Untouchable

“‘Why aren’t the latrines clean, you rogue of a Bakhe! There is not one fit to go near! I have walked all around! Do you know you are responsible for my piles? I caught the contagion sitting on one of those unclean latrines!'” (9)

What is evident in class distinction from the beginning of the novel is how Bakha’s treatment is evidence of the way social hierachy is met with rigidity: noting how Havildar Charat Singh, the famous hockey player (9) who is addressing Bakha in this quotation, immediately dehumanizes him because he is of a much lower social class. The stratification of groups here is already solidified under the idea that there is a presumed quality of character to go along with the roles; how could Bakha even go about improving his life quality when all the people above him have no qualms with treating him like he deserves his place?

 

Untouchable

“The girl was a potential rival. Gulabo hated the very sight of her innocent, honest face, though she would not confess, even to herself, that she was jealous of the sweeper girl. But she unconsciously betrayed her feeling in the mockery and light-hearted abuse which she showered on Sohini. The consciousness of that prettiness which people’s compliments stimulated in her, made the young woman vaguely surmise it all”

Anand, Mulk R. Untouchable. London, England New York, N.Y: Penguin, 1986. Page 17.

Interestingly, Anand shows that there are very little that separates the two girls – in fact, Sohini was superior to Gulabo. Yet class works to both cement Sohini’s subjugation and to ease Gulabo’s insecurity.