Mumtaz is the main “villain” or antagonist in the book Sold. she is the one who bought Lakshmi at the age of twelve and made a profit off of her by letting older men rape her, along with everyone else in the Happiness House. She puts Lakshmi through a lot physically and mentally, like lying about how much Lakshmi needs to pay until she can leave,threatening Lakshmi that she’ll put hot chills in her underparts, starving her, beating her until every inch of her body was red.
When Lakshmi first arrives at the Happiness House she describes Mumtaz as a heavy woman with “folds of flesh looking like roti dough”, with a plump face similar to an over ripe mango, with a “bloom of hair on her upper lip”.I believe that this shows that Mumtaz has a large income, because it seems like she eats well and can buy what she wants, while starving people like Shipla, who is described as having “red-thin boy” and “hollow cheeks of an old woman” in the chapter titled Ten Thousand Rupees.
Personally I find Mumtaz is extremely is manipulative, selfish, devious, and unsympathetic and I hope you can agree. When Lakshmi asks if she could leave soon Mumtaz says “As soon as you pay off the twenty thousand thousand rupees I paid for you” and “If you try to run away…I will grid hot chilies and put them in your private parts”. she threatens Lakshmi a terrible consequences if she tries to leave manipulating her so she has no choice but to stay, and Lakshmi did the math her self, he would only have to pay half of she owes Mumtaz. She even added more money to Lakshmi’s debt when she got ill, because of the medicine, ” You’ll be able to work off the cost of the medicine in a few days”.
Even though I don’t enjoy the character I got to give credit where credit is due, Mumtaz can be resourceful and intelligent. When she payed the goondas and police officer off she was planning ahead, knowing that there’s a chance that she would get caught. Also she doesn’t give the girls any protection in the hope that they will get pregnant, so she can make more money off the women.
Mumtaz is a very interesting character because after i finished the book i still want to know more about her. Some questions I had after the book include when did Mumtaz start this business, why did she start, who was her first worker, and was she once a worker herself? I applaud the author, Patricia McCormick for making such a fascinating, unlikable character.