what aspects of colonial india are reflected in the novel untouchable?

mulk anands novel

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The situation of untouchables and the aspects of colonial life that are reflected in this novel are crucial to the understanding of caste dynamics. Anand addresses the problems of the untouchables, and in turn presents a vital contribution to studies of India, Hinduism, human rights, history, sociology and anthropology.

Untouchability is a condition of birth that stigmatizes and ostracizes as many as one hundred and forty million people. People born as Untouchables remain on the bottom of the socioeconomic scale with no hope of escape. They work in low skilled, no education required jobs. Entrance into the temples is forbidden to them; more often than not they are forced to beg for food; their chests must remain uncovered at all times, and public humiliation is a part of their every day lives.

This novel addresses the problems related to untouchability by providing the reader with an overview of the subject. It also contains as penetrating insights into the social and religious origins that impacted life in colonial India. Anands is persuasive in his depiction of the Untouchable condition, affording us and inside look at a group of people who have no place either inside or outside of society. They are indispensable to the colonial culture, and yet reviled by all castes. The aspects addressed here aren't pretty, but they are addressed.