Tag Archives: mulk raj anand

Untouchable, but organic

“…He seemed a true child of the outcaste colony, where there are no drains, no light, no water; of the marshland where people live among the latrines of the townsmen, and in the stink of their own dung scattered about here, there and everywhere; of the world where the day is dark as the night and the night pitch-dark. He had wallowed in its mire, bathed in its marshes, played among its rubbish-heaps; his listless, lazy, lousy manner was a result of his surroundings. He was the vehicle of a life-force, the culminating point in the destiny of which would never come, because malaria lingered in his bones, and that disease does not kill but merely dissipates the energy. He was a friend of the flies and the mosquitoes, their boon companion since his childhood” (84).

Anand, Mulk Raj. New York, New York: Penguin Books, 1935. Print.

notes: the role of environment, “nature”, of the complexity of this character

Untouchable

“Bakha’s turban fell off and the jalebis in the paper bag in his hand were scattered in the dust. He stood aghast. Then his whole countenance lit with fire and his hands were no more joined. Tears welled up in his eyes and rolled down his cheeks. The strength, the power of his giant body glistened with the desire for revenge in his eyes, while horror, rage, indignation swept over his frame. In a moment he had lost all his humility, and he would have lost his temper too, but the man who had struck him the blow had slipped beyond reach into the street. (50)

Anand, Mulk Raj. Untouchable. London: Penguin, 1935. Print.

It feels like this is the same as the way his father treats him, and how he feels being in the untouchable caste. It reinforces his low position, but emphasizes that he does not feel worthy of such treatment. He works hard, yet can’t seem to rise above his class. If the man hadn’t gotten away, I wonder what would have happened. Even his behavior wearing white men’s clothes, smoking and indulging in candy makes him seem sinful, trying to be what he is not.

Untouchable

“As he sauntered along a spark of some intuition suddenly set him ablaze. He was fired with a desire to burst out from the shadow of silence and obscurity in which he lay enshrouded.” pg. 95. Anand, Mulk Raj. Untouchable. London: Penguin Group, 1940. Print.

“But there was a smouldering rage in his soul.” pg. 51.

“Quickly it flared up, suddenly illuminating the furnace with its leaping red,’ gold and black flames, an angry consuming power, something apart, something detached from the heaps of straw it fed on.” pg 21.

Fire. The last quote describes the furnace that Bakha puts the latrine refuse in to get rid of it. The first two quotes describe a fire inside of Bakha, one that rages and dies down throughout his day as he deals with endless discrimination. I think it is a perfect metaphor. Bakha has reached an age where the caste system and his fate are being illuminated for him.

Untouchable

“But Bakha was a child of modern India. The clean-cut styles of European dress had impressed his naive mind. This stark simplicity had furrowed his old Indian consciousness and cut deep new lines where all the considerations which made India evolve a skirty costume as best fitted for the human body, lay dormant.” (10)

Notes: I like how this passage clearly distinguishes Bakha as someone from modern India as opposed to an older more traditional India, like his father. It shows how colonialism has made a deep impression on Bakha’s mind beginning through things such as clothing.

 

Cold Nights

“The nights had been cold, as they always are in the town of Bulashah, as cold as the days are hot. And though, both during winter and summer, he slept with his day clothes on, the sharp, bitter wind that blew from the brook at dawn had penetrated to his skin, past the inadequate blanket, through the regulation overcoat, breeches, puttees and ammunition boots of the military uniform that clothed him.” (page 10)

This quote really makes the reader understand what he is going through. This quotes tells the reader the environment Bakha is living in, it gives us a visual of his situation. I feel as if Bakha is very uncomfortable about his arrangement, but he sleeps with his day clothes on still.

Notes: uncomfortable; cold dark nights, but hot days; military lifestyle