Untouchable

“Bakha felt the keen edge of his sense of anticipation draw before his eyes the horrible prospect of all the future days of service in the town and the insults that would come from them. He could see himself being shouted at by a crowd; he could see a little priest fling his arms in the air and cry, ‘defiled, defiled.’ He could see the lady who had thrown the bread down at him reprimanding him for not cleaning the gutter. “No, no,’ his mind seemed to say…”

Mulk Raj Anand. Untouchable. (New York: Penguin Books, 1940). 77-78.

Bakha’s father just told him that he should make an effort to get to know the townspeople because he has to work for them for “the rest of your life”. This moment of realization, that he would have to spend the rest of his life on the receiving end of this kind of abuse, strikes him kind of numb. His mind floods with the events that just happened, and they all collectively remind him that that is his life. He is doomed to this life of “untouchable-ness”. “He could see himself”, putting himself at an outside perspective of what’s happening. He’s shocked. He’s scared. He’s almost in denial

Leave a Reply