Untouchable

“But he kept up his new form, rigidly adhering to his clothes day and night and guarding them from all base taint of Indianness, not even risking the formlessness of an Indian quilt, though he shivered with the cold at night”

Mulk Raj Anand, Untouchable (New York: Penguin Books, 1940), 12

Untouchable

“Luckily for the crowd of outcastes, however, there was another man coming a little way behind, no less a person than Pundit Kali Nath, one of the priests in charge of the temple in the town.”

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

This quote stood out to me mainly because of the double play of the word “outcaste” here and throughout the novel referring to being outcasts of society as well as being on the outside of India’s caste system.

Untouchable

“Like a ray of light shooting through the darkness, the recognition of his position, the significance of his lot dawned upon him. It illuminated the inner chambers of his mind. Everything that had happened to him traced its course up to this light and got the answer.”

Mulk Raj Anand, Untouchable (New York: Penguin Books, 1940), 52.

I think prior to this scene, Bakha identified his sweeper status as something that dictated his everyday duties, not something that “touched” his inner self or defined his character. But in writing that the light, or Bakha’s “recognition of his position,” had “illuminated the inner chambers of his mind,” Anand illustrates that Bakha has internalized others’ views of himself as “untouchable.” His sweeper status and the way the upper castes and non-sweeper outcastes treat him aren’t just external forces to him anymore, as they have now corrupted his own sense of self.