About the author R. This simple construct gave Narayan legal leeway when basing his protagonists on real-life events or locations. It also kept the stories relatable to a wide Indian audience, who could draw many a parallel between Malgudi and their own town. Plot summary The book follows the rise and fall of the protagonist Margayya. Our anti-hero begins his journey as a relatively obscure middleman. Under a Banyan tree in Malgudi, he unofficially connects banks with borrowers while earning a deceitfully generous margin from the difference in interest rates.
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About the author R. This simple construct gave Narayan legal leeway when basing his protagonists on real-life events or locations. It also kept the stories relatable to a wide Indian audience, who could draw many a parallel between Malgudi and their own town. Plot summary The book follows the rise and fall of the protagonist Margayya.
Our anti-hero begins his journey as a relatively obscure middleman. Under a Banyan tree in Malgudi, he unofficially connects banks with borrowers while earning a deceitfully generous margin from the difference in interest rates.
His irksome practice quickly earns the contempt of the local bank as well as readers. After dwelling on the nature of money and the position it affords its owners in society, Margayya has a revelation. He senses that a new scheme; a financial innovation of sorts, with the potential to revolutionise his life, was approaching fruition. Margayya meets Dr Pal, an author, at a ruined temple with the River Saryu as a backdrop.
Through no effort of his own, the book becomes a fabulous success and this makes Margayya comfortably wealthy. But this brings a little comfort to Margayya. He grows unsatisfied with the publishing business. Using his own substantial capital, he forms a bank and begins lending directly borrowers in his own right.
His only son; Balu shows apathy towards his academic studies. Despite the sums that Margayya spends on private tuition to encourage this pursuit, Balu develops a fondness for tobacco over textbooks. Margayya dismisses a kind offer of an escort from his brother, on the basis that he assumed it was merely an opportunity for the brother to enjoy a free trip. This triggers a run on the bank. The financial catastrophe which ensues brings the journey around to a full circle.
An impoverished Margayya is left to dwell on what could have been. With vigour, he implores his son to take up residence beneath the Banyan tree in Malgudi and begin dealing in loans, just as he once had. Themes and Motifs The rights afforded to those with wealth and a class advantage Margayya frequently incurs the wrath of other characters in this tale. He regularly dismisses this hostility as being the product of his lower social status and wealth.
The story is set in the decades after , when the colonial rule in India was drawing to an end and by which point the British legacy of bureaucracy had been increasingly entrenched.
The discontent caused by this order rings loudly through the text. The deceit of those who are in the pursuit of money Narayan uses a broad brush to paint a very bleak image of the strand of humanity who blindly pursue wealth. With virtually no subtlety, the reader witnesses the destruction of institutions: Margayya appears to follow religious custom with a cynical motivation. He values only the output; the potential rewards, rather than the humble application of faith and worship itself.
The institution of the family is also reduced to being a mere vessel for advancement. Margayya acts disrespectfully towards a horoscope pundit when an unwealthy match is suggested as a wife for his son.
Margayya treats his brother, who lives next door, practically like a stranger. Margayya is the characterisation of an evil money man. The reader struggles to note any discernable silver lining in his character or personality. In fact, the protagonist is positively loathsome and does not endear himself to readers even by the close of the story. Margayya begins as a trickster — his loans to peasants are written with convoluted interest rules that are unambiguously unfair. As a banker, Margayya thrives by offering his deposit services to the black market.
He consistently takes deposits from unsavoury sources. That Margayya is so content in facilitating their activities, demonstrates the very corruption that he rails against in the opening chapters. The tone of corruption resonates with the pervasive sense of corruption still present in India today. Despite recent incremental improvements, Transparency International reports India as ranking 78 of countries worldwide for corruption.
With hindsight, this was not considered to be a success. It is all too easy to draw a line between the resistant, near-permanent stain of corruption on Indian public life, and the persistent, evil ambition harboured by Margayya.
One could say that Narayan has personified this worldwide problem in the simple, unloveable protagonist. References Narayan, R. The Financial Expert. Mysore: Indian Thought Publication, BBC News.
Accessed on 12 August Transparency International The Telegraph Newspaper Keep reading.
The Financial Expert
Plot[ edit ] The protagonist of the novel, Margayya begins his career as petty money-lender doing his business under the Bunyan tree, in front of the Central Co-operative Land Mortgage Bank in Malgudi. He helps the shareholders of the bank to borrow money at a small interest and lends it to the needy at a higher interest. In the process, he makes money for himself. The Secretary of the Bank and Arul Doss, the peon, seize from his box the loan application forms he has managed to get from the Bank through its shareholders; they treat him with contempt, and threaten to proceed against him. This sets the path of improving his position.