Untouchable

“It seemed to suit him, to give a homogeneity, a wonderful wholeness to his body; so that you could turn round and say: ‘Here is a man.’ And it seemed to give him a nobility, strangely in contrast with his filthy profession and with the sub-human status to which he was condemned from birth.”

Mulk Raj Anand, Untouchable. (Penguin Books, 1935). 20

This declaration of manhood reminded me a lot of a medieval poem where a native man confronted a knight and asserted his manhood by saying being noble doesn’t make a man, actions make a man. This excerpt is the same. Bakha doesn’t inherit his low-born status, he can make himself whoever he wants to be.

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