She Reads South Asia

SheReadsSouthAsia

Friday, December 30, 2005

My Review of Narendra Jadhav's "Untouchables"

Untouchables: My Family’s Triumphant Journey Out Of The Caste System In Modern India

It is a fact that 1 out of every 6th person on the face of the earth is an Indian. What is staggering and often unknown is the fact that 1 out of every 6th Indian, which ultimately translates to 165 million people is an untouchable or a Dalit, the lowest caste position in Hinduism. Over many, many years these people have been subjected to inhuman cruelties, subsequently having been made lower than animals.

Untouchables is a history of one such family of the Dalit caste and their journey to free themselves from it. With all the severe hardships and excruciating trials, the author’s father rebelled against the atrocities that almost killed him and the ones who mercilessly rendered such upon these innocent and docile people.

This amazing and intense story will make you laugh a little, cry a lot and assess your life in great detail. A heart-wrenching account told from Narendra’s parents, Damu and Sonu’s point of view; each chapter ending with one’s narrative and picking up with the other’s on the same event and continuing forward.

It takes place during a crucial time in India’s history, when Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi were touring the nation with their speeches, rallying people for the great cause - Freedom.

The love, courage and determination Damu and Sonu have for each other, their children and their freedom eventually proves victorious, thus affording their children a better life than their own.

As you read this story, allow yourself to be drawn in and forever changed, while entering a world where unimaginable events happen to a people with no way out of the predicament into which they were born. Your senses will be awakened, as you will almost taste the grilled bhakris and hot chai, smell the stench of cow dung, which hangs heavily in the air, hear the hunger cries of both children and adults, feel the stings of the whip as it cracks against raw flesh, experience the fervor of the protestors and in the end rejoice with the victors after seeing the mighty determination they possess.

Narendra Jadhav breaths life into his father’s diaries and endless family stories and shares them so that we may come to understand a world much different from our own. . . Or is it?

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