“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.