Summary of Roberts’ “Shantars”

Summary of Roberts’ “Shantars”

Shantaram is a novel by Australian writer Gregory David Roberts. First published in Australia, in 2003. In 2010 he went to Russia. The basis for the book was the events of the author’s own life. The main action of the novel takes place in India, in Bombay (Mumbai) in the 1980s.


The protagonist is a former drug addict and robber who escaped from an Australian prison, where he served a nineteen-year prison term. After some time spent in Australia and New Zealand, on a fake passport in the name of Lindsay Ford he comes to Bombay. Due to his personal qualities he quickly acquires acquaintances and friends among locals and foreigners living in Bombay. The peasant woman, the mother of an Indian friend of the hero, names him the Indian name Shantaram, which means

in translation from Marathi: “a peaceful man” or “a man to whom God bestowed a peaceful destiny.” He earns a living by acting as an intermediary in small illegal transactions. Settles in slums, where they provide medical care to their residents. Turns a lot of dating in criminal circles. According to the denunciation he goes to prison, where he spent 4 months in terrible conditions.

Lindsay deals with illegal trade in currency and gold, then with false passports. In a short time, two of his closest friends die; unable to recover from the tragedy, Lindsay spends 3 months in a brothel, using heroin. Khader Khan pulls him out, helps overcome the newly developed dependence on the drug. Then he offers to go together to Afghanistan, to the homeland of Kader, occupied by Soviet troops. Lindsay agrees. Their caravan carries the tools, weapons and medicines to the Mujahideen detachment. fighting near Kandahar.

In Afghanistan, Kader Khan and a large part of his detachment are killed. Lindsay manages to return to Bombay, where he continues to cooperate with the Mafia.

The novel’s action alternates with the description of the protagonist’s experiences and philosophical reflections. Characters often express thoughts in an aphoristic form.


Lindsay (Lin), Karla Saarnen, Prabaker, Didier Levy, Kazim Ali Hussein, Vikram Patel, Maurizio, Modena, Letti, Nazir, Abdullah Taheri, Kavita Singh, Lisa Carter, Abdel Kader Khan, Abdul Ghani, Johnny Cigar, Parvati, Khaled Ansari

Summary of Roberts’ “Shantars”