Surendranath Banerjee is a young sergeant, newly recruited into the Calcutta Police. He’s a bright lad, one of the first Indians to be inducted into CID, and he did pretty well in the police entrance exams too. The third son of an influential and well-to-do Bengali family, he was educated in England, before returning to India.
While his name is Surendranath, but his British superiors found that too difficult to pronounce and instead christened him Surrender-not. While he didn’t mind at first, it’s a name that’s beginning to grate.
His decision to join the police force has led to tensions within his family. His father in particular was shocked by his son’s decision, accusing him of siding with oppressors of his own people. Surrender-not sees it differently. His view is that even when the British leave, Indians will probably still keep murdering each other and someone’s going to need the skills to solve them.
In contrast to his boss, Sam Wyndham, he’s still fresh and idealistic, with an innate belief in justice and the rule of law. But his idealism is sorely tested by reality. To some extent, Surendranath embodies the conflict felt by many educated Indians of the time, torn between their rose-coloured view of British justice and the repression of their own people.
At the point where we meet him, Surendranath is pretty much in awe of Sam. He finds him different from the other British officers, but he’s not quite sure what to make of him. On one level I think he’s worried about his new boss, who seems to have his own problems and doesn’t know the first thing about India, but Surrender-not is far too shy and too Indian to say anything.
Unfortunately his shyness doesn’t stop with his boss. He’s particularly inept at talking to women, white or Indian – unless they have an interest in cricket that is .
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