In Custody: Here is a simple note on “In Custody” for BA English Honours Students. BBMKU University Dhabad semester 5. The questions have been dealt with here that can be asked during your examination.
In Custody characters
The main characters in Anita Desai’s novel In Custody are:
- Deven Sharma – A Hindi professor in Mirpore who is disillusioned with his life and finds solace in Urdu poetry, especially the work of Nur.
- Nur Shahjenabadi – A famous Urdu poet who represents the decline of the language and culture that he stands for.
- Murad – Deven’s childhood friend and publisher who is materialistic and ambitious.
- Sarla – Deven’s wife who is unhappy and burdened by her domestic responsibilities.
- Imtiaz Begum – Nur’s second wife who is jealous and calculating.
Other notable characters include:
- Siddiqui – Deven’s colleague at the college who is a mediocre poet and represents the commercialization of Urdu poetry.
- Safiya Begum – Nur’s first wife who is kind and compassionate.
- Chiku and Pintu – Murad’s nephews who assist Deven in his journey to Delhi.
Desai’s characters are complex and well-developed, and she explores their inner lives with great sensitivity. She also uses her characters to explore themes such as the decline of Urdu culture, the clash between tradition and modernity, and the search for meaning and purpose in life.
In Custody Summary
In Custody by Anita Desai is a novel about the search for identity and meaning in life, set in contemporary India. The novel follows the protagonist, Deven Sharma, a Hindi professor in Mirpore, a dusty town near Delhi. Deven is a disillusioned man who feels trapped in a loveless marriage and a job that he does not enjoy. He finds solace in Urdu poetry, especially the work of Nur Shahjahanabadi, a famous Urdu poet who lives in Delhi.
One day, Deven’s childhood friend Murad, an editor of a periodical devoted to Urdu literature, visits him in Mirpore. Murad offers Deven the opportunity to interview Nur, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Deven. Murad also promises to pay Deven handsomely for the interview.
Deven is thrilled at the prospect of meeting Nur, but he is also apprehensive. He is aware of Nur’s declining health and his reputation for being difficult and temperamental. Despite his misgivings, Deven decides to accept Murad’s offer.
Deven travels to Delhi and begins his search for Nur. He visits Nur’s house in Old Delhi, but he is unable to gain access to the poet. Deven wanders around the city, lost and disoriented. He feels like a stranger in his own country.
Eventually, Deven finds Nur with the help of Murad’s nephews, Chiku and Pintu. Nur is living in a dilapidated house in a poor neighborhood. He is surrounded by a motley crew of followers, including his two wives, Imtiaz Begum and Safiya Begum.
Deven is shocked by Nur’s physical and emotional state. The poet is frail and sickly, and he is constantly surrounded by people who are only interested in his money and fame. Deven begins to question whether he should even proceed with the interview.
However, Deven’s love for Urdu poetry overcomes his doubts. He begins to visit Nur regularly, and he gradually gains the poet’s trust. Deven interviews Nur about his life and his work, and he learns a great deal about the poet and the Urdu literary tradition.
Through his interactions with Nur, Deven begins to understand himself better. He realizes that he has been living a lie, and he decides to make some changes in his life. He leaves his job at the college and moves to Delhi to be closer to Nur. He also starts to write poetry again, something that he had given up many years ago.
Deven’s relationship with Nur is not without its challenges. Imtiaz Begum is jealous of Deven’s close relationship with Nur, and she tries to sabotage Deven’s work. Deven also has to deal with the demands of Murad, who is constantly pressuring him to finish the interview.
Despite these challenges, Deven perseveres. He is determined to complete his interview with Nur and to write a book about the poet’s life and work.
In the end, Deven is unable to finish his interview with Nur. The poet dies before Deven can complete the book. However, Deven is grateful for the time that he spent with Nur. He has learned a great deal from the poet, and he has finally found a sense of purpose in his life.
- The decline of Urdu culture: Urdu is a language that is rich in history and culture. However, in the novel, Desai shows how Urdu culture is in decline. Nur is the last of the great Urdu poets, and he is surrounded by people who are only interested in his money and fame.
- The clash between tradition and modernity: India is a country that is caught between tradition and modernity. In the novel, Desai explores the clash between these two forces through the character of Deven. Deven is a man who is rooted in tradition, but he is also drawn to the modernity of Delhi.
- The search for meaning and purpose in life: Deven is a man who is searching for meaning and purpose in his life. He finds solace in Urdu poetry, but he also realizes that he needs to make some changes in his life in order to be truly happy.
In Custody is a complex and well-written novel that explores a variety of themes. Desai’s characters are complex and well-developed, and she explores their inner lives with great sensitivity. She also uses her characters to explore important themes such as the decline of Urdu culture, the clash between tradition and modernity, and the search for meaning and purpose in life.
The novel is also a meditation on the power of literature. Deven finds solace and inspiration in Urdu poetry, and he is ultimately able to find meaning and purpose in his life through his relationship with Nur. In Custody is a reminder of the importance of literature and the arts in our lives.