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The Slave in Us
H.N. Bali Bookmark and Share

Perhaps we deem it to be an intrinsic part of the Indian psyche. Mulk Raj Anand describes in Untouchable how the threshold of tolerance has always been receding in our society. When Bakha's sister, Sohini, is sexually assaulted by a Brahmin priest – the so-called high-caste Brahmins were no believers in caste distinctions when it came to their sex gratification – his resignation to the situation shows his utter helplessness. The narrator in the novel articulates that poignant moment.

A superb specimen of humanity he seemed whenever he made the high resolve to say something, to go and do something, his fine form rising like a tiger at bay. And yet there was a futility written on his face. He could not overstep the barriers which the conventions of his superiors had built up to protect their weakness against him.... So, in the highest moment of his strength, the slave in him asserted itself and he lapsed back, wild with torture, biting his lips and ruminating his grievances.

Mark the words: ‘the slave in him asserted itself and he lapsed back, wild with torture, biting his lips, ruminating his grievances’ This is exactly what happens. The slave in us asserts itself in the decisive moments and we unwittingly lapse back to the Bakha in us. With each successive wave of oppression, people learned just to bite their lips and ruminate their grievances, to suffer in silence and deem it as a part of their life over which they had no control.

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01/17/2013
More by :  H.N. Bali
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