Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly's Reviews > Untouchable

Untouchable by Mulk Raj Anand
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's review
Apr 03, 2012

really liked it
Read in April, 2012

Forget about Batman, Superman or the Hulk. They are all just comic book super heroes. This is the real deal. Enlarge the picture in the book's cover so you can get a good look at him, the photo courtesy of the India Office Library and Records. A flesh and blood Untouchable with god-given superhuman powers. Here are some amazing things he is capable of:

1. He can part a throng of people with just the words: "Posh, posh, sweeper coming!" as he comes carrying his broom (cf. Moses with his stick, parting the Red Sea);

2. Just by his touch, whether done intentionally or accidentally, another person would become very angry and will call him a dog, a swine, a cock-eyed son of a bow-legged scorpion, an offspring of a pig, and so on;

3. With the same touch, even with his smallest finger, he can defile another person so that even if the latter is on his way to an important appointment and is running late, for example, he'll have to go back home to wash and purify himself;

4. His powers are carried over also by the inanimate objects he touches. If he's buying something from a store, for example, the vendor will first ask him to put his money on a bowl, which shall then be purified by washing it with water, before the vendor shall handle it;

5. He passes on his magical powers to his children; and

6. He can live without hope, be dead inside yet do his predestined chores. Look at him: his bare feet, his shapeless pants, the rags he wears, his cheap turban, his basket where he puts in the dung and dirt he sweeps from the street and collects from latrines. He is not bad-looking, physically, with his athletic built, his height, his finely-shaped nose, full lips--but look at his eyes. A lifeless pair, turned into stone by the misery of his fate. He is the lowest of the low-caste Untouchables of India; street-sweeper, latrine-cleaner, collector of human and animal waste.

This is a novel about this superhero named Bakha (quite appropriate: "Baka" in Tagalog is cow, and cows are the holiest of animals in India). But this is more than just a story of a day in his life. This is a novel about a superhero written by another superhero:, Mulk Raj Anand--he who has this other super power called Compassion. He could not have seen Bakha for what he really was, and write about him with controlled fury, if he did not have this divine gift.

The most extraordinary feats in human history are achieved not by the strong but by those with Compassion.
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02/05/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Owlseyes (new)

Owlseyes great,compassion as writing inspiration...

message 2: by Mirvan (new) - added it

Mirvan  Ereon i'll trade this for my book that u want =P hahaha

Petra Eggs I liked how you reviewed this book, very original.

I didn't like the book as much as you.

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