52 pages 1 hour read

Supriya Kelkar


Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2017

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Important Quotes

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“We’re not the ones invading someone else’s home like a cockroach.”

(Chapter 3, Page 24)

As the novel begins, Anjali expresses a protester’s spirit by graffitiing Captain Brent’s office. However, she doesn’t yet know to what extent she’ll encounter conflict with the British captain. Captain Brent echoes this line back to her at the novel’s end, telling her, “Nobody likes cockroaches in their own house” (285), showing how her relationship with him has deepened, even if she’s still critical of British rule.

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“Now is the time to strike—but nonviolently, friends. Ahimsa always.”

(Chapter 4, Page 27)

Ahimsa is the novel’s title, and as a term, it’s a critical part of Gandhi’s nonviolence movement. Anjali strives to embody this philosophy over the course of the novel, which comes to a climax when Captain Brent is nearly killed by a mob and Anjali stands up and says “Ahimsa,” reminding them of their movement’s commitment to nonviolence (281).

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“I was blindly following orders when I worked for Captain Brent. Helping all these injustices continue. Not stopping to wonder if what I was doing was fair or even nice. But I was wrong. No group of people should be forced to live under the imposed will of another.”

(Chapter 4, Page 28)

Ma’s comment here shows how she saw herself as part of the problem, and in joining the freedom movement, she wishes to rectify her complicity in the injustices perpetrated against the Indian people by British rule. She wants freedom and self-determination for herself, her family, and everyone in her country.