Coolie: Character of Munoo
Mulk Raj Amand's famous novel coolie depicts the character of Munoo, a young hill boy who is dragged into the plains in the false hope of going to work and seeing the world. Fate takes him from the clutches of a vindictive housewife to a primitive pickle factory in a feudal city, and then to Bombay where he farms some peace. With his comradeship and love, his irrepressible curiosity and zest for life, Munoo emerges as the most attractive character.
Munoo is a lad of fourteen and was the playful boy. He was the whiz kid at climbing trees. He would hop on to the trunk like a monkey; climb the bigger branches on odd hours.
Munoo is an innocent country boy. He was far from being go-getting, being ambitious in life. His expectations are extremely modest. His only desire is to live, "I want to know, I want to work"(23). Munoo finds himself in tune with all the lavish beauty of nature around him.
Munoo is a receptive and sharprural teenager full of higher spirits and enthusiasm for life. Despite the hardship and the misfortunes which he encounters at every stage in the course of his brief career in this novel, he never loses his zest for living. His "the essential loneliness of the soul, that apartness which he had succeeded in shattering by his zest and enthusiasm for work". He says, "I want to work like this machine; I shall grow us to be a man, a strong man like the wrestler". Munoo may also be regarded as a symbol of the affirmation of life, and of the positive attitude to life.
Munoo's sense of his human dignity should also not be forgotten in assassing his character. His self respect never deserts him. Inwardly he feels deeply offended or hurt by such ill-treatment or injustice. He develops an aversion for Bibiji in Sham Nagar, for Gampat in Daulatpur and for Jimmie Thomas in Bombay, even though he doesn't openly revolt against them. He had no position to revolt against anybody. He is a coolie after all. But he has his pride that compelled him to quit Babu Nathoo RAM'S house. It is his pride which makes him angry when the waiter in a road-side restaurant in Bombay,speaks mockingly and scornfully about him. Here he inwardly tells himself “I should have fought hard if he had dared to turn me out or abused me. I am not an untouchable. I am a Hindu Kshatriya, a Rajput,a warrior",who would not take an insult lying down. Munoo felt strong and powerful at the thought of his dignity and that his dignity came back to him when he thought of the waiters insulting attitude.
Munoo is a sensitive and self-respecting boy. After Babu Nathoo ram's severe beating, Munoo runs away from his employer's house because he can't reconcile himself to the humiliation of the beating. He is unable to endure Bibiji's callousness any longer.
We see that Munoo is servile to the people of higher rank. He is unduly humble and even servile towards a shahib or an Englishman. He feels most happy at the time of his proximity to mr. W. P. England when that man visits Babu Nathoo Ram's house in response to an invitation. He says to himself "I am a kshatriya and I am poor. The babus are like the shahib logs".
Munoo is certainly more intelligent than the average village boy of the age fourteen or fifteen. He can understand other people's emotions, desire and feelings. This quality is clear from the following remarkable lines : " Munoo, who was always quick to sense peoples emotions, has emerged with a capacity for more real intuitions since his illness." Munoo was intelligent enough to realize the fact that "all servants look alike. There must be only two kinds of people in the world, the rich and the poor" (Coolie:21)
He was talent enough to understand the fact that poor are always beyond to suffering as he says to himself: "we belong to suffering!" (2)
Love Craving Munoo: In the house of Nathoo Ram we see Munoo as a love craving lad. He was scold and dishonoured in that house but chota babu gave him love and for why Munoo became grateful. He had the power to arouse love and loyalty in others and he could become the lover of two women.
There was certainly another admirable quality in Munoo, the capacity to win the goodwill and confidence of people. One reason for his success in this direction is his own sincerity or loyality towards those who show him any kindness and who help him in any way. His essential loneliness was shattering in "entering the lives of others, by the natural love he felt for others." He tries to establish some post of understanding with Sheila and chota babu, in Daulatpur, he forms a friendship with Tulsi, Prabha and Prabha's wife.
Munoo had the refer of the spirit of reple sacrifice and service to others. As we see Munoo digits against a couple of other domestic servants in Sham Nagar for the honour of Bibiji; and he rates the life of a boy from being killed by the heavy traffic on a road in Bombay, doing so at the risk of his own life.
Munoo was sympathetic towards other people. When Prabha was very badly treated by the police man, his wife law huddled in the house in a desolate condition. Munoo tries his utmost to console her. Then after the doctor had examined Prabha, Munoo went to a cherist in the main Bazar to get the medicines and ointments which had been prescribed. He also earned money to help Prabha in his predicament.
Munoo was a hardworker. When he was only fourteen, he abandoned village in search of job. First he sets a job as a domestic servant in a middle class family. Then he has done service in a pickle factory, service as a cookie. And porter, and even disciplehood for an hour under a .............yogi, and rickshaw puller.
Munoo always thought about the labours. Then he sees the labours in Bombay can't help asking himself why they were so sad, why " they will revoke against tyranny and injustice had become almost extinct in them", why they went through life in a dark daze : Munoo addresses coolies as: "shivering, weak, bleary with twisted, ugly faces, bleak, filthy, gutless, spincless. They stale along with unconscious, vacant looks; idiot looking at the smoky heavens, as they signed or murmered, 'Ram, Ram' and the other names of God in greetings to each other" (247)
Munoo was a melancholic boy and he also thought about the miserable conditions of his life. He says, "My father died when I was born and then my mother". In Ram's hourse his heart sinks "And in his heart there was a lonely song a melancholy wail" (22) we see in this novel that though he is hardly , he is "mentally and physically broken", "like an oldman" as "he thought of the condition under which he had lived, of the intensity of the struggle and the futility of the water of revoke falling upon the hard rock of privilege and possession" (284)
Munoo was a romantic boy. When Munoo is suffering from sore eyes and from fever and when Parvati looks after him tenderly it became am unforgettable memory for Munoo. It is a memory which proceeds from the innocent boy of a young boy's love.
Anand portrays the life story of Munoo, a tragic and on hoi one. All the events of this story develops around him. "He is a universal kind of figure." He is a hill boy with taste for the of life which is denied to him again, again. His full bodied health, his eagerness for life, his fundamentally innocent nature, his penchant to react to benevolence, all make him a central character as well as hero of this story.