A Pair of Mustachios has been taken from Mulk Raj Anand’s collection of Selected Short Stories. It is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator.
A Pair of Mustachios Summary
Khan is not wealthy but has a rich heritage and believes that Ramanand does not have the privilege of the same mustache as him. To Khan, It was a matter of price, and he instructed Ramanand to return his mustache to what is considered acceptable by society. According to Khan, Ramanand is not entitled to wear his mustache the same way as him because of his class. Khan considers Ramanand to be of a relatively lower class. This is of utmost importance as the way an individual styles his mustache defines their class, and no deviation is allowed. This has been made very explicit because some people were murdered because of their non-adherence to such societal norms. The issue is of significant importance to Khan, and he lets his pride take over reason, and in the end, he is just a pauper.
Even though not a rich man, Khan is left with nothing, which seems like a point that Anand is making. He could be suggesting that if individuals allow their pride to take over their hearts and head, they make no gains and eventually hurt themselves. This is the case with Khan. It is apparent that the existing class structure is impractical and should not be catered to, but people are not ready to move away from the accepted status quo. The style of one’s mustache is deriving one’s place in society, and it plays on the theme of freedom. One is not given liberty to style themselves the way they deem fit because of the class system in operation. It hinders the people’s freedom and their ability to be who they are. It puts forward the idea that one has to follow what is accepted and accepted for generations.
The story reflects how one’s freedom is hindered because of utmost reliance on a tradition that may not please or be accepted by everyone it concerns. This is the case with Ramanand, who does not view the style of his mustache as a problem. He is intelligent enough to realize his ability to outwit Khan, who is supposed to be of a higher class. Khan’s weakness lies in his excessive pride and adherence to norms and traditions that not everybody wishes to follow. It is a probability that Anand suggests that an individual is curtailed because of their beliefs of class, pride, and traditions. Khan still lives among the old ruins of his ancestors, and this is of symbolic importance as Anand highlights the fact that Khan lives and is rotten in the past and, so is the class system he believes in and wishes everything adheres to.
Anand has highlighted Khan’s ignorance and arrogance. Even though he has little in life and is obliged to Ramanand, he thinks of himself to be better than Ramanand simply based on his entitlement to style his mustache in a certain way. Khan is so deeply rooted in his traditions that he is willing to give up all he owns in exchange for a change of style in Ramanand’s mustache. This is an extreme sacrifice and highlights Khan’s extreme beliefs regarding mustache.
It is essential to focus on the fact that every culture has a given class system, even if it is not based on how one styles their mustache. The real problem in every society is the importance that one gives themselves simply based on their idea of class.
A Pair of Mustachios Analysis
Mulk Raj Anand’s A Pair of Mustachios has been written with a humorous vein and deals with a hilarious clash that takes place because of the upturned mustaches of Seth Ramanand, the Grocer and money lender. The story is divided into parts. The first is concerning the kind of mustachios that are popular in India. The second is a narration of a story of an individual that claims to be of feudal descent. The individual is victimized with the false pride of his descent and loses everything he has to get lowered to the mustachio of a grocer, who he considers not entitled to wear upright mustachios.
A Pair of Mustachios Character Sketch
Khan Azam Khan- He claims his lineage to be from an ancient Afghan family whose heads were noblemen and councilors in the court of great Moghuls. He is a tall, middle-aged man, handsome and dignified, and he wears a tiger mustache and remains adorned with the faded remnants of a gold-brocaded waistcoat, though he hasn’t even a patch of land left.
Seth Ramanand- He does not have the ancestry to boast of but is wealthy and an influential member in the village and the neighborhood. He claims himself to be great by wearing a mustache similar to a tiger mustache. He is amiable, does not get angry, and knows how to triumph over his customers.
A Pair of Mustachios Theme
The theme for A Pair of Mustachios by Mulk Raj Anand is tradition, acceptance, freedom, class, and conformity. Throughout the story, Anand explores the theme of pride. The story has light humor and has a thought-provoking idea of people attaching false motives to the things they do not belong to. The importance of how one wears their mustache to Khan is given because he lets pride take over his logical reasoning and becomes a pauper. There is a probability that Anand is suggesting an individual is hindered by their perceptions of class, tradition, and pride.