Characters

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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 316

The novel, The Home and the World, by Rabindranath Tagore, was published in 1916 and is a metaphor for the Indian caste system in the early twentieth century.

The three significant characters are Nikhil, his wife Bimala, and Sandip.

Nikhil comes from a family which has both wealth and...

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The novel, The Home and the World, by Rabindranath Tagore, was published in 1916 and is a metaphor for the Indian caste system in the early twentieth century.

The three significant characters are Nikhil, his wife Bimala, and Sandip.

Nikhil comes from a family which has both wealth and tradition. Because of his social status, he could have married a woman that has both beauty and standing. However, unlike his family, Nikhil is a man without vanity and he falls in love, and marries, Bimala who is described as having neither wealth nor beauty. When he encourages Bimala to have a life outside of the palace she joins the Swadeshi movement and meets Sandip. While Nikhil sees the relationship between Bimala and Sandip develop he doesn’t do anything to prevent it. When he realizes that Bimala has stolen from him, he forgives her. When a Swadeshi riot erupts Sandip disappears while Nikhil tries to calm things down.

Bimala, Nikhil’s wife, is a quiet woman who loves her husband very much. She is happy with the traditional life she leads. However, Nikhil feels that she needs to embrace the outer world and encourages her to join the Swadeshi movement. When she attends a rally she meets and becomes infatuated with Sandip who she invites to live with them. Sandip gets her to steal from her husband. But, when Nikhil forgives her for what she has done, she realizes that it is her husband, not Sandip, who truly loves her.

Sandip is a member of the Swadeshi movement and moves into Nikhil and Bamala’s home and makes it his headquarters. He and Bamala are attracted to one another but Sandip is a selfish man who gets her to steal from her husband. Bamala becomes a fervent follower of the Swadeshi movement due to her attraction to Sandip. However, when a Swadeshi riot breaks out, Sandip flees.

Characters

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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 242

The Home and the World by Rabindranath Tagore is a novel that was published in 1916 in which the characters struggle with embracing or denying Western culture.

Nikhil comes from a wealthy family of Kulin aristocrats. However, Nikhil differs from his family in his kindness and in his marriage to a poor, unattractive woman. He is at odds with his society. The police suspect him of being a radical, but he is also criticized by revolutionaries for not partaking in Swadeshi, the Indian independence movement.

Bimala is Nikhil's wife. She is described as a humble and unattractive but devoted wife. At the beginning of Tagore's novel, she seems satisfied conforming to the traditional role of an Indian woman. However, these feelings change as she becomes involved with the Swadeshi movement.

Sandip is a guest in Nikhil and Bimala's home whose radical ideology convinces Bimala to join the movement. He is a skilled speaker and often rants about his opinion of imperialism. His influence on Bimala leads to a love triangle.

Bara Rani is Nikhil's sister who manipulates Nikhil into buying things for her. She is also rude to Bimala and taunts her due to her relationship with Sandip.

Bimala met Amulya through the Swadeshi movement and considers him to be her adoptive son. He plans many ways in which to raise money for the cause, but his passion gets the better of him: he robs a store, murdering the cashier in the process.

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