Study Guide

Balkhi in Beneath a Marble Sky

By John Shors

Balkhi

If Shah Jahan is this guy, and Aurangzeb is this one, then Balkhi is totally this dude. He's a thug, a ruthless henchman who will do just about any terrible deed in the name of evil.

No, really:

"Who's the giant?" I asked my friend, for she harbored all the fort's gossip.

"A murderous half-wit, if you believe the rumors," Ladli replied, spitting to show her disdain. "They call him Balkhi."

"What do you hear of him?"

"That your brother freed him from prison so the lout could be his bodyguard."

"Why was he in prison?"

"Rape. He raped and mutilated a servant girl after returning from battle. She was Hindu and so your brother—may Shiva boil him in piss—forgave the creature." 
(6.114-119)

Ew. Balkhi is one nasty brute, and Aurangzeb loves him for it. But don't worry: he gets what he deserves. When Aurangzeb sends him to rape, mutilate, and/or kill Jahanara and her daughter, they outwit him, and he dies a painful death at the hands of the secret passageway's booby trap.

Ahhh, sweet, sweet karma.