In Khushwant Singh’s short story “Karma,” Sir Mohan Lal is a central character who plays a significant role in the narrative. He is a government official and a member of the Indian Civil Service, known as the ICS, during the time of British colonial rule in India.
Sir Mohan Lal is portrayed as a corrupt and self-serving individual who takes advantage of his position of power. He is depicted as a symbol of the oppressive British Raj and the pervasive corruption within the system. Despite being an Indian himself, Sir Mohan Lal aligns himself with the British rulers and becomes a part of the exploitative machinery.
Throughout the story, Sir Mohan Lal abuses his authority, extorts money from the villagers, and indulges in various immoral activities. He takes bribes, cheats the locals, and even goes as far as trying to exploit young women sexually. His actions highlight the widespread corruption and moral degradation prevalent during that time.
However, as the story progresses, Sir Mohan Lal undergoes a transformation. After witnessing the gruesome death of a water buffalo, he starts contemplating his own mortality and the consequences of his actions. This experience triggers a moral awakening in him, and he begins to question his choices and the karma they have generated.
Ultimately, Sir Mohan Lal realizes the futility and emptiness of his life. He experiences a deep sense of guilt and remorse for his past actions and seeks redemption. In the end, he decides to leave his position, renounce his ill-gotten wealth, and embrace a life of simplicity and spiritual introspection.
Sir Mohan Lal’s character serves as a vehicle for exploring themes of corruption, colonialism, and the concept of karma in the story. His transformation from a corrupt bureaucrat to a repentant seeker of redemption offers a powerful commentary on the consequences of one’s actions and the potential for personal growth and change.
What is the relationship between Mohan Lal and Lady Lal?
What is the characteristic of Sir Mohan Lal?
How would you characterize Mohan Lal in the story Karma?