Character Sketch of Juggut Singh (Jugga)
Juggut Singh a.k.a. Jugga is presented by the novelist in a dramatic way. We first hear his name from the members of Malli’s gang. They shout his name while passing by his house after committing dacoity and murder of Lala Ram Lal. One member of the gang throws a packet of bangles in his house saying “Wear these bangles, Juggia, wear these bangles and put henna on your palms.” Jugga had refused to be party in the crime for his own reasons, but the foolish dacoits take him for a coward. When the dacoits call him, they do not get any answer, because he is not at home. This incident gives the wrong impression that the dacoits had no fear of him. The novelist informs the readers that he had left his house on the pretext that he was going, as he told his mother, to protect his crop from the pigs.
The readers only hear his name from the dacoits, therefore, become curious to know more about him. Then, they see him trying to slip out of the house, with shoes in his hand, but on being seen by his mother he has to give an explanation to his mother obviously because his mother would not let him go out at the odd hours. The readers learn it from her mother that Jugga is on probation and forbidden by the court to go out of the village at night. Thus, information about him is given in piece meal to keep the readers curious to know more about him.
In fact Juggut Singh had gone to the rendezvous to meet his beloved. During his love-making he hears the shots and soon after sees Malli and his gang going down towards the river. Juggut Singh has to go to his house lest anybody should find him missing and cast doubt on him. These facts, if co-ordinated, give an image of Jugga or Juggia.
Police arrests him when it comes to know that Jugga was not at home when dacoity was committed, because they thought that either Jugga was also an accomplice in the crime or he knows about the dacoits. Jugga’s feet are put in fetters and wrists in handcuffs. Jugga’s mother weeps and wails gives cogent arguments to prove that Jugga has no hand in the dacoity, but all in vain.
Jugga is forced under the threats of third degree measures to disclose the names of the dacoits. He is subjected to tortures by the police on previous occasions. Therefore, he tells the police that the dacoity was committed by Malli’s gang. Jugga is otherwise a courageous and fearful dacoit, but he is like a lion in a cage while in police custody. Though Jugga tells the names of the real culprits, he is not released.
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Jugga has become a psychopath. He is a dacoit’s son. His father Alam Singh was convicted in a dacoity case and hanged. He was not educated. Juggat Singh’s mother had to mortgage her land to find money to contest her husband’s case. Juggut Singh redeemed the land within one year, but no one knows where he got the money from. It is evident that he collected the money by unfair means. He is arrested at the end of the year and his name is entered in Register No. 10 along with those of other bad characters. Jugga, being uneducated, and without knowledge of any trade, has no option but to involve himself in crimes. He admits,
“I am always wanting to do something. When there is ploughing to be done or harvest to be gathered, then I am busy. When there is no work, my hands still itch to do something. So I do something, and it is always wrong.”
Jugga knows it well that what he is doing is wrong, but he can’t check himself from doing it. It is a simple case of a psychopath. And the reason for his being that is his being the son of a dacoit, sentenced to be hanged. It is a general rule that the children learn what their parents teach them at home.
Jugga is a specimen of those who are not allowed opportunity to mend themselves. Juggut Singh is arrested for no major offence-he had gone out of the village in violation of the court order, but a humane officer could let him off with a warning, particularly when he was not likely to join in a dacoity in his own village. Had he been with the dacoits, he would have been easily recognized by his enormous size. If the police had taken these evidences in view, Jugga too could act reasonably. His arrest even for not doing the crime fills him with anger. When Malli’s gang is arrested, Jugga has the hope that he would be released, but the police has a sadistic pleasure in keeping him under custody. Of course, he can’t do anything to the police force, but when he gets the opportunity he smashes Malli’s head and sends him crying like a child. If Jugga had been out of the lock-up he would have even killed him. It is no justice to arrest a man for an offence he has not committed. To odd insult to injury, Malli’s gang is set free. When Jugga is released he is informed that Malli and his men are there in Mano Majra. Jugga says with great confidence,
“He (Malli) will run like a jackal when he hears my name……….. If I do not spit in Malli’s mouth, my name is not Juggat Singh.”
Juggut Singh is great lover of Nooran. On being released, “Jugga’s immediate concern is the fate of Nooran. He does not look at his companions in the tonga or at the village. He has forgotten Malli. At the back of his mind persist the feeling that Nooran will be in Mano Majra as no one had desired Imam Baksh to go. Even if he has left with the other Muslims, Nooran must be hiding in the fields, or have come to his mother.” He is so much worried to know about his beloved that he jumps off the tonga when it reaches near the Sikh temple and disappears.
Juggut Singh comes to know about the plan of the Sikh youths of attacking the train which is to take Muslims of Mano Majra to Pakistan. Jugga is a passionate lover-he cannot allow his beloved, no matter that she is a Muslim, to be mowed. He stands alone against the host of attackers to save his beloved. As the train comes nearer, a man starts climbing up the steel span. It is none but Jugga himself. He reaches the top where the rope is tied. The attackers think that he is testing the knot to make sure that everything goes according to the plan.
The train comes very close but he is still stretched on the rope. He takes out a Kripan out of his waist and begins to cut the rope. When the attackers come to see what he is doing, the leader of the Sikh attackers fired a volley of shots at him. Jugga’s body slides off the rope, but he catches the rope under his armpit and hacks it with his right hand. He succeeds in cutting off the rope before he falls down with his body sprinkled all over with bullets. “The train went over him, and went on to Pakistan,” safely, with his beloved.
Jugga is a badmash (criminal) in everyone’s eyes but nobody has seen a lover’s heart that is pulsating in his chest all the while. Jugga sacrifices his life for the life of Nooran.
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