Untouchable by Mulk Raj Anand is my second book for the #DiscoveringIndiaReadathon challenge for book set is pre-independence era.
The book was first published in the year 1935. The later editions have a preface written by English novelist E.M.Foster. In his words,
“The sweeper is worse off than a slave, for the slave may change his master and his duties and may even become free, but the sweeper in bound for ever, born into a state from which he cannot escape and where he is excluded from social intercourse and the consolations of his religion. Unclean himself, he pollutes others when he touches them. They have to purify themselves, and to rearrange their plans for the day. Thus he is a disquieting as well as a disgusting object to the orthodox a she walks along the public roads, and it is his duty to call out and warn them that he is coming.”
“Untouchable could only have been written by an Indian, and by an Indian who observed from the outside. No European, however sympathetic, could have created the character of Bakha, because he would not have known enough about his troubles. And no Untouchable could have written the book, because he would have been involved in indignation and self-pity.”
The story is set in fictional Indian town of Bulashah, describes a day in the life of a sweeper, Bakha, a young man of eighteen and son of Lakha, the Jamdar (head or foreman) of all sweepers in Bulashah, and officially in charge of three rows of public latrines lined in the extreme end of colony.
But still Bakha is a sweeper boy, an outcaste and the lowest in the hierarchy of all outcasts. Bakha’s day starts with his father yelling at him to get out of bed and clean the latrines.Over the course of Bakha’s day various major and minor tragedies occur.
This books give a very raw and cruel picture of lives of the Untouchables in pre-independent India.
Complete review will be posted in the coming week.
For updates on readathon you can visit the insta feeds on these guys, Aritri Chatterjee , Ankita Daiya ,Padmaja Phatak and harpercollinsin. You can find more about it by looking for hashtag #DiscoveringIndiaReadathon in instagram. Visit The Last Leaf box to know more about #thelastleafboxcampaign and join the campaign.