It was originally published in in Singh's The Collected Stories. Karma is about an Indian " Gentleman " who tries to adopt upper class English culture and lifestyle such as speaking the " Queen's English ", and about his relation with his wife etc. It is the story of an arrogant person who feels bad about his country's culture, lifestyle etc. He is condescending to his wife because she is an ordinary woman unable to appreciate his aristocratic English culture.
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Karma is about an Indian "Gentleman" who tries to adopt upper class English culture and lifestyle such as speaking the "Queen's English", and about his relation with his wife etc. His characterization is done both directly by the narrator, his wife and himself, and indirectly through his actions and attitude.
While waiting for the train, the two of them never speak. Their discriminating and aggressive attitudes teach Mohan Lal a lesson about The story depicts a class Indian society, in which both women and lower- class Indians are treated in a different way. Lachmi travels in a special compartment for women and not with her husband in his first-class coupe.
The bearer and the porter are servant labourers and treated as such: Sir Mohan Lal is found standing before the mirror. The mirror is worn-out and partly broken.
He hates the mirror as he hates everything of India. But he admires his own appearance. He looks perfectly like a sahib. The train is yet to come. He calls the bearer and orders a drink. She is chewing a betel leaf.
She is a traditional Indian woman and is commonly dressed. She requests a coolie to carry her luggage to the end of the platform. She will get into the inter-class woman compartment. She is not allowed to accompany her husband in the first class compartment, because her husband is a high government official, a barrister But Lachmi cannot speak English and does not know their ways.
Obviously, she cannot travel with her husband. She hardly enjoys the company of her husband. He visits her rarely at night. Then Lachmi plays the role of a passive partner. They have no child.
Lachmi enters the inter-class compartment. It is almost empty. She prepares some betel-leaves and starts chewing one. Passengers are jostling on the platform.
Sir Mohan Lal totally detests them. He is calm and quiet. He is still enjoying his drink. He has spent five years in Oxford University. He strictly follows the manners of the English. He rarely speaks Hindustani. He speaks in English with a foreign accent. He can talk on any subject like a cultured Englishman. Indeed, he always feels at home with the English. He expects some Englishmen as co-passengers. In that case it will be an enjoyable journey for him.
But he shows no sign of urge to talk to the English like most of the Indians. He pretends to read The Times. He has already his Balliol tie. He orders whisky. And lastly, he opens his gold cigarette case full of English cigarettes. He knows well that all these things will automatically arrest the attention of the Englishmen. Now he recalls his five-year glorious life of England. He loves everything of the country. Even the prostitutes of England are more charming to him than his wife Lachmi.
It is empty and so he is sad. He begins to read The Times. Just then two English soldiers appear. They are looking for a suitable compartment. Sir Mohan is ready to welcome them. But they order him to get out from the compartment. Though it is reserved, the soldiers do not care for it. Sir Mohan protests mildly.
His royal English, sahib like appearance and The Times come of no use. The soldiers throw all the belongings of Sir Mohan out of the train. Finally they push him out of the train. The train quickly passes the station leaving him on the platform.
His wife, totally unaware of his condition, chews the betel leaves, spits and sends a jet of red dribble flying across like a dart. It also has a Hindu theological idea, but it has been used as the title of the story only to speak about the identity crisis of a person who blindly imitates the western culture and fashion under the impact of British colonialism in India.
Karma by Khushwant Singh
Sir Mohan is an Indian and the Indians were conquered by British people before. Because they were used to being oppressed for so long, they think their own culture is inferior to their colonizers. He may sound, dress or act like an Englishman, but he would still always look like an Indian. And Englishmen would still discriminate him coz he's not one of them. A story with a great sense of moral.
Karma (short story)
In Karma by Khushwant Singh we have the theme of self-importance, heritage, control, insecurity, shame, identity and acceptance. Narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator the reader realises after reading the story that Singh may be exploring the theme of self-importance. Sir Mohan Lal considers himself to be better than others. Particularly other Indians.