Mulk Raj Anand’s half a dozen novels deal with the social issues in pre-independent India. Unlike the other Indian Social novelists, Anand dealt with the theme of lowest strata of Indian Society – the untouchables., M. R. Anand‘s special quality is that he had the first hand experience of all that he wrote. Anand elevates the level of discourse to a moral essay on humanism where art is concerned with the truth of the human condition. In the present article I am going to focus on the practice of the untouchability popular in pre-independent India.
Mulk Raj Anand was a prominent Indian writer in English. He was a socially committed novelist, who was born in Peshawar in 1905. His father was a coppersmith and his mother come from peasant family. His literary career was launched by family tragedy. He had a good deal of literature on his behalf. He has written more than a dozen novels and about seventy short stories and essays also. His attitude and views as a novelist had many influenas. His social condition, his parents, his education, and the books he read and the people he met all have a share in making Anand a novelist. Anand was aware about the sufferings, poverty, hunger and humiliations of Indian people. That’s why it became Anand’s aim as a novelist to focus attention on the sufferings and problems of the outcaste. No one in India had yet dealt with these subjects because of there crude realities. Thus Anand writes on what may be called “Epics of sufferings and humiliations”. He has also made Indian novel a novel of socialism and realism. He has introduced new type of characters. As Shrinivasa Iyenger observes, “Anand is often undistingaished and seems to be too much in hurry; but the vitality of his creations, the variegated richness of his total comprehension and the purposive energy of his narrative, carry all before them. His notable marks are vitality and a keen sense of actuality”.
Untouchable is the first novel written by Mulk Raj Anand. It is his most popular and well knit nowel. It was published on 1st May 1935, but it had great difficulity for Publishing. The novel was revised several times. The book was regected by nineteen publishers. It was welcomed by few but criticized by many. London newspaper criticized it as “a dirty work”. But it was published when E.M. Forster agreed to write its preface. He had written in his Preface to Untouchable:
“It seems to me indescribablely clean and I hesitate for words in which this can be conveyed. Avoiding the rhetoric and circumlocution, it has gone straight to the heart of its subject and purified it”.
The novel “Untouchable” placed Anand among the leadling Indian English authors. Its story had impact on the reader. E.M. Forster stressed that the novel affects the reader because the auther had a clear understanding of difficulties as he himself is an Indian. Later, the novel became so popular that it was translated into twenty languages. George Orwell gave a favourable review...