Untouchable: Part 2 (Pages 17-25) - Summary

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A Morning with Bakha

      Ohe, Bakhya ! Ohe Bakhya ! Ohe scoundrel of a sweeper’s son ! Come and clean a latrine for me!’ Bakha is rudely awakened that morning to resume his routine work. He is sincere and punctual in his work though his father is always scolding him. He treats him with least affection and after his mother’s demise his father becomes more ego-centric and egoist. Bakha’s mother used to be compassionate, over-indulging. During his mother’s life, Bakha never realises any of his wishes were unfulfilled. Havildar Charat Singh complains, “Why aren’t the latrines clean, Ohe rogue of a Bakha? There is not, one fit to go near. I have walked all round. Do you know you are responsible for my piles! I caught the contagion sitting on one of those dirty latrines !” He is generous, magnanimous and easy to placate. Baldia is very efficient and proficient at his Work. Anand says “He looked intelligent, even sensitive, with a sort of dignity that does not belong to the ordinary scavenger, who is a rule uncouth and unclean.” Further Anand appreciates, “It was perhaps his absorption in his task that gave him that look of distinction, or his exotic dress however loose and ill-fitting, that lifted him above his odorous world.” Charat Singh gives a brand new hockey stick to Bakha. It comes as an unexpected boon and renders him elated. Bakha does not like Hindu rituals and noisy ablution for they appear superficial and hackneyed. The Tommies detest them. Bakha feels the warmth and comfort in the exotic woollen clothes he was wearing. Although he insists to remain in bed but he cannot resist work that is his first priority.

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