Anand, “Untouchable”: The Proletariat

“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” (18).

Anand, Mulk Raj. Untouchable. London: Penguin, 1940.

Bhaka dissociates his mind from his body through his work. Perhaps this is a sort of defense mechanism¬† (“a shield”) against reality .

Anand, “Untouchable.” Topic: The Proletariat

“He could not overstep the barriers which the conventions of his superiors had built up to protect their weakness against him. He could not invade the magic circle which protects a priest from attack by anybody, especially by a low-caste man. So in the highest moment of his strength, the slave in him asserted itself, and he lapsed back, wild with torture, biting his lips, ruminating his grievances” (Anand 54).

Anand, Mulk Raj. Untouchable. London: Penguin, 1940.

even though the priest sexually assaulted his sister, hierarchy keeps him from retaliating, keeps Sohini from recieving justice, “magic circle”

Untouchable: The Proletariat Cycle of Dependency

“The outcastes were not allowed to mount the platform surrounding the well, because if they were ever to draw water from it, the Hindus of the three upper castes would consider the water polluted. Nor were they allowed access to the near- by brook as their use of it would contaminate the stream. They had no well of their own because it cost at least a thousand rupees to dig a well in such a hilly town as Bulashah. Perforce they had to collect at the foot of the caste Hindus’ well and depend on the bounty of some of their superiors to pour water into their pitchers” (Anand, 20).

Anand , Mulk Raj. Untouchable . London, United Kingdom: Penguin Books, 1940.

This passage symbolizes the cycle vulnerability and dependency enforced on the proletariat. The only way poor people can get water is with the help and permission of higher caste members. They can’t get it for themselves because they are “dirty”, and they can’t make their own well as they have no money. They live and die by those who have money, and the only way they can ever have anything, even that which they need to survive, is by the “generosity” of those who have already depraved them of everything. It’s a cycle that reinforces the idea that they are weak and need the rich to survive, and it allows for the rich to comfortable keep their power and money without fear of retaliation.