Gulabo: Character Analysis in Untouchable

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      Gulabo is a minor-character. She appears in the novel as a lady of easy virtue. She is a real life character, loud-mouthed, and known for her illicit relation with a Hindu gentleman. Her language, feelings and almost all characteristic traits have been depicted by Anand in such an artistic way that she seems a living character.

      The following excerpt from Untouchable depicts her character and gives an insight into her psyche:

“Gulabo, the Washerwoman, the mother of Ram Charan, her brother’s friend, had observed Sohini approach. She was a fair-complexioned, middle-aged woman, the regularity of whose supple body bore even in its decay the evidence of a form which must, in her youth, have been wonderful. But although her face was now covered with wrinkles she had presentations to beauty and was notorious as an assertive hussy who thought herself superior to every other outcaste, firstly because she claimed a high place in the hierarchy of the castes among the low castes, secondly because a well-known Hindu gentleman in the town who had been her lover in her youth was still kind to her in her middle age.”

      Gulabo is jealous of Sohini because she visualises her potential rival in her delicate features. Anand writes, ‘‘Now Sohini being of the lowest caste among the outcastes, would naturally be looked down upon by Gulabo. The delicate features of her rising beauty had inflamed Gulabo’s body. The girl was a potential rival. Gulabo hated the very sight of her innocent, honest face, though she would not confess, even to herself, that she was jealous of the sweeper girl. But she unconsciously betrayed her feeling in the mockery and lighthearted abuse with which she greeted Sohini.”

      Gulabo is marked for her indecent, vulgar and obscene diction which reveal her pre-occupation with promiscuous past. She is used to utter indecent and vulgar words. She does not have civil manners and quite ignorant of how to behave with her youngers. Gulabo is a realistic and life-like character. She is very common to the outcdstes in Indian society. Without Gulabo, no writer can present the true picture of the outcaste-society. The following scene from Untouchable better supports the view:

      ‘Think of it ! Think of it ! Bitch ! Prostitute ! Wanton ! And your mother hardly dead. Think of laughing in my face, laughing at me who am old enough to be your mother. Bitch !’ the washerwoman exploded.

      Sohini laughed still more hilariously at the ridiculous abruptness of Gulabo’s abuse.

      ‘Ari, bitch ! Do you take me for a buffoon? What are you laughing at, slut? Aren’t you ashamed of showing your teeth to me in the presence of men, prostitute?’ shouted Gulabo. And she looked towards the old men and the little boys who were of the company.

      Sohini now realised that the woman was angry ‘But I haven’t done anything to annoy her’, she reflected. ‘She herself began it all and is abusing me. I didn’t pick the quarrel. I have more cause to be angry than she has.’

      ‘Bitch, why don’t you speak ! prostitute, why don’t you answer me?’ Gulabo insisted.

      ‘Please don’t abuse me’, the girl said, ‘I haven’t said anything to you.’

      You annoy me with your silence. Eater of dung and drinker of urine ! Bitch of a sweeper woman ! I will show you how to insult one old enough to be your mother.

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