Other characters in the story become important when Merrick "chooses" them for his personal attention. He chooses the Layton family as an opportunity to climb the social ladder. He gets his opportunity after befriending Teddie Bingham. When it becomes clear that Bingham's regiment will soon be sent into battle against the Japanese, Merrick helps Bingham arrange a quick wedding through his contacts with the government of the Nawab of Mirat. When Bingham's best man falls ill, Merrick is rewarded for his troubles with the honor of the role of substitute best man.
From this point on, he insinuates himself into the Laytons' lives. Although Merrick desperately wants to join the upper classes, as personified by the Laytons, he is contemptuous of their "romantic" attitudes towards Indians and India. From Merrick's point of view, it is a simple matter of political subjugation that must be met head on.
People like Teddie Bingham, however, see themselves in a familial role, with the British officers of the Indian Army as parent maa-bap , "mother and father" to loyal Indian soldiers. Merrick does his best to save Bingham, but is grievously injured, and again becomes a hero in the eyes of the British in India.
People from Bingham's class are amateurs—privileged dilettantes—Merrick believes, in contrast with his professionalism, and, from his perspective, Bingham "died an amateur. With Bingham's death, however, Merrick comes to understand something about his old-fashioned views and he connects to his experience with Edwina Crane, who was attacked by a mob when Merrick was the district police superintendent in Mayapore.
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Kasim, known in the popular press as "M. Kasim was formerly the chief minister of an unnamed province, until the Congress decided to boycott the elections. Kasim is a principled man and he strives to live his life according to those principles.
He wants independence for India, but he believes in a secular , undivided India , which puts him at odds with his fellow Muslim leaders, who want a separate state Pakistan , and who have left the Congress to join the Muslim League. Kasim is a descendant of the 18th-century Urdu poet, Gaffur Mohammed, and, as such, he is a kinsman of the Nawab of Mirat. Kasim has two sons. The elder, Sayed Kasim, is an officer in the Indian Army. The younger, Ahmed Kasim, is an indolent playboy, who, in MAK's view, wastes his time in a sinecure as secretary to the Nawab.
Several historical persons, such as Abul Kalam Azad , a prominent Muslim politician who stayed with the Congress and opposed partition , may serve as the basis for the character of Kasim. Sarah is the elder daughter of Lt. John Layton, the commanding officer of the 1st Pankot Rifles, and his wife, Mildred. While her father is held in a German prison camp in Europe, Sarah and her family continue to live the upper middle class life of the British in India. However, unlike the rest of her family, Sarah is uncomfortable with the hierarchy that the British have established in India.
She is not so sure of the racial philosophy that forms the basis of British dominance in the subcontinent and she occasionally shocks her family with her deviance from accepted propriety. Sarah's meeting of Ahmed Kasim in Mirat, during her sister's wedding, in particular, sets her thinking about the relationship between Indians and British. Although they are of the same age and education, and, perhaps, in some sense, social class, she is keenly aware of the distance between them and the pains that Kasim takes to preserve that distance.
However, Sarah's strength, independence, and competence are what keep things going in the Layton household, especially after the death of Susan's husband Teddie. For the duration of the war, Sarah as well as her sister, Susan has joined the Women Army Corps India , and is serving in a clerical position at regimental headquarters in Pankot. She is seduced by Jimmy Clark and becomes pregnant. She has an abortion. Sarah eventually assumes the role of moral compass in the last half of the Raj Quartet, and often gives voice, perhaps, to Scott's own despair at the political and ethnic turmoil of India both before and after Independence.
However she is ultimately and perhaps increasingly conventional, albeit endowed with personal qualities that make her stand out from the other women in Pankot. Although she has sympathy for outsiders like Barbie Batchelor and Lady Manners, this shows her honourable nature rather than implying a desire to oppose convention. Likewise, because she is thoughtful and clear-sighted, she is willing to discuss controversial issues; but her own conduct seldom noticeably offends the established norms.
Her character can therefore be contrasted with that of Daphne Manners in the previous novel of the quartet, The Jewel in the Crown. Another former pupil of Chillingborough, Rowan, although an officer in the Indian Army, was assigned to work with H. When the war heated up, he was recalled up to serve in Burma , where he contracted a serious illness.
Sent back to Sir George to recuperate, Rowan is trying to leave the army for a permanent place in the "political" service, the branch of the civil service that handles the relationship between the crown and the princely states, such as Mirat. This connection and his knowledge of the unjust treatment Kumar has suffered leads him to do what he can, anonymously, to restore Kumar to some kind of normal life.
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What Rowan learns at the interview of Hari Kumar shocks him, and he develops a loathing for Ronald Merrick. But he knows that it will be impossible, because of Merrick's popularity with the British, and because of the fragile political situation, that any of Merrick's doings will come to light. Instead, Merrick will be rewarded with a promotion.
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Barbie is a simple, down-to-earth woman, who believes strongly in her god and in Christianity and has clear ideas about right and wrong. She is troubled that in all her years of missionary work, she was not very successful in converting the children in her charge to Christianity "How many of them did I bring to God? Above all, Barbie wants to be useful, wants to have a role in society.
Barbie is haunted by the suicide of her friend and former colleague, Edwina Crane, who in The Jewel and the Crown was witness to a brutal murder during rioting "on the road from Dibrapur. Barbie comes from a working-class background and this, as well as her taking up space in Rose Cottage, are cause for resentment on the part of Mildred Layton.
Barbie's egalitarian attitudes, based on her communal Christian beliefs, are a source of annoyance and exasperation to Mildred. Barbie is a figure of fun among the best of Pankot's British society. They mock her and roll their eyes at what they view as her hysterics and spread rumors that she is a lesbian. However, Sarah Layton, especially, and her sister Susan have affection for her.
He claims not to be interested in politics, or in Europeans. His job does not tax his abilities, and he spends his free time womanizing and drinking. He is a sensitive and pleasant man, but he does not know how to relate to the British. His assignment as Sarah Layton's escort one afternoon leaves him unsure how to behave. Mabel is very close to her stepson and his daughters, who address her as "Aunty Mabel.
Layton's houseguest and companion is the retired missionary schoolteacher, Barbie Batchelor. Mildred Layton, her stepson's wife, resents her for occupying Rose Cottage and for bringing the working-class Miss Batchelor into their lives. But Mabel knows the real reason for Mildred's resentment. In , after the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre in Amritsar , when most of the British in India were contributing to fund the retirement of Reginald Dyer , who was responsible for the massacre, Mabel contributed money to the fund for the Indian victims of the massacre.
As a result, Mildred sees Mabel as a traitor to her own people. Much of Bronowsky's background is mysterious. It is thought that his title, "count," is genuine, but it is not certain. It is said he fled Russia after the defeat of the White Movement. He is a clever and efficient operator, and he sees much in common with Ronald Merrick.
As a homosexual himself, Bronowsky recognizes this trait in Merrick, even though Merrick struggles to repress this aspect of his personality.
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Unlike Merrick, however, Bronowsky has more of the humanist in him; he does not have Merrick's sadistic tendencies. Merrick on the other hand despises Bronowsky as a sensualist. The two men have a tense rapport, understanding each other better than anyone else does, while also finding each other's inclinations repulsive. Bronowsky has great affection for the Nawab, as well as the Nawab's secretary, Ahmed Kasim.
Bronowsky also has affection for Sarah Layton. In Bronowski's eyes, all these people share the trait of being isolated from their own societies. Mildred is the wife of Colonel Layton and the mother of Sarah and Susan.
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