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Untouchable (1935)

por Mulk Raj Anand

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7281930,573 (3.56)65
In Mulk Raj Anand's finest and most controversial novel he conveys precisely, with urgency and barely disguised fury, what it might feel like to be one of India's Untouchables. Bakha is a young man, a proud and even an attractive young man, but none the less he is an outcast in a system that is now only slowly changing and was then as cruel and debilitating as that of apartheid. Into this re-creation of one day in the life of Bakha, sweeper and latrine-cleaner, Anand poured a vitality, fire and richness of detail that have caused him to be acclaimed as his country's Charles Dickens as well as this century's greatest revealer of the 'other' India. 'It recalled to me very vividly the occasions I have walked 'the wrong way' in an Indian city and it is a way down which no novelist has yet taken me . . .' E.M. Forster 'One of the most eloquent and imaginative works to deal with this difficult and emotive subject' - Martin Seymour-Smith… (mais)
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Untouchable is an interesting peek into the life of one "untouchable", Bakha, through his eyes during the time span of a single day. To say his life is rough and pretty much hopeless would be an understatement. He cleans latrines and spends his days working very hard and begging. Anand shows the reader the many trials and travails these folks faced, and it's painful. In one instance, Bakha inadvertently touches someone from a higher caste, and the tumult that ensues is just awful. Sort of the way I might react if I encountered a big hairy tarantula on my face.

The book was a four star read for me until the end. I really empathized with Bakha and found his plight interesting. Anand shares his inner thoughts, and I found this very helpful when it came to seeing thing through his eyes.

Unfortunately, the ending felt rushed and while it was supposed to be hopeful, I definitely didn't find it emotionally moving. I don't want to spoil it, but it read quite differently than the rest of the tale, and for me, wasn't really uplifting, and also felt like a whole lot of "telling" as opposed to showing the reader how Bakha benefited from his encounters with Ghandi, a missionary, and a poet. Poorly conceived ending to an interesting book. ( )
  Anita_Pomerantz | Mar 23, 2023 |
The story of one day in the life of a 18 year old untouchable, from various abuses to a Gandhi rally focussing on his attempts to come to grips with his place in Indian society. ( )
  snash | Jan 13, 2023 |
Untouchable by Mulk Raj Anand was originally published in 1935. It is a short novel that depicts a day in the life of Bakha, a young "sweeper", who is classed as an untouchable due to his work of cleaning latrines and sweeping the streets. This story highlights the unjustness and inhumanity of the Indian caste system.

Over the course of this particular day various incidents occur that cause Bakha to question the system of oppression that he lives under. It is a day of being slapped, shouted at, and having crowds set against him. Getting no sympathy from his father, he spends the afternoon playing grass hockey with his friends. But when he carries a higher caste injured player home all he gets is more abuse. His father, angry at him for being gone all afternoon, throws him out and he finds himself at the train station listening to a speech by Mahatma Ghandi who talks about the plight of the Untouchables and how he would like to end the caste system. Bakha also overhears a couple educated men discussing Ghandi's speech and although he doesn't understand much of what has been said, he does hear them say that changes are coming and that there will soon be flushable toilets which sends him home with some hope for the future.

Untouchable was obviously written to show the lack of dignity given to the lower caste people of India. The author also seems to pointing out the upcoming clash between modernity and tradition. The story also brought home to me my own ignorance about the caste system and how it affected all levels of society. I had never realized before that the caste system was followed by the Hindus while the Muslims did not. Untouchable was an easily read story filled with well described images that gave the book a feeling of authenticity. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Dec 5, 2022 |
Bakha is a young Untouchable, at an age where passion and reason battle fiercely and rebellion is difficult to contain. Through the adventures of a day, we see the contrasts of his life - his social condition, his familial predicament, his precious humanity. Anand thus walks us through all the emotions from servility to righteous anger, as this young man navigates life's unfairness.
The conclusion is a hopeful one: Gandhi, who preaches unity and independence, and modernity which is knocking at India's door both carried by the heavy gusts of wind, lead us to believe that Bakha can have a better future... the question that remains is, will he (Bakha) have the enduring courage to see it through. ( )
  Cecilturtle | Oct 1, 2021 |
I enjoyed this book. It's a good topic to learn about. ( )
  Linde1 | Apr 30, 2020 |
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In Mulk Raj Anand's finest and most controversial novel he conveys precisely, with urgency and barely disguised fury, what it might feel like to be one of India's Untouchables. Bakha is a young man, a proud and even an attractive young man, but none the less he is an outcast in a system that is now only slowly changing and was then as cruel and debilitating as that of apartheid. Into this re-creation of one day in the life of Bakha, sweeper and latrine-cleaner, Anand poured a vitality, fire and richness of detail that have caused him to be acclaimed as his country's Charles Dickens as well as this century's greatest revealer of the 'other' India. 'It recalled to me very vividly the occasions I have walked 'the wrong way' in an Indian city and it is a way down which no novelist has yet taken me . . .' E.M. Forster 'One of the most eloquent and imaginative works to deal with this difficult and emotive subject' - Martin Seymour-Smith

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