Sardar Khan’s Fate Determined by His Own Corruption?

Throughout the series, there is an explicit emphasis on making the viewer evident of those who have obtained power by way of corruption. Initially, we see it through Ramadhir Singh, who has an enormous amount of wealth and power–so much so that he has control over the police in Wasseypur, access to western technology such as weapons, and other various things. Ramadhir came into power by purchasing the mines of Wasseypur after India gained independence. He tells his works that they can either be paid or have room and board, not both. In turn, he burns their homes to the ground. From the viewer’s perspective, this is terribly unjust.

Then, we flash forward and see Sardar Khan. Early on, we see him as a low-level gangster seeking revenge against Ramadhir for killing his father, Shahid Khan. Shahid spoke out against the exploitation of laborers brought on by Ramdhir, ultimately leading to his death. It is when we see Sardar begin to gain power by way of corruption that things begin to go sour. He begins taking out members of the Qureishi, looting trains, purchasing weapons, etc. In the four episodes, this arc reaches its climax when he decides to “go legit”; that is, rather than gain wealth and power by way killing, he chooses to do so by extortion. He purchases all the ponds in Wasseypur, forcing the fisherman to give their profits to him. Likewise, throughout the span of the series, we see the toll his personal vendetta takes on his family life. He is forced to choose between a life within or outside of Wasseypur. He chooses to leave the city, ultimately leaving behind Durga and his son. In turn, she chooses to conspire against him, working with Ramadhir. This leads to the end of Episode 4, where Sardar is violently shot by several members of the Qureishi. I find this is not done coincidentally. Rather than focus on his main objective, Sardar tell’s his brothers that he’s had enough of all the conflict with Ramadhir. He overlooks the aim of his father, which was to end the oppression by Ramadhir Singh on the mine workers of Wasseypur. Instead, through extortion of the working class, Sardar focuses to build his power and wealth, leading to an attempt on his life. This strongly parallels the arc of Ramadhir Singh.

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