them to fight for equality and the Indian National Congress. The British army comes to quell the insurgence of resistance in the village and most of the men are imprisoned or killed. The deep part of the legend occurs when the women of the village take over and fight against the British themselves. Celebration occurs not long afterward when word of impending Indian independence reaches what is left of the village, which the women burned rather than to return to the old ways.
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