Character Sketch of Hassan #1

Hassan was the ship Ranaganji’s Serang (an Asian head of the lascar crew). The ship was sailing from Liverpool to India. He was a squat, extremely unattractive indigenous seaman, with short legs and a huge, disproportionate head.

He was a devout Muslim. He was born in Punjab and then relocated to the south with his family.

He preferred a maritime lifestyle and spent forty years on a variety of ships. He was in his fifteenth year at Ranaganji at the time.

When the young and inexperienced doctor reported an outbreak of smallpox on board, the captain of the ship, Mr. Hamble, assigned only Hasan as a helper. The captain had faith in Hasan. He nursed the patients with zeal, oblivious to the danger to himself. His calm and unflinching demeanour restored the doctor’s faith. When a patient died, he would recite Ramayana verses, stitch their shrouds, and perform a watery burial.

On land, he was without a home, family, or friends. All of the items in his chest may be worth a few rupees.

He was not a fan of speech. He was plainly sincere, devoid of the customary expectation of reward. He was uninvolved with money. He possessed bravery, restraint, and faith.

Character Sketch of Hasan #2

As the title implies, Hassan is the protagonist in Dr A J Cronin’s storey, The Serang of Ranaganji. He is squat and unattractive, with short legs and a huge, oversized head. As a result, Jope Smith refers to him as a “absurdly comic creature.” He is the ship’s quartermaster, in charge of the loading and unloading of baggage.

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He hails from Panjab. However, he has no home, family, or friends on land, having spent the last forty years of his life aboard various ships. He has been working on the Ranaganji for fifteen years. He is a devout Muslim.

Genuine, adversity reveals your true character. Appearances are frequently deceptive. When smallpox is discovered on the packed ship, Hassan volunteers to assist the author, who is also the ship’s physician. While sending him to the doctor, Captain Hamble accords him the highest compliment possible by declaring him to be the finest man he has.

Hassan is a man who is a man of few words. He possesses a quiet efficiency and an uncanny ability to solve difficulties fast. When they run out of space on the crowded ship to isolate the ill, he advises building a shelter on the afterdeck, safely away from the other passengers.

Hassan is a man of great compassion. Even though it is not part of his job description, he volunteers to perform the dangerous task. When the doctor cautions him, he says. ‘Do not be alarmed, Dr. Sahib. I am a powerful woman. And that is also my work.’ When he carries a man with bleeding sores with his own hands in Colombo, the serang’s black cheeks are drenched with tears of sympathy. He demonstrates an unmistakable sincerity.

Even in the most tense situations, the serang remains calm and unfazed. The doctor recalls with appreciation the hope, the renewed heart, and the peace he received from Hassan’s mere presence.

What distinguishes him from the common man is his attitude toward money. When the doctor advises that he is entitled to additional compensation, he responds, ‘What good is money, Doctor Sahib, to someone who has all he needs? I am perfectly fine the way I am.’ He was uninterested in money. He possessed fortitude, self-control, and trust.

When Jope Smith makes that final statement, it sounds ludicrous to the reader who is aware of the true storey unfolding behind the scenes. The story’s final statement resounds in the reader’s consciousness, urging us never to be judgmental. “… Isn’t it queer, Miss Jope Smith, that all the animals were outside?’

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