“Not that he shirked work or really liked doing nothing. For, although he didn’t know it, to him work was a sort of intoxication which gave him a glowing health and plenty of easy sleep. So he worked on continuously, incessantly, without stopping for breath, even though the violent exertion of his limbs was making him gasp.”
Anand, Mulk Raj. Untouchable. New York: Penguin Group, 2014. Print. 18.
I found this particular part very interesting as the work that Bakha did functioned as something that gave him glowing health and easy sleep. It says “although he didn’t know it” which means that Bakha did not know it acted like an intoxication however, he continued to do it and not complain about it for he knew it benefitted him in some way (glowing health and easy sleep). I also found it interesting because it’s as if he slept to work hard and then worked hard in order to get easy sleep.
“All of them abused, abused, abused why are we always abused? The sanitary inspector that day abused my father. They always abuse us. Because we are sweepers. Because we touch dung. They hate dung. I am a sweeper, sweeper-untouchable I am an untouchable!”
Anand, Mulk Raj. Untouchable. London: Penguin 1935
A prominent moment of confession from Bakha. One can feel while he is reading the stir and fluctuation of feelings and emotions within the protagonist. Simultaneously, becoming more and more aware of social subjugation and despotism in other parts of the world.
“But he worked unconsciously. This forgetfulness or emptiness persisted in him over long periods. It was a sort of insensitivity created in him by the kind of work he had to do, a tough skin which must be a shield against all the most awful sensations.”
Anand, Mulk Raj. Intouchable
It’s interesting to see how Bakha immunizes himself when he works, as if a part of his mind shut down to accomplish his tasks. As if he was detaching his mind from his body to forget his condition.
“But the nights! ‘I must get another blanket,’ he said to himself. ‘Then father won’t ask me to put the quilt on. He always keeps abusing me. He is happy when they call him Jemadar. So proud of his izzat! He just goes about getting salaams from everybody. I don’t take a moment’s rest and yet he abuses me. And if I go to play with the boys he calls me in the middle of a game to attend the latrines. He is old. He doesn’t know anything of the sahibs. And now he will call me to get up, and it is so cold. He will keep lying in bed and Rakha and Sohini will still be asleep, when I go to the latrines.'” (12).
Anand, Mulk Raj. Untouchable. New York: Penguin Group, 2014. Print. 12.
After ending the sentence nights with an exclamation, the author begins a shift in order to get into the mind of Bakha himself which is filled with direct discourse since he uses I to get his point across along with a tone that is filled with hatred-bitterness for his father based on he way he abuses him. Just by Bakha describing how his father is proud of his izzat, it seems like there is hatred within that sentence just by reading it since his father believes his title gives him some type of upper class status, but in reality it does not since it all depends on the caste system. Soon after the author shifts back to third person narration once more.
“So he tried to copy them in everything, to copy them as well as hecould in the exigencies of his peculiarly Indian circumstances” (11).
Anand, Mulk Raj. Untouchable. New York: Penguin Group, 2014. Print.
This refers to Bakha’s desire to be more than solely a member of the untouchable caste. By copying the wardrobes of those of higher rank than him, both within Indian and British society, Bakha is showing a sense of admiration and urge to be a part of a different group than his own. From the beginning of the work, his family does not understand his reasoning behind this because although he wears the same attire, he is not reaping any rewards from the act regardless.
And though his job was dirty he remained comparatively clean. He didn’t even soil his sleeves, handling the commodes, sweeping and scrubbing them. ‘A bit superior to his job,’ they always said…
Havildar Charat Singh, who had the Hindu instinct for immaculate cleanliness, was puzzled when he emerged from his painful half an hour in the latrines and caught sight of Bakha. Here was a low-cast man who seemed clean! He became rather self-concious, the prejudice of the ‘twice-born’ high-caste Hindu against stink, even though he saw not the slightest suspicion of it in Bakha, rising into his mind. He smiled complacently. Then, however, he forgot his high caste and the ironic smile on his face became a childlike laugh.
Anand, Mulk Raj. Untouchable. New York: Penguin Group, 2014. 9-10. Print.
Bakha is naïve in that he believes his English appearance and cleanliness will give him respect. This is contrasted with Singh’s high-caste smugness against Bakha’s status. Still, we see that Bakha’s image does make Singh uneasy seeing his clean appearance.