Untouchable - An Indian Life History

Untouchable - An Indian Life History

Product ID: 3189

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Author: James M Freeman
Publisher: HarperCollins
Year: 1993
Language: English
Pages: 421
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0049200607


This life story of Muli, one of India's 100 million untouchables, is an indictment not merely of the caste system as an Indian phenomenon, but also of stratified systems of inequality everywhere.

Untouchability continues to be an abiding feature in the dynamics of Indian life, even though the Indian Government has made painstaking efforts to eradicate it for nearly half a century. It became a social phenomenon in the first few centuries of the Christian era wjhen the rebellion of the lower orders threatened to disturb the Brahmanical sate divine. Today, it is in many ways a necessary condition in the prevalent pattern of the functioning of the village organizations.

This book is the autobiography of Mull, a 430-year old untouchable belonging to the Bauri caste of Orissa as narrated to an anthropologist. Muli is a narrator who combines rich descriptions of daily life with perceptive observations of his social surroundings. He describes in absorbing detail what it is like to be at the bottom of ;Indian life, and what happens when an untouchable attempts to break out of his accepted role.

The book concludes with a suggested perspective for interpreting the story, and a discussion of the interviewer's role in the creating of the life history. The book is illustrated with some 60 photographs.


The life of this man of India's lowest caste level hits us with overwhelming force . . Probably one of the frankest cultural accounts ever published.
- - Prof. Glenn T Peterson