Book: Untouchable


Books are constantly expanding your horizons and pushing boundaries. It’s always interesting to read books that give you a new perspective.  Untouchable does exactly that, by delving in the life of a sweep and latrine-cleaner who is part of the untouchable caste in India.

untouchable

 

By virtue of his family and their job, Bakha is an untouchable. An outcast of society. The book follows just one day of his life and how eventful it is. From cleaning the latrines to walking on the streets, the book constantly assaults the senses. There are a myriad of colours, of smells, of noise that is all around. Described so that we as the reader could live the same day as Bakha. Every detail of that day is laid bare before us. From the moment he wakes up till night when he returns. His every action, thought, feeling is conveyed to us. It’s a powerful story that get its point across. The abolition of the caste system.

Many events happen through out the day to display the injustice and the humiliation that Bakha has to endure as an Untouchable. These serve as an introduction to the caste system, to who the untouchables are and their life. But it’s only at the end of the book that we see some form of resolution. Bakha has had a long, painful day. He doesn’t want to be an Untouchable, and it is here, in the last few pages that he is presented with a solution.

Untouchable is a book that will make you feel. It will help you understand what life was like for the Untouchables then. Things have changed since then. Yet, discrimination still abounds in society around the world. Perhaps then, the real message of the book is to take a good hard look at the people around you and walk a mile in their shoes before judging them.

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