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Character of Murad in “In Custody”

Murad is the central character of the novel In Custody next only to Deven,the hero of the novel. Murad
is the childhood friend of Deven. They have studied together. Now at Delhi ,Murad is a contrast to
Deven. He is a great manipulator. The son of a wealthy Kashmiri carpet seller, Murad has been the rich
spoilt boy with lots of money to spend on films and cigarettes. He projects that now he is not very rich as
his father has disinherited him. He lives in Delhi with his mother.

He is the editor of Urdu magazine Awaaz. He projects that he runs the magazine to save the glorious
traditions of Urdu . Murad’s name means ‘Heart’s Desire’ and he is concerned only to fulfil his heart’s
desires at any cost. Murad’s face serves as a metaphor. He is facially disfigured by pockmarks. He
epitomizes an Urdu speaker who is tainted by his contempt for Hindi. He is slippery , frequently violent
and invariably unscrupulous and always complacently exclusive. Even the poet Nur says about Murad,
“That joker he should paint his face, wear false noose and perform in a travelling circus”.

Murad frequently visits Deven’s college and disturbs him for company. It is he who sets the goal for
Deven. Murad is free and frank even in an alien atmosphere where he is only a casual visitor. Murad has
always exploited Deven and has never paid for his book reviews and poems. Throughout the novel he
catches weak aspects of Deven’s personality and knows how to manipulate things to his own advantage.
He inspires Deven to go to Nur and interview him at his house in Old Delhi before he dies and vanishes,
like a comet into the dark. He deceives Deven again and again. When Deven reaches Murad’s office
,Murad tortures him by his crafted behaviour and uncertain replies to his questions. He tells Deven that
he does not know Nur’s address. Deven grows nervous and feels shocked at the loss of his time and
money only because of Murad. He has treated him in this manner since their boyhood. Seeing his
dismay, Murad writes a letter of introduction to Nur and sends his officeboy to help Deven find out the
poet’s house.
Murad has a self-congratulatory attitude toward Urdu. He considers himself a patron and well wisher of
Urdu language and is proud when he says that he is trying to keep alive the delicate language. He says,
‘Now I am planning special issue on Urdu poetry. Someone has to keep alive the glorious tradition of
Urdu literature.’
But later on when he has to pay he has number of complaints. He himself complains of the excessive
bills from hotes and restaurants for drinks and other materials to the whole party. Murad wants now the
single right of the tape to sell it in order to pay the bill and clear the debts. It is not easy to forget
characters like Murad with his wickedness, solemn profundity and verbal frivolity. Critics have rightly
compared him with Shakespeare’s Iago.