R. K. Narayan

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Malgudi can be a place located anywhere in the world, yet it is unmistakably Indian. Discuss Swami and Friends in light of the given statement

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There are many elements about life in Malgudi that make it distinctly Indian.  The exposition to Swami and Friends takes place in a school setting that is unmistakably Indian.  When Swaminathan raises questions as to the narrative of Christ, because "as a brahmin boy it was inconceivable to him that a God should be a non-vegetarian," one sees the setting as one that is undeniably Indian.  Malgudi might be anyplace in the world, but it is Indian because the people in it are Indian.  The Brahmin boy raising questions regarding the Jesus narrative is an "Indian" tendency.  If Swami had been in any other place in the world such as England or the Netherlands, he would have automatically internalized his questions and not dared say them outside because he would be a "stranger" in another person's land.  Swami is Indian and where he is situated, in Malgudi, has to be undeniably Indian because of the manner in which he speaks regarding a religion that is accepted all over the world, but viewed with questions in India.

When Swami's father writes a letter protesting what is happening in the religious class, one sees how Malgudi is situated in India.  Swami's father writes about how Malgudi has many different parochial schools, something that is dominant in India of the time period and even seen in India today:

The one conclusion that I can come to is that you do not want non- Christian boys in your school. If it is so, you may kindly inform us as we are quite willing to withdraw our boys and send them elsewhere. I may remind you that Albert Mission School is not the only school that this town, Malgudi, possesses.

Malgudi "possesses" many schools, something reflective of an Indian city.  The presence of "non- Christian boys" also helps to indicate an Indian setting, a condition in which Brahmins and non- Christians sent their children to Christian schools for a stronger education.  This narrative is something that is intrinsic to pre- Independence India.

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