Untouchable

“He halted suddenly, and facing the shopkeeper with great humility, joined his hands and begged to know where he could put a coin to pay for a packet of „Red  Lamp‟. The shopkeeper pointed to a spot on the board near him. Bakha put his anna there. The betel-leaf-seller dashed some water over it from the jug with which he sprinkled the betel leaves now and again. Having thus purified it he picked up the nickel piece and threw it into the counter. Then he flung a packet of „Red Lamp‟ cigarettes at Bakha, as a butcher might throw a bone to an instant dog sniffing round the corner of his shop.”

Anand, Mulk Raj. Untouchable. (New York: Penguin Books, 1940). 42.

This passage really sums up the caste system and shows how social interactions and much of life was really affected. Even today, the caste system is still much in place. My sister worked for a non-profit who built wells in villages that did not have access to clean water. She learned that because of the caste system higher class citizens already had access to clean water while lower class citizens did not and did not have many opportunities to pull themselves up.