The Barber’s Trade Union Summary

The Barber’s Trade Union is an organization that represents the interests and rights of barbers within the hair care industry. It serves as a collective voice for barbers, advocating for fair wages, better working conditions, and professional development opportunities. Read More Class 12th English Summaries.

The Barber’s Trade Union Summary

The Barber’s Trade Union Introduction:

This is the story of a barber boy. He is the main character in the story. The author calls him one of the makers of modern India. He does a great act. He unites the barbers and asks them to open their own barber shops and not to go to people’s homes to give them a haircut or shave. Thus the upper-caste people are compelled to go to the shops for hair-cut or a shave. The barber boy is senior to the narrator.

He is also the narrator’s close friend. He takes the lead in all the matters. He is very fond of boyish mischiefs. He likes catching wasps. Then he takes the poison out of their tails and makes them fly by tying their legs with a thread. He knows how to make very good kites of various designs. Despite these talents he is very dull at school. Chandu adopted the profession of his father.

As he belonged to a low caste, people of higher castes made fun of him. In the end he decided to go on strike and stopped visiting people’s houses for giving a hair-cut or shave. The people of the village had to go to barbers’ shops for hair-cuts. Then he becomes the organiser of Barbers’ Union.

The Barber’s Trade Union Summary in English

Chandu is the barber boy of the narrator’s village. He has a place in the history of India as one of the makers of modern India. He has done something which has great significance. But he never had any idea about his greatness. The narrator knows him since his childhood. They used to play together in the streets of their village near Amritsar. Their mothers felt happy to see them at play.

Chandu was the narrator’s senior by six months. He always took the lead in all matters. The narrator always followed him because he was an expert at catching wasps, taking the poison out of their tails, tying their tails with a thread and making them fly. But the narrator used to be stung on his cheeks if he went near the wasp.

The narrator considered Chandu to be perfect because he could make and fly kites of very good designs. At school, Chandu was not so good at doing sums as the narrator because his father put him in learning the trade of a barber. His father used to send him to villages for hair-cutting. He had no time for doing home work. But he was good at reciting poetry. He remembered all the verses in the textbook.

The narrator’s mother did not feel happy when Chandu won a scholarship at school while the narrator had to pay fees to be taught. She constantly told the narrator not to play with Chandu by saying that he was a low-caste boy and he must keep up the status of caste and class. The narrator had no sense of superiority of his class or caste.

His mother used to put a red caste-mark on his forehead every morning and he put on uchkin, the tight trousers, the gold worked shoes and the silk turban. He wanted to wear clothes like Chandu. Chandu used to wear a pair of khakhi shorts which the retired subedar had given him, a black velvet waist-coat and a round cap which had once belonged to Lala Hukam Chand, the lawyer of their village.

The narrator envied Chandu the freedom of movement which he enjoyed after the death of his father. He used to go to the houses of upper caste people and cut their hair or shave them. When Lala Hukam Chand went to town in his carriage (buggy), Chandu went with him by sitting on the foot-rest of the buggy. The narrator had to walk three miles to attend his school at Jandiala. Chandu did not have to go to school. But he used to bring some gifts for the narrator.

Summary The Barber’s Trade Union

Chandu saw sahibs, the lawyers, the chaprasis and the policemen wearing English style clothes. Once he told the narrator that he wanted to steal some money from home to buy a dress like that of Kalan Khan, the dentist. He said that Kalan Khan was fitting people with dentures and even new eyes. Kalan Khan was a young man. He was dressed in a starched shirt, an ivory collar and bow tie. He wore a blank coat and striped trousers and rubber overcoat and pumps.

Then he asked the narrator if he, a barber educated up to the fifth class, would not look more dignified by wearing a dress like Dr. Kalan Khan. Chandu added that though he was not a doctor, he has learnt how to treat pimples, boils and cuts on people’s bodies from his father who had learnt from his father.

The narrator agreed with his plan. He encouraged him a good deal that his hero did. One day Chandu dressed up in a turban, a white rubber coat, a pair of pumps with a leather bag in his hand. He was going on his round and had come to see the narrator. How smart he looked in his new dress. The narrator told him that he looked marvellous.

Then he left for the house of the landlord to shave every morning. The narrator followed Chandu. He looked nice in a doctor’s dress. He reached the door-step of the landlord. Devi, the little son of the landlord clapped his hands to announce the coming of Chandu the barber in a beautiful heroic dress like the Padre Sahib of the Mission School.

Bijay Chand, the stout landlord was taking the name of God. He was just coming out of the lavatory. He called Chandu the son of a pig. He regretted that Chandu was bringing a leather bag of cow-hide into his house, and the coat of the marrow of some animal, and black shoes. He ordered him to get out as he was defiling his house.

Chandu told him that he was wearing the dress of a doctor. He ordered him to wear clothes suiting his status as a barber. Chandu returned. His face was flushed as he had been insulted before the narrator. Then he rushed to the shop of Thanu Ram, the village Sahukar. He had a grocer’s store at the corner of the lane.

The Barber’s Trade Union short Summary

When the narrator reached Sahukar’s shop. Devi, the landlord’s son began to cry at his father’s harsh words for Chandu. He abused Chandu in the foulest words for wearing the dirty clothes of the hospital folk. He told him to come back in his own clothes. Then only he will let him cut his hair.

Chandu felt very angry. He ran angrily past the narrator. He felt that Chandu hated him because he belonged to a superior caste. The narrator shouted after Chandu that he should go to Pandit Parmanand and tell him that the clothes were not dirty.

Pandit Parmanand came out of the landlord’s house. He said that the boys of the village had been spoiled by education. But the low caste boy has no right to such clothes. He has to touch the heads and beards of people in the village. He should not defile them. Chandu heard what was said by Parmanand. He ran away from there. He seemed to have some set purpose in mind.

The narrator’s mother called him and told him that it was time for him to go to school. So he should eat and go to school. She advised him not to mix with the barber boy. But the narrator was very disturbed about Chandu’s fate all day. On his way back from school, he called in at the hut where Chandu lived with his mother. His mother was an ill-tempered woman.

As a low caste-woman she could understand the upper caste people. She however liked the narrator. She asked him if he had come to see his friend. She also told him that if his mother came to know that he had come to this hut, she would accuse her for casting her evil eyes on his sweet face. She asked him if he was as innocent as he looked or if he was a hypocrite like the rest of others of his caste.

The Barber’s Trade Union Summary essay

The narrator wanted to know where Chandu was. She did not know where he was. She said that he earned some money by shaving people on the roadside. She also said that he was having some funny ideas. She added that he should serve the clients his father used to serve. He is only a boy. She told the narrator that she will tell him that his friend wanted to play with him. He has just gone up the road. The narrator took leave of Chandu’s mother.

Chandu whistled for the narrator in the afternoon. He came. He invited the narrator to come for a walk. He told him that he earned a rupee shaving and hair cutting near the court that morning as he had to come back on the back bar of Hukam Chand’s carriage early. In the afternoon, he should have earned more.

He told the narrator that he was going to teach a lesson to the caste conscious idiots. He was going on strike. He will not go to their houses to attend to them. He was going to buy a Japanese bicycle for five rupees. He shall learn to ride it.

Then he will go to town every day. He will ride the bicycle with his overcoat, his black shoes, and white turban on his head. He will look fine in this dress. The narrator said that he would definitely look nice.

The narrator supported Chandu’s ideas. Chandu bought a cycle with the money le had made by haircuts and shaving in the town. Then one day he started learning how to cycle. Chandu got on the cycle and the narrator started pushing him from the backside. Chandu could not keep balance and he fell down on the other side along with the cycle.

There were peals of laughter from the shop of the Sahukar. Then the Sahukar abused Chandu for being a rascal. He said that he would come to his sense only if he broke his bones. Chandu hung his head in shame. He told the narrator that he was worthless. The narrator had thought that Chandu would grip him by the neck and give him a good beating.

The Barber’s Trade Union Chapter Summary

Chandu did not lose courage. He decided to try riding cycle again. The narrator told Chandu that he would hold the cycle tightly this time. The landlord again said that Chandu would break his bones by falling from the cycle. Chandu however told the narrator that he was not bothered.

Chandu again began to try riding. The people at the Sahukar’s shop were watching with interest. The narrator thought that Chandu would again fall and come to greif. Chandu’s feet had got quite rightly on the pedals and he was riding smoothly. The narrator was running behind the cycle. The narrator did not see Chandu the next day.

For one or two days the narrator did not see Chandu. But on the third day, Chandu showed the narrator some men of the village sitting round the Sahukar. He showed him the unshaven faces of the villagers. They were all looking unclean.

Chandu told the narrator to run past the shop and call the elderly people beavers. The narrator did so. The peasants who had gathered round the shop laughed. The Sahukar shouted that the narrator should be caught. They said that the upper-caste boy was also with Chandu.

The Barber’s Trade Union essay

The rumour about the barber boy’s strike spread. Jokes about the dirty beards of the elders also spread. The landlord’s wife threatened to run away with someone because she was twenty years younger than her husband. She had tolerated him as long as he looked neat and trim. But now she was disgusted with him because his appearance had become shabby.

But Chandu’s mother was seeing prosperity because of Chandu’s increasing income. Then they thought of getting the barber of Verka to come and attend them. They offered him an anna instead of the two pice they had usually paid to Chandu. Chandu opened a new shop and he asked other barbers from other villages to come and start their shops.

He convinced them that it was time that the villagers came to them for hair-cut and shave. The Union of barbers was given a new name. The name was “Rajkot District Barber Brothers Hairdressing and Shaving Saloon”. The Union has been followed by many other trade unions of working men.
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