“Famous literary characters are famous for a reason. Their qualities, their emotional journeys resonate with us at a deeper level and become etched in our hearts forever. ”
Famous Fictional Characters
In my long kinship with books, I have come across several famous literary characters that have stayed with me long after I have turned the last page of the book. I often find myself thinking about them, sometimes years later, like a long lost friend. The reason for adoring these characters vary – some inspire me to push the boundaries, some tug on to my heartstrings with their pathos, while some just talk to me like a dear friend. In this article, I am sharing with you famous fictional characters from books, comic strips, and newspapers that have affected me, shaped me, and became a part of my life.
Ashima from “The Namesake” by Jhumpa Lahiri
Change is an inevitable part of life but most of us tend to resist it. Ashima, in Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake, may not win the readers vote for the most famous literary character but for me, her stoicism in the face of change makes her the epitome of resilience and awe-inspiring grace. Leaving behind her loved ones and her beloved city Calcutta, Ashima, etches out a new life for herself in America, making her one of my favourite fictional characters. In America, her struggles to adapt to her new lifestyle, language, and identity lends her an endearing vulnerability that makes her one of my most favourite fictional characters.
Swami from “Swami And Friends” by R.K. Narayan
One of the most famous books of all times and the most endearing character ever created in literature – R.K. Narayan’s Swami. The ultimate boy next door, Swami is the average, naughty boy created by R.K. Narayan that reminds all of us of our childhood before the real world dawned on us with all its shades. Swami is easily one of my favourite and the most relatable fictional characters for people from all age groups.
Rusty from The Room on the Roof by Ruskin Bond
In one of his most famous novels of all times – The Room on the Roof, Ruskin Bond created the most memorable and famous fictional character – Rusty. A lonely, orphaned 16-year-old Anglo-Indian boy in Dehradun reflects every teenager’s dilemmas about life, relationships, and love. We all found ourselves rooting for Rusty as he finds solace in the friendships nurtured in Indian markets, and we as readers feel such a rush of relief and delight for him.
James Achilles Kirkpatrick from White Mughals by William Dalrymple
Unlike my other favourite characters – James Achilles Kirkpatrick was a real person, an official of the East India Company in the court of Nizam of Hyderabad, who falls in love with a Muslim princess Khair-Un-Nissa. He married her shortly after creating quite a furor in the conservative Muslim society of Nizam’s Hyderabad. James’s disregard for the strict social norms and ability to transcend boundaries of religion, race, ethnicity, and culture truly left me in awe. Unfortunately like most famous love stories, Kirkpatrick’s happiness was short-lived as he died a few years later, leaving behind his two young children and bride. It wouldn’t be so tragic had it not been a real story.
Chacha Chaudhary by Pran Kumar Sharma
If there is one famous fictional character that figures on every Indian kid’s list of favourites, it is Chacha Chaudhary.
Chacha Chaudhary comics made for the staple summer holiday read for an average kid of the 80s and 90s. I don’t remember much of his adventures with his henchman Sabu but the comic takes me on a nostalgia trip and the memory of related hot summer afternoons.
The Common Man by R. K. Laxman
If there’s one character whose words resonate with the general sentiments of the public towards the governance and general state of affairs in the country, it’s The Common Man.
For over half a century, The Common Man, a cartoon character by R.K Laxman has been the voice of the common man in India. The character clad in a Kurta and Dhoti represents the aspirations, hopes, and frustrations of an ordinary Indian citizen. It is undoubtedly the most famous fictional character, widely recognised by the masses in the country.
The Amul Girl
For years, the Amul girl with her dotted frock and blue hair was just an advertising mascot for me until I discovered the utterly buttery girl’s humours strips. Keeping a sharp eye on everyday events in the country and offering biting commentary on the same, it is one of the best advertising concepts of our times.