Nov 11, 10
Read in September, 2010
This book is a rare glimpse into the Hindu society of India before 1950's. A graphic tale of a social evil that will forever prick the collective conscience of our country. The story of an eventful day in the life of Bakha; an untouchable, someone living at the fringes of the Hindu society.
Bakha is a young man with zest for life, yet struggling as a latrine cleaner. A profession that places him among the lower most rung of Hindu hierarchy. On this eventful day everything that could go wrong goes wrong for Bakha. Despite a tough morning at the latrines, he gets slapped for touching a high caste Hindu. He receives no food for his work. He is blamed for things he is not responsible. Just as he wonders about his life’s condition he encounters three different personalities and their remedies for untouchability. A Christian missionary that cannot convince him about who Christ is, Mahatma Gandhi who says all Indians are equal, and a modernist poet who feels all that is needed to solve untouchability is a mere flush-system !!! Just as dusk falls he returns home with a hope that a change of times is ahead.
So graphic is Anand's story telling that the book felt like a bad-dream from start till the end. A must read for all Indians for there are lessons in the book that are relevant even today!!!!