Explain how Bakha is the hero of the novel, Untouchable.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Bakha is the hero of Anand's work because he represents the need to transform society from what it is to what it can be.  Bakha might not possess the heroic qualities of Odysseus or other heroes like him, yet Bakha is heroic because of his endurance and unwillingness to surrender a transformative vision of the future.  Through Bakha's eyes, the reader understands how horrific the caste system is.  Bakha never succumbs to the reality that stresses how content he has to be with his lot in being.  He strives to be more, to do more, and to conceive of a world where there is more for him.  Bakha is heroic because he battles through adversaries, obstacles, and conditions that represent the height of oppression.  Bakha is the hero of the novel because it is through him that the reader understands the nature of the lesson being taught in that there has to be a fundamental change in the caste- driven society of India.  Bakha teaches this lesson through bringing us into what he endures.  The treatment he endures because of his caste, the hypocrisy he sees, as well as the yearning for a life that is fundamentally better than what he experiences because of a caste that was not his creation is where Bakha is elevated into a hero.  He is not a swashbuckler.  He is not a figure of intense strength.  Yet,  Bakha is a modern hero because he endures life with a call to transform it through what he must persevere.  It is in this where I think that we can see Bakha as a hero and where he is the hero in Anand's work.