Sriram is the main Character and Protagonist of Waiting For the Mahatma, Which is written by a great Indian Novelist R. K. Narayan. The story of this novel is set in Malgudi, R. K. Narayan’s famous fictional village. The novel covers life in pre-independence India and the freedom struggle in the 1900s.
The Novel is woven around how its protagonist Sriram is changed from the state of ignorant and aimless youth to an acute and committed freedom fighter. At first, Sriram is an inspired person who can easily influence by anyone. At the opening of this novel, it is revealed that Sriram is an orphan; both his parents have died, his mother in childbirth, and his father in Mesopotamian as a soldier for the British Army. After his parent’s death, Sriram grows up under the loving care of his grandmother. When he is twenty, his grandmother hands over the fat sum of money. She had been saving in his name.
Sriram is presented as a lazy and complacent young high school graduate living with his grandmother. He has no knowledge of the condition of the country. But once he meets Bharati and falls in love at first sight with her. She is a disciple of Mahatma Gandhi and is involved in the freedom struggle.
Sriram comes into contact with Gandhi through Bharati. The nearer he goes to Bharati the more he learns about Gandhi. Sriram becomes a non-violent soldier of Gandhi and his aim was to remain with Bharati. Gandhiji welcomed Sriram and told him:
“Before you aspire to derive the British form this country
you must drive every vestige of violence form your system.
You must train yourself to become a hundred percent
Gandhi could easily read what type of a man Sriram was. So he advised him to leave his materialist life and accept a spiritual life. Meanwhile Sriram, a pleasure-seeking man was totally changed into a freedom fighter and a follower of Gandhi. As part of propagating Gadhi’s message, especially Quit India, Sriram came to the village name Solur. He halted before a shop and brought two plantains and a bottle of Soda. The shopman told Sriram that he had a nice biscuit. Sriram asked him if the biscuit was English. Shopkeeper replied,
“Purely English biscuits which you cannot get for miles around.”
Sriram asked, ‘Have you no sense of shame?
Sriram has transformed from a wayward selfish modern materialist to a spokesman of traditional values, swaraj, and nationality. In pursuance of Gandhi’s while Bharati arrested, and Gandhi ji. Sriram meets Jagdish. In the touch, Jagdish Sriram became a violent soldier of freedom. He became a slave of Jagdish who was a follower of Subhash Chandra Bose.
Sriram did many destructive works at the request of Jagdish. Soon he understood that by destroying things like setting fire to the records in half a dozen law courts, derailing a couple of trains, paralyzing the work in various schools, and exploding a crude bomb none could oust the British from India. He felt that Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent weapon was superior to the violent weapon. He was arrested under the Defence of Indian rule.
The Materialist Sriram was converted into a spiritualist and patriot through the effort of Bharati and Gandhiji. Sriram’s name recalls that of the great hero of the Indian epic the Ramayana.
In the plot of this, the transformation of the protagonist due to his meeting and falling in love with Bharati is significant. The path of the protagonist’s progress has been from a state of isolated individualism to a state of involvement with others and issues that transcends the self such as love and nationalism. The novel clearly shows how the personal life of people is affected by political events. Sriram and Bharati cannot consummate their relationship until India is independent.
Thus, Waiting for the Mahatma’s character Sriram is an example of progress and growth. At one level, Sriram’s Character is an example of the progress of young, irresponsible carefree Sriram into a passionate lover, a responsible citizen of the country with a record of considerable sacrifice, and a term in jail to make him a complete patriot.