“Then he picked up a long poker and prodded the fire. Quickly it flared up, suddenly illuminating the furnace with its leaping red, gold, and black flames, an angry consuming power, something apart, something detached from the heaps of straw it fed on.”
Anand, Mulk Raj. Untouchable. New York: Penguin Group, 2014. Print. p.20
In this passage the fire seems to be representative of an imperialist nation. The description of “an angry consuming power” would be the view of a colonized people towards the imperialist nation controlling them, such as Bakha’s people towards the Tommies. The duality of the phrase “something detached from the heaps of straw it fed on” is interesting as it could be interpreted as either the fire using the straw as kindling, or the imperialist nation feeding off of the colony it has taken control of.