India- the untouchables
Mulk Raj Anand (1905-2004) is one of the first writers who used Indian English and became worldly known. His works are influenced by Marx and Mahatma Gandhi and deal with poverty and the condition of women, of the untouchables and of all those who suffer because of social and economic injustice. His main novels are The Untouchable (1935), The Village (1939), Across the Black Waters (1940),The Sword and the Sickle (1942),
The Untouchable is his first literary success. The source is autobiographical: his aunt met a Muslim person and then was treated as an outcast by his family.
The plot revolves around (ruota intorno) a day in the life of Bakha, an 18 year-old boy who cleans latrines in pre-independence
. Bakha is full of enthusiasm and but, as he belongs to (appartiene) the lowest caste, he must beg for food (chiedere la carità), and he often faces humiliation, at the mercy of the higher caste, the hindus.
During the day described, Bakha is hit in public because he has touched a hindu, a person throws him (getta addosso il suo cibo) his food, his sister is molested by a priest, and he is sent out of his house by his father.
The story shows the three possible ways an untouchable has to get out of his situation: he can become Christian, a religion which does not recognize the system of castes; he can follow Ghandy’s doctrine who wants to let untouchables free or, the best one for Anand, a solution can be technology, in the form of the newly introduced flush toilet ( gabinetto con schiacquone) that may be his liberator by eliminating the need for a caste of toilet cleaners.