In The Glass Palace, to what extent does Saya John influence the rise of Rajkumar?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Through his role as a mentor, Saya John influences the rise of Rajkumar.

Saya John possesses a clear insight into the teak business of Burma. Rajkumar ends up learning these lessons, resulting in economic success in the timber industry.  This is only possible because of Saya John.  His mentor "shows him the ropes" of the inner workings of the business.  Through this nuanced approach, Rajkumar is able to establish his own economic voice.  

One specific example of how Saya John influences the rise of Rajkumar is through the development of new revenue streams.  At one point, Rajkumar uses what Saya John taught him to procure a contract to acquire a railway company.  When Saya John asks him how he will get the money, Rajkumar demonstrates the wide influence that Saya John has had upon him: "'Why, Saya,' Rajkumar smiled, a little sheepishly, 'from you, of course.  Why would I offer such an opportunity to anyone else?'"  It is clear that Saya John has influenced the rise of Rajkumar through teaching him how to seek out business opportunities that others might not envision.  It is for this reason that Saya John introduces Rajkumar to rubber after teaching him the timber business.

Upon realizing that Rajukumar's instincts were right about securing the contract,  Saya John says, "I really never thought you would get this far."  It shows the extent to which Saya John has influenced the rise of Rajkumar. Rajkumar combines Saya John's teachings with his natural risk-taking ability to generate wealth. 

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