Untouchable: Scene 5 - The Pathetic Situation

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Bakha Touches a High Caste Hindu

      ‘Swine, dog, why didn’t you shout and aware of your approach’’ he shouted as he met Bakha’s eye. ‘Don’t you know; you brute, that you must not touch me.’

      It happened accidentally because Bakha was totally unaware of everything around him. He was moving along as a free bird. But he did not know that freedom was mirage for him. Mirage seems real but as a matter of fact that is illusion. The high-caste Hindu harped abuses on him. The man becomes furious and wildly, aggressive. He beats the poor creature for the crime he did not commit. His only sin is that he was born in an out caste’s family. This is the darkest chapter in the human history Bakha is shocked and dumb-founded and he is quite bewildered rather delirious. As if he wants the answer of several questions emerging from this inhuman incident. As the brute and savage high caste Hindu perpetrated tyranny and cruelty on the innocent low-caste boy people did not dare to come to his rescue. Nobody raised voice against this heinous crime. Bakha could have answered this high handedness. His muscles were strong enough. But social culture and hierarchy have chained him everywhere.

      Bakha apologises with folded hands and a bent forehead. But the man doesn’t pay any heed. The man is not satisfied with his humble apology. As if he wants to give him a capital punishment for he was touched by a low-caste boy.

      He is not spared by even street curchins. He is the target of all accusation. He is an easy prey for all butcher who slaughter him beyond death.

“Oh, son of a dog ! Now tell us how you feel. You who used to beat us.”

      Bakha doesn’t answer. But his self-respect leads him to answer in self-defense.

      “When did I beat you?” he angrily asked the child.

      The extremist of the high-caste culminates when even the fundamental rights of Bakha to plea in his self-defense have been confiscated and interpreted as violation of civil manner.

An Egalitarian Muslim

      The episodes of perpetual tyranny and cruelty as if an innocent lamb being slaughtered in butcher’s house, throw him into the whirlpool of confusion. A muslim tonga-wallah understands his problem and stands firmly for his rescue. He consoles him and gives him solace. His grief is endless and anguish infinite. The series of humiliation and helplessness set Bakha’s brain to brood over the darker aspects of the Hindu-culture and brighter aspects of Christianity and Islam.

Self-realisation and Bakha’s Response

      Bakha, spiritually broken, condemned and denounced by his contemporary society announces his approach. “Posh, Posh, sweeper coming”. He is burning like a furnace with anger, grief and anguish. Although the situation is tormenting but he does collapse. All these harsh realities and hardships of life lead him to introspection and self-realisation. He condemns himself for being humble and mute spectator of cruelty ‘Why did I not answer the injustice? Sometime he seems to accept everything that befalls him as destiny He is confirmed that he will never be able to overcome and dominate the high-caste? He thinks that he should mind his own affairs. He is a sweeper. That’s all. Nothing more. But as a human, when he observes other human beings he concludes that he equally feels pains and pleasure as other human beings do. Why do the Mohammedans and the Sahibs not discriminate? Why is a Mohammedan or a Christian not polluted when a low-caste touches them? He is enlightened and illuminated. He knows himself and the prevailing cruel and coercive laws of high-caste-Hindu society. He proclaims, “I am sweeper, sweeper—untouchable! untouchable! untouchable !”

      As radiance overpowering the darkness, self-awareness, self-realisation and omnipotence of destiny dawned upon him. He was transforming internally. ‘Posh, Posh, Sweeper is coming’ he announced bis approach wherever he went. The thumps of his, boot announced his approach rather loudly so he slowed down a little.

Repugnant and Repulsive Surroundings

      It is noon. His broad, fearless countenance, simply so human is subjected to change. The nostrils are dilating like those of an Arab horse. He is exhausted so he looked inactive, tacit and lifeless. Bakha meets repugnant and repulsive surroundings when he re-sets his turban to work. The market place he is passing through is full of squalor and. filth. Repulsive and disgusted sights welcome him. The crowded bazar is emitting putrid stink of a heap of decaying vegetables. Sick and emaciated cows and bulls are belching and excreting watery dung. He quickens his steps to escape the nauseating sights and smell.

      He goes through the rows of shops on either side; the bandsmen’s, the grocer’s, the betel-leaf monger’s jwellers’ etc. A glasswork owned by a Sikh appeals Bakha. He paused for a short while to look at the picture of an English woman, almost nude and reclining with a flower in her hand. She looks titillating and aphrodisiac. The Sikh scolds him and looks at him with contemptuous eyes and asks him to move on.

      The scene depicts the real plight of the underdogs, the untouchables, and the down-trodden who have been forced to live in filth and squalor. They have been denied the rights of living human beings.

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