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Character Sketch of Sundar Singh from the Story ‘The Tunnel’ by Ruskin Bond

After reading the short story ‘The Tunnel’ by Ruskin Bond, you will come across two main characters of the story: Sundar Singh and Suraj.


In this post, we are going to see the character sketch of Sundar Singh. This short story, TheTunnel, is placed in the foothills of the Himalaya, where train passing is possible. Some distance from Dehradun, lies a small village, and some distance from that village, up in the hills, through the forest goes a railway line. The railway line has one tunnel.

Sundar Singh is a watchman of that tunnel. His duty is to inspect the tunnel twice a day. Two trains, one at day, second one at night passes through that tunnel. His duty is to make the tunnel clear of manageable obstacles like small stones or wild animals. For the day train, he waves a red flag if found anything objectionable in the tunnel. And at night, he waves the lamp if something is wrong in the tunnel. If everything is fine, he does nothing and relaxes in his small hut.  

He is familiar with the surrounding he lives in. He often spots a leopard, with whom he shares a good understanding. He says to Suraj, a boy who comes to see the train passing, that he owns the tunnel. And he has lent that tunnel to the government for the railway passing use. Well, that describes the sense of humour of this man.

He may be aged between 40 - 60 years. He has his own ways towards life. One such way is his simplicity. He is a simple man, believes in the peaceful nature around the tunnel and his hut. He is not afraid of dark and wild animals, but he is afraid of city life and the bustle that goes there. He says that last time when he went to the city, he was almost run over by a bus.

Another aspect of Sundar Singh is that he is extremely brave. He is not afraid of dark, loneliness, wild animals. He inspects the dark tunnel with his tiny lamp.

He is friendly with all – humans and animals. When Suraj meets him at day and then comes to his hut in the evening, he provides him knowledge about his duty and prepares tea for him. Also, at night for the inspection, he tells Suraj not to come with him. He well knows the value of human life.

Overall, the old man sounded a man of good nature, with strictly devoted to his duty, without fearing anything. He is so simple that it reflects throughout the story. If you compare both the characters, you will find that Sundar Singh easily outshines the boy Suraj.

Liked the character sketch of Sundar Singh, you can always read the summary of the story The Tunnel by Ruskin Bond here.

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