The protagonist of the novel, whose true name we never learn. He goes by several aliases but Lin or Linbaba is the name by which he is best known. Lin is an enigma - a violent man of peace, a compassionate criminal, a white "native" of Bombay (at least by the end of the novel). Shantaram takes him on a dramatic arc, from escaped criminal to honored guest in a remote Indian village, from slum doctor to international mafioso. However his status changes, though, some character traits remain constant: Lin consistently shows an enthusiastic appreciation for philosophy, a deep and pure love for his friends, and a propensity to fall in love both romantically and platonically. Lin is a true romantic at odds with society, living on the fringes.
Karla Saaranen. Beautiful, green-eyed, witty, vivacious woman with a mysterious past. Lin falls hopelessly in love with her.
Prabaker Kharre. Lin's first and best friend in India - his guide through the "real Bombay," and a constant source of humor and good will.
The taciturn manager of the India Guest House hotel, where Lin initially stays in Bombay.
The owner of Radio Sick, a local store.
Didier Levy. A constant fixture at Leopold's bar, Didier is a magnificently corrupt modern dandy. Infamous for his infatuations with attractive young men.
Sebastian Modena. A brooding Spaniard utterly in love with Ulla. He helped rescue her from Madame Zhou's brothel and works as her pimp.
Ulla Volkenberg. A beautiful German gold-hearted prostitute.
Abdul Ghani. A portly, jolly mafia leader in charge of Khader's passport operation.
Abdel Khader Khan. The beloved, revered, mythologized head of Bombay's underworld activities. He acts as a second father to Lin and many others.
A Bombay criminal who works under Khader.
A criminal who works in the hashish trade.
Lettie to her friends. An English ex-patriot living in Bombay. The object of Vikram's adoration.
Vikram Patel. One of Lin's closest friends. A lover of spaghetti westerns and Letitia.
A Bombay policeman who works as a doorman at the slave market.
One of Didier's previous lovers; no longer sufficiently corrupt.
Okay, I think this has something to do with the fact that Karla is not new to exile, and that she is aware that every occurrence happens twice. I hope this helps, I will try to get textual evidence for you........ my copy of this novel is in...
Shantaram is a chronicle of the life of Lin as he spends seven years living in Bombay. The Shantaram study guide contains a biography of author Gregory David Roberts, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.