In novel “Untouchable”, author has shown some dark reality of caste discrimination among Hindus in India. The book has flawlessly captured the suffering of lower caste people among Hindus.
UNTOUCHABLE BY MULK RAJ ANAND
Untouchable is a novel published in 1935 by famous Indian Author Mulk Raj Anand. The Story of novel revolves around a character named Bakha, a boy who work as a sweeper. The story begins with Bakha getting ready for another day of cleaning washroom. While he was getting ready for his work Bakha’s father named Lakha came in and started shouting at him like why you are not going at your work. The relation between Bakha and his father is not good, it’s because Bakha mother is no more and second reason is Lakha is very lazy man, he always pass his work to Bakha.
Bakha lives in north Indian town Bulashah in a house made up of mud and cow dung and he has one room in a house where all the family members live together.
Bakha family consist of four member, a father, one sister named sohini and one brother named Rakha. Bakha has only two works in his life, one is cleaning the toilets of upper caste family and second is get daily abuse by his father. Bakha’s father is head of sweeping community in a town which means he gives orders to all the sweepers in a town.
The story has one more character named Charat Singh, a famous hockey player who does not believe in caste discrimination like others. He does not misbehave with Bakha who work as a toilet cleaner in his house. On seeing Bakha cleaning his toilet, he was impressed by his work and promise him to give one Hockey stick as a gift. He ask Bakha to come to his house in evening and he will be happy to give him Hockey stick as a gift. Bakha on Charat gift gets very happy and felt grateful to him also.
After completing his work shift Bakha goes back to his home to drink water and found no water to drink. He ask his sister for water, she told him to wait five minutes so that she can fetch the water from well for him. At that time no outcasts was allowed to take water directly from well as upper caste people believe if they will fetch the water directly from well it will pollute their well water. When Sohini goes to take water from well she saw a big line of women from her caste standing in line waiting for someone to fetch the water from well.
There comes one more character, a Pundit names Kalinath who gets physically attracted towards the beauty of Sohini. He tries to persuade her by helping her in fetching water from the well and in returns he orders her to come to mandir for cleaning. As Sohini doesn’t know about the bad intention of Pundit Kalinath, she agrees to clean the Mandir.
The Story now jumps to Bakha who is cleaning the streets and by mistake he step on upper caste Brahmin Hindu’s foot. The Brahmin Hindu of upper caste starts screaming at Bakha and starts beating him hard because his touch has polluted him. One Muslim businessman came to resolve the fight between Bakha and upper caste Hindu. Bakha had to say sorry to Brahmin just for touching his feet.
After a while when Bakha was going home, he hears a news that his sister Sohini is sexually assaulted by Pundit Kali Nath. He goes to a temple and saw his sister coming out of the temple crying. She tells the occurrence to his brother. The priest instead of saying sorry, starts yelling and blaming Sohini for touching him and polluting him. Bakha and his sister Sohini can’t do anything because of their lower caste, so Bakha ask his sister to go home.
Untouchable By Mulk Raj Anand Summary
As the story moves forward we find that Bakha is hungry now he doesn’t have anything to eat so he spends his remaining day in begging for food. When Bakha was begging he faced lots of degradation from upper caste Brahamin. Bakha is disheartened and felt depressed that why he is born into a lower caste community. He can’t even take revenge on people who behave badly with him. As he is from lower caste community there is no justice for him in India. The only best thing happen to Bakha is he visits Charat Singh’s home who promised him in morning to give Hockey stick. The hockey stick helps Bakha in getting some relieve from his day to day problems.
With his new Hockey stick he decides to go to play Hockey match with his old friends. What happens during match is when Bakha was playing, a fight starts between two teams in which Bakha’s friend gets bruised. Bakha help his friend and takes him to his mother but his friend’s mother starts misbehaving with Bakha for polluting her with his touch. Bakha feels very sad because of his friend’s mother misbehavior. He leave his friend’s house and starts walking on village where he encounter a white man named Colonel Hutchinson. Colonel Hutchinson invites Bakha to his church to change his religion from lower caste Hindu to Christian. But colonel’s wife does not like this idea of changing Bakha’s religion and she forbid him to go to church. Here one more time we saw Bakha is rejected by colonel’s wife because he belongs to lower caste.
In the end of novel, Bakha reaches a political party of Mahatma Gandhi. He feels happy on listening to the news of Gandhi Ji, as Mahatma Gandhi is criticizing a caste discrimination and untouchability in India. Mahatma Gandhi wants his country to be free from caste discrimination and untouchability. After a while Bakha hears a conversation between a lawyer and poet. Here in talk lawyers mention to poet that toilet with flush are coming soon to India and when the new innovation will come sweepers don’t have to clean the toilets. The novel story ends with Bakha telling his father and sister about the new innovation of washroom.
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