Swami is the central character of the plot. He is also the protagonist of the play. As a child, he goes to school where he does not like studies and gets bored easily. He is an honest boy of seven but, on the other hand, he also does not hesitate telling lies to his father. He loves his granny's stories. He is good at cricket and is nicknamed "Tate." He saw the revolution phase of Indian independence. Later in the course of the novel, he became bolder and socially prominent.
Swaminathan’s father is a lawyer by profession. He is stern and authoritarian, but caring. He worries about his son’s studies and encourages him to study hard. Sometimes he is overly strict, but later in the novel he also shows his concern for the well-being of his son.
Swaminathan's mother is in charge of the house and cares for Swami both materially and emotionally. She defends Swami in his arguments with his father. However, her appearances are occasional. She is the character that Swami misses the most when he runs away from the house.
Granny is described as a sweet and sleepy lady whom Swami will often go to and tell stories about his day. She is a religious woman. She tells Swami the stories of her past. Her relationship with Swami changes throughout the novel.
Swami’s Younger Brother
He is the only sibling to Swami. He is born midway through the novel. He captures the prime attention of his family. Swami too cares for his little brother. However, this character has no major role as he remains a child throughout the novel.
He is Swami’s scripture teacher at the Albert Mission School. He is a Christian fanatic and degrades Swami’s religion, Hinduism, and considers Christianity superior to other religions. Later, he is scolded by the headmaster of the school.
Rajam is the new kid at the Albert Mission School and is Swami's rival turned best friend. Rajam is good at studies, speaks English "like a European," and is the son of the police superintendent, which gives him more attention and status at school. He is witty and fearless in nature and naturally assumes authority in social settings. It is his idea to start a cricket team.
Another close friend of Swami, Mani is described as the "Mighty Good-For-Nothing." He is a bold and strong figure in his class. He is not good at studies and purposefully slacks off, but he likes fighting and no one dares to challenges him, even the teachers. Mani likes to dominate the whole class and also bully some of his classmates.
Somu is Swami’s school friend from the Albert Mission School. He is the monitor of Swami's class and carries himself with an easy and confident air. Swami calls him the “uncle of the class.”
A classmate of Swami, Sankar is known as the “the most brilliant boy of the class.” Swami admires Sankar's intellect and takes his guidance. Later, he leaves Malgudi as his father is transferred to another town.
Samuel (or The Pea)
Also nicknamed "The Pea," Samuel is Swami's classmate and friend. Both Swami and the Pea are close friends until the Pea changes his school. Both remain friends as they both play cricket together. He is the only Christian friend of Swami.
Swami and Friends Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Swami and Friends is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.