Character Sketch of Arjun in The Glass Palace

Arjun, a middle-class Bengali is an officer in the British Indian Army. He has adopted western culture in his life. He learns to dance the tango and to eat roast beef with a knife and a fork. During World War II and his stay in Malaya he is asked by a much less Anglicized colleague, nicknamed Hardy, to desert and join a group of renegade Indians who plan to help the Japanese defeat the British and liberate India. There is much melancholy truth in this confession. The English-speaking Indian elite, Arjun belongs to was a carefully thought-out creation of the British, and was well protected from ideas of personal and political freedom. In fact, the original British intention behind setting up Western-style schools and universities in India, as very pragmatically specified by Macaulay, was to have a class of Indians who will be Indian in blood and color, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and intellect. Arjun gets excited when he had a chance to join the army. But soon he was berated for joining in the army by the student workers and the Congress Party workers. He gets enraged when he comes to know that in Burma the Indian soldiers are called the army of slaves.

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