Untouchable: Part 1 (Pages 11-17) - Summary

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The Outcastes’ Colony

      The outcastes’ colony was a group of mud walled houses situated outside the town and, was inhabited by washermen, the leather workers and the scavengers of Bulandshahr. The houses are clustered together in two rows, under the shadow of the town and the cantonment, but outside their boundaries and separate from them. A brook ran near the lane with crystal clear waters now soiled by the dirt and filth of the public latrines situated about it, the odour of the hides and skins of the dead carcasses left to dry on its banks, dung of donkeys, sheep, horses, cows and buffaloes heaped up to be made into fuel cakes. The absence of a drainage system had, through the rains of various seasons, made a quarter of marsh which gave out the most offensive smell and hardly fit for human dwelling. Bakha, who inhabits one of the one roomed houses is a scavenger and is, therefore, subjected to clean three rows of latrines which lined the extreme end of the colony by the brook-side. Bakha is distinguished from typical scavengers because of longer association with the army barracks and it has acquainted him with the way the British Tommies live. Bakha becomes an anglophile. His passion for the English fashion is outstanding and a rare phenomenon amongst the untouchables. He sleeps on the floor and covers himself with a blanket because he considers it his insult to use an Indian quilt. He nurses and cherishes his every desire for exotic English articles and English dress.

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