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Mulk Raj Anand's celebrated novel Untouchable deals with the social curse of untouchability in Pre-Independence India. It narrates the sufferings and humiliations of an 18-year-old boy, Bakha, born in a low-caste and serving as a toilet-sweeper. Operating at different levels of the society and causing wide-spread unease, Bakha exposes as well as critiques the hypocritical status quo in the Indian society.
The theme of this novel is the evil of untouchability in India; and the novel records the experiences of an eighteen year old sweeper-boy in the course of asingle day in a town to which Anand has given the name Bulandshahr. The sweeper boy's name is Bakha. His work of keeping the public latrines of the town clean is not only very tedious and laborious but also most degrading because it exposes him to the contempt ou the caste Hindu and renders him an untouchable. This novel shows Anand's sympathies with the underdog in India, and his humanitarian and reformist zeal because it was evidently written by him to awaken the conscience of the upper caste in the country. The novel employs partly the traditional method of narration but partly also the new technique of the steam of consciousness which was then gaining acceptance, having originally been employed by James Joyce in his novel, Ulysses.
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