A Suitable Boy - Part 16 Summary & Analysis

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Part 16 Summary

Kabir and Malati meet and Kabir confesses that he cannot stop thinking about Lata and begs her to intercede for him, but Lata has returned to Calcutta. Mrs. Rupa has her birthday which turns out to be a self-pity party. Meanwhile, things are hectic in the Chatterji household as usual. Dipankar attempts to find out what is the matter with Tapan, his 13-year-old brother who has become reclusive and almost weepy. It turns out that Tapan is being bullied by the hockey captain and his senior friends. The captain has a sexual desire for Tapan and, therefore, the harassment is worse than it ordinarily would have been. Dipankar becomes a good listener, allowing Tapan to vent his frustrations.

Dipankar has made an irrevocable decision, unless he changes his mind. He has decided to join a bank, which he announces to Amit, disturbing his writing. Then he discusses Tapan with Amit, relating the information he has just learned from the boy. Amit and Dipankar decide that Tapan must be taken out of Jheel boarding school and brought to Calcutta to enter St. Xavier's day school where Amit had been educated. To get it past Mrs. Chatterji, they agree to insist that the main reason for the change is to get Tapan more involved in Bengali culture. The ruse works.

A dinner at the Chatterji house introduces Hans as a potential member of the family. The typical flippancy of the family puts Hans ill at ease and Kuku tries to smooth things over. The conversation around the dinner table is as varied as the personalities of the slightly bizarre Chatterji family. Cornered, Hans diplomatically says that the Chatterjis are an atypical typical family.

Haresh invites Mrs. Rupa and Lata and the others to lunch in Prahapore where he is now working. He has worked with the people on his line to get them to raise their productivity and has been sent by Khandelwal to negotiate a union dispute. He sets a goal to double production at the factory. He gets cooperation by donning workman's clothing and challenging Ram Lakhan to produce 600 pairs of shoes in one day. His effectiveness within the company causes jealousy and friction between him and the Czech managers. Haresh is living almost lavishly when Mrs. Rupa and Lata arrive. The mother is touched by the extent of the arrangements and the politeness of Haresh. No one is as impressed with Haresh as Mrs. Rupa seems now to be. As soon as they return from Prahapore, Meenakshi hurries to her tryst with Billy. A long letter from Malati to Lata recounts her meeting wit Kabir and the report that he is seeing another young woman.

Part 16 Analysis

The Kapoor family are all caught up in the campaign of Mahesh Kapoor. Maan is happy to be in Brahmpur where he can see Saeeda Bai on a regular basis. The Kapoors are too concentrated on the political campaign to pay much attention to Maan's infatuation with the infamous courtesan. Maan is hoping to see Rasheed who does not come around Saeeda Bai's house any longer. She says that he has gone crazy. She gives Maan Rasheed's address on letters he has been sending to Tasneem and warns Maan that he will be a liability to their electoral endeavors. When Maan visits Rasheed, he learns that his friend will not support Mahesh and will actively campaign against him. They discuss Rasheed's desire to take Tasneem as his second wife. Rasheed has changed because of his desire to help the poor and disenfranchised of his village area. When Maan tells Saeeda Bai of his meeting with Rasheed, she orders her watchman to refuse Rasheed admittance into her house.

In the Salimpur-cum-Baitar constituency where it is split evenly between Muslims and Hindus, the campaign for Mahesh builds up. Mahesh urges the women of the family to help with his political electioneering. The Socialist Party emerges as the biggest opposition to Mahesh's Congress Party. Maan campaigns tirelessly in the villages of Salim-cum-Baitar. The subject of caste becomes a heated point of debate in the election. Maan learns of how Rasheed tried to protect Kachheru from being evicted from the land he had farmed for many years and how his family had opposed him. Rasheed has isolated himself from almost everyone except the communists.

Maan discovers that Tasneem is not Saeeda Bai's sister. She is her daughter and Firoz's father is also Tasneem's father. That is why Saeeda Bai has been attempting to keep them apart. The scene of discovery is messy with Maan wounding Firoz with a fruit knife. In the hospital, Firoz's prognosis for survival is good. The police investigation leaves Saeeda Bai in a nervous condition. She is still having difficulty talking because of Maan's having had his hands around her throat. Maan buys a ticket for Banaras where he is finally arrested for the attack on Firoz. The irony of the situation for Mahesh Kapoor is that he cannot bring pressure on the police investigators while attempting to limit the ability of the landowners to pressure local officials in order to retain their lands in danger from the Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act. The tragedy has divided the Kapoor family from the family of the Nawab Sahib, important political allies. They do not attend the cremation of Mrs. Mahesh Kapoor. Mahesh now goes to the police to try and lighten Maan's culpability, an act that shames him, but he cannot bear to lose a son right after losing his wife. All of the intrigue further complicates the campaign.

This section contains 932 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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