Untouchable: Scene 6 - The Temple is Polluted

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Bakha’s Fear and Temptation

      Bakha comes across a big temple made of stone. It looks formidable and awful. The fear subdues Bakha. He enters it to clean the heap of dust and leaves. The mysterious presence of gods and goddesses create divine atmosphere all around. The awe of the divine deities compels him to surrender and submit himself but he knows 'his limits. He is conscious of the Hindu-law which does not allow an out-caste to render his heart-felt tribute. What a paradox! that a touch of an outcaste pollutes the temple and deities.

      Bakha performs his duty honestly and he goes on with his job of cleaning. But he is curious to see inside. It keeps him restless. He ponders over the pros and cons of the situation and its consequences. Ultimately he comes to a conclusion and decides to go upstairs. He moves tip-toed and enjoys the glimpse of the images of gods and goddesses. They are made of brass and shrouded in the soft wreaths and dishes of offerings lying at their feet. A typical seminude priest is surrounded by devotees. A man of loin clad gets up and blows a conch. This marks the beginning of a happy morning. The prayer goes on the melodious tinkling of bell which charges the whole atmosphere with divinity. Bakha is spiritually charged and immensely moved by the sacred verses of the holy scriptures being chanted by the priest.

Bakha Defiles God

      ‘Polluted ! polluted ! polluted !’ a sudden cry fills the atmosphere. He becomes embarrassed and bewildered. He becomes spine-chilled. Blood freezes in his veins. It is a cataleptic experience for this poor creature. The priest along with all devotees shout at him. They bid. the mean scavenger to get off the temple because he has defiled its sanctity. The scene is noticeable and heart-rending because it is the worst example of discrimination against human beings on the ground of caste. It is a matter of shame for Hindu clerics. It requires a great social and religious reform. Equality of all human beings is fundamental teaching of all great religions of the world except Hinduism.

Pandit Kali Nath Molests Sohini

      The lecherous, lascivious, and libidinous Pandit molests Sohini to gratify his mean desire. He becomes savage and brute and forgets that Sohini is like his daughter. She is too tender. She fights against the Pandit to protect her modesty. She doesn’t yield to gratify his mean desire. The author depicts the vivid graphics of how the priests treated with low-caste women. They used them as daily commodities. The priests were supposed to be equipped with divine privilege to use low-caste women to gratify their mean lust in the name of service to deities.

      Bakha’s self-respect is hurt when he comes to know that Pandit molested his sister. He becomes angry and revengeful. When Sohini resisted him, Pandit made a counter allegation that she polluted him. He proceeds further to take his revenge. But the crowd discouraged him. This episode by Mulk Raj Anand has exposed discrepancies of caste-Hindu society The lofty ideals of Hindu society and Hindu philosophy are mere rhetoric.

Bakha’s Self-respect

      Sister is supposed to be very close and affectionate to her brother. And she has respect for her brother. He looked revengeful and ruthless and lifeless. This is a matter of shame for entire humanity How did he dare to touch and molest a young and innocent girl. The hypocrite Brahmin ! Bakha pursued his sister to explain what happened to her in reality.

      Tell me, Sohini’; he said, turning fiercely at his sister, ‘how far did he go?’

      She sobbed and didn’t reply.

      ‘Tell me ! Tell me ! I will kill him if....’ he shouted.

      He-e-e- just teased me she at last yielded. And then when; I was bending down to work, he came and held me by my breasts’. ‘Brahmin dog !’ Bakha exclaimed. ‘I will go and kill him’. And he rushed blindly to the Courtyard.

      ‘No, no, come back. Let’s go away,’ called Sohini after him, arresting his progress by dragging hard at the lapel of his overcoat.

      The author categorically expresses the dual character of caste Hindu priests. He satirises the hypocrisy of the priests and caste hindus. He exposes the hollowness of lofty rhetorics and philosophy delivered by the arch-patron of Hinduism.

The Psyche of an Untouchable

      Bakha’s urge to retaliate is still alive. His blood is boiling for revenge. The whole sequence of his sister’s molestation is extremely tormenting. It tortures him frequently. He has cast his mental poise and can go to any extent to retaliate. Although he knows that he cannot retrieve Sohini’s modesty he becomes more violent when he thinks of his sister who is the living victim of this inhuman act of savagery He is unable to hide his smoldering revenge. He would have slaughtered the lecherous Pandit if the caste Hindu society had not fabricated a strong wall to protect the mean interests of such hypocrite Brahmins.

      He cannot trespass the barriers forged by caste-culture. He fails to take his revenge. His heart sinks. He is helpless and he can’t violate the conventions. This culture renders the modesty and sanctity of women subjected to the will of hypocritical priests.

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