Iqbal Nath Sarshar: Character Analysis in Untouchable

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      Iqbal Nath Sarshar makes his appearance towards the very end. He is a poet and editor of a journal called Nawan Yug. He is a progressive writer and condemns all social evils particularly untouchability He is aware of the East and the West. He does not follow either the East or the West without reason. He condemns slavish imitation of both the East or the West. The basic point to consider is humanism. Humanism is above all interests. The British people repudiates Indian philosophy of maya (illusion). The philosophy of illusion considers everything as unreal. But according to Iqbal, the Britishers are not justified in their opinion. Iqbal says that the Britishers must be conscious to the moral values. He is of the opinion that it is the moral obligation of the English to rule over the country for the upliftment of the Indians. But the irony is that the Government is extremely selfish and self-centered. They are rather mercenary. Whatever they do they do for their own interest.

      He detests and condemns untouchability and he is optimistic and anticipates that the evil of untouchability will be abolished. It is rooted in the caste system. He stressed the need of modernising Indian society by introducing the latest science and technology and by removing the conventional tools and applying more sophisticated ones. He believes that machines can bring more awareness, self-respect and dignity. He emphasised the use of machines to clean filth and latrines. This will free the untouchables from the stigma of untouchability.

      Mahatma Gandhi wants to purify the souls but Iqbal wants physical changes. If the ideologies of Gandhi and Iqbal go parallel the society will become worth living.

      Iqbal Nath Sarshar seems to be an avatar of social revolution: "We can see through the idiocy of these Europeans who deified money They were barbarians and lost their heads in the worship of gold. We can steer clear of the pitfalls, because we have the advantage of a race consciousness six thousand years old, a race consciousness which accepted all the visible and invisible values. We know life. We know its secret flow. We have danced to its rhythms. We have loved it, not sentimentally through personal feelings, but pervasively stretching ourselves from our hearts outwards so far, oh, so far, that life seemed to have no limits, that miracle seemed possible. We can feel new feelings. We can learn to be aware with a new awareness. We can envisage the possibility of creating new races from the latent heat in our dark brown bodies. Life is still an adventure for us. We are still eager to learn. We can not go wrong. Our enslavers muddle through things. We can see things clearly. We will go the whole hog with regard to machines while they nervously fumble their way with the steam engine. And we will keep our heads through it all. We will not become slaves to gold. We can be trusted to see life steadily and see it whole.

      Iqbal is not only a poet. He is a humanist, thinker, social reformer, educationists and a seer all in one. His greatness lies in his extraordinary knowledge of Upnaishads and Vedas. Iqbal says, "We have throughout our long history been realists, believing in the stuff of this world, in the here and the now, in the flesh and the blood. Man is born and reborn according to the Upanishads, in this world, and even when he becomes an immortal saint there is no release for him, because he forms the stuff of the cosmos and is born again. We don't believe in the other world, as the Europeans Would have you believe we do. There has been only one man in India who believed this world to be illusory-Shankaracharya. But he was a consumptive and that made him neurotic. Early Europea Scholars could not get hold of the original text of the Upanishads. So they kept on interpreting Indian thought from the commentaries of Shankaracharya."

      In brief, Iqbal is remarkable for his prosthetic vision, humanitarian approach to social problem, optimism, traditional and modern values.

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