Thoughts on Untouchable

After reading Untouchable, I was surprised by how many interesting subjects were spanned in such a short novel. One of the main things I noticed were the extreme highs and lows Bakha experiences throughout the novel. For instance, at one moment he is overcome with self-pity for the incident where he bumps into a high-caste man, but at the next moment he is elated for receiving a hockey stick from Charat Singh.

I am also interested to hear people’s opinions on the end of the novel. The novel culminates with Gandhi’s address about Untouchability. Bakha is moved by Gandhi’s sympathy, but at the same time doesn’t understand where to go from here. Bakha asks “Did he mean, then, that I should go on scavenging” (156)? Because Bakha is both enthused and confused about Gandhi’s message I wonder whether the author, Mulk Raj Anand, is optimistically looking forward to the reform of the caste system or whether he is doubtful of the prospects of equality because of a general lack of understanding.


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