The main characters of the memoir excerpt “By Any Other Name” by Santha Rama Rau are Santha and Premila, two Indian sisters. At the time of the narrative, Santha is five and a half and Premila is eight years old. Because of their father’s work, the two sisters attend an Anglo-Indian school, where the headmistress anglicizes their names from the first day. 

Another character worth mentioning is the girls’ mother, who has always expressed her distaste for British rule. After finding out about a teacher’s prejudiced attitude towards Indians, she agrees that her daughters should not attend that school anymore. The narrative introduces other characters as well, such as Santha’s teacher, an Indian girl named Nalini, and the sisters’ Ayah. However, these characters are not active participants in the development of the plot. 

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Santha is one of the main characters who appear in the memoir excerpt “By Any Other Name” by Santha Rama Rau. At the time of the narrative, she is five and a half. Santha has an older sister named Premila. The girls’ father works as “an officer of the civil service” in a provincial town in India. 

Santha is an intelligent little girl who already knows how to read, write, and do mathematics with simple numbers. This is why, at the Anglo-Indian school, she gets bored easily and her attention wanders off: 

The lessons were mostly concerned with reading and writing and simple numbers—things that my mother had already taught me—and I paid very little attention. The teacher wrote on the easel blackboard words like ‘bat’ and ‘cat,’ which seemed babyish to me; only ‘apple’ was new and incomprehensible. 

In class, Santha instinctively drifts towards the other Indian children: “They were all sitting at the back of the room, and ...

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