Untouchability in Arundhati Roy God of Small Things

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Untouchability in Arundhati Roy’s God of Small Things

by – Ratheesh Tharakan



Arundhati Roy came in to the realm of literature in the year 1997 when her debut novel, “The God of Small Things” begged the coveted booker prize for literature. Though she was born in Shilong, where her father was employed as a tea planter, her early childhood was spent at village, Ayemenam, a few kilometers from the Kottayam town in central Kerala. The theme of the novel revolves round this village. Just after a few years of her birth, her father the tea planter divorced his wife, there for the little child Arundhati had to come back to Ayemenam with her beloved mother. Her mother marry Roy brok the tradition by marrying a Bengali and then divorcing him. He also made the history by fighting the provision of the Christian succession act and in this connection; she even went to the Supreme Court. The favorable ruling allowed Christian women an equal share with their male siblings in their father’s property.

   Roy was the thus product of a broken home. She had to face several cares and anxieties, fret and fever during her child-hood. The Ayemenam house was dominated by the traditional patriarchal clutches. The men in and around the house were conversation in their outlook. This phenomenon can be beautifully seen in the novel where Ammu who represent her mother, marry Roy, has to undergo so many up & downs. Arundhati spent her most time in her grandmothers pickle factory. She became a formidable pickle label sticker and curry powder packer. But in spite of all these odds and hazards she was essentially an extra ordinary genius who used to devote to the studies heart and soul. Lalith Kumar Christopher Roy, the brother of Arundhati Roy, who has been portrayed as Estha in the novel is also opinion that Arundhati was a very good student, an athlete and an orator. At the age of eighteen she left for New Delhi for her higher education. She joined in the Delhi school of architecture. But their too she had to spent her life in the utter penury. In the second year, she was requested her family not to return home to Kerala.  This exerts a great shock in to her young, gentle mind. She took a room which was tin-shaded at Feroz Sha Kotla. She had to make a living by flogging empty beer bottles. The other period of her life that is very important is when she was in the Delhi school of architecture. She was never given a hostel. Next to the school of architecture, there was a refugee colony. Where the mess manager of the canteen had a shack, which the rented to Roy and her boyfriend. In course of time, she topped the class in her thesis and took her degree, but she didn’t practice. In other words from the age of about 17-25 she had absolutely no anchor. She had been even asked to leave home by her family. After getting the degree of architecture, Arundhati worked as a research assistant at the national institute of urban affairs. She devoted herself to it in much a manner that she won a scholarship for going to Florence to study the restoration of monuments and historical urban centers Arundhati Roy also a great screen play writer. She writes the screen play for “The Banyan Tree”, a television serial. The serial consist of 26 episodes and very beautifully deals with a story set in Utter Pradesh in the years between 1921 & 1952. It shows the last tumultuous decades of the British Raj. But this famous TV serial was abandoned halfway through the shoot as the production company ran in to financial trouble. Subsequently their store rooms were broken in to, and all the costumes and property stolen and sold. Actually speaking, the breaking of the serial in the middle was a very traumatic and painful thing to Roy.

   Untouchability is a direct product of the cast system. It is not merely the inability to touch a human being of a certain cast or sub cast. It is an attitude on the part of a whole group of people that relates to a deeper philological process of thought and belief, invisible to the naked eye, translated in to various physical acts and behaviors, norms and practices. Untouchability is prompted by the spirit of social aggression and the belief in the parity and pollution that characterizes Casteism. It is generally taken for granted that dalits are considered polluted people at the lowest end of the cast order. The jobs considered polluting and impure are reserved for dalits, and in many cases dalits are prevented from engaging in any other works. These jobs including removing human waste, dragging away and skinning animal carcasses, tanning leather, making and fixing shoes and washing clothes. They are supposed to reside outside the village. So that their physical presence does not pollute the “real” village. Not only they restricted terms of space, but their houses are also supposed to be inferior in quality and devoid of the any facilities like water and electricity. At the village level dalits are barred using wells used by non-Dalits forbidden from going barbershop and entering temples while the level of job recruitment ant employments. Dalits are systematically paid less ordered to do the most menial work, and rarely prompted even at school. Dalit children may be asked to clean toilet and eat separately.

               As an instrument of Cartesian untouchability also serves to instill caste status to dalit children from the moment they are born. Kachro (fifth), Melo(dirty), Dhudiyo(dusty), Gandi(mad), Ghelo(stupid), Punjo(waste) are the some of the names given for Dalit boys in Gujarath. Dalit girls had the similar names in there. This shows the debilitating effect of untouchability, as it becomes a consitious act of cooperation between two individuals of distinct caste or sub caste.

   Arundhati Roy one of the legendary Indian English writers picturise  the term untouchability in her book “The God of Small Things” she gave the real picture to the untouchable, lower caste people in this work.

               Thus this project report is an attempt to understand the problems of untouchability in “The God Of Small Things” by Arundhati Roy.


Untouchability – An Overview

               Untouchability is a cancer that has been eating our society from ancient time towards this has been handed down from generation to generation. Cast system was at first a kind of division of labour. Then it became a tool in the hands of the upper cast people to exploit and marginalize the lower castes. Millions of Indians are still untouchables in the sacred land of Gandhi, Buddha and Ambedkar. They live the parallel universe of isolation. All Indians are violating the basic rights and the human rights of other Indians.

   Dalit is a designation for a group of people traditionally regarded as untouchable. Dalit are a mixed population, consisting of numerous social group from all over Indian; they speak a varity of languages and practice a multitude of religion. There are many different names proposed for defining this group of people including Panchamas and Asprushya.

               In 2001, the proposition of dalit population was 16.2 percent of India’s total population. The dalit population is broadly distributed across Indian states and districts. In 2001 the state of Punjab had the highest proposition of its population is Dalit, at about 29 percent, and the state of Mizoram had the lowest at nearly Zero. The government of India recognizes and protects them as the scheduled castes. The term Dalit has been interchangebly used term scheduled castes and these terms include all historically discriminated communities of India out castes and untouchable. While discrimination based on castes has been prohibited and untouchability abolished under the constitution of India, discrimination and prejudice against

Dalits in South Asia remains. Since independence in 1947, India has implemented an affirmative policy of reservation, this scope of which was further expended in 1974 to set aside and provide jobs and education opportunities to Dalit by 1995, of all jobs in India, 17.2 percent of jobs were held by Dalits greater than their proposition in Indian population in Indian population. In 1997 India democratically elected K.R. Narayanan, a Dalit, as the nation’s president. Many social organizations to have proactively promoted better conditions for Dalits through improved education, health and employment.

               Dalits and similar groups are found in India, Nepal, Pakistan, Srilanka, and Bangladesh further wherever immigrants from these countries have left, caste has gone with them. As a result Dalits can also be found in the U.S, U.K, Singapore, Malaysia, Canada and the Caribbean. In addition, the Burakumin in Japan cagots and Roma in Europe, Al-Akhdam in Yemen, Baekjeong in Kolea and Midgam in Somalia are or were excluded from the surrounding community in much the same manner as the Dalit. In fact, a 2012 paper argued that the European Romas DNA matches the dalit in india.

               The caste system in kerala differed from that found in the rest of india. While the Indian caste system generally modeled the four fold divisions of society. In to Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and shudras in Kerala the Namboodiri Brahmins formed the priestly class and only rarely recognized anyone else as being other than Shudra or untouchables outside the caste system entirely. Thus the Kerala caste system was ritualized but it was not the varna model found elsewhere. One theory that explains the origins of the caste system in the Kerala region – which prior to the Independence of India complied the three areas known as Malabar district Travancore and Cochin is based on the action of Alyan jains introducing such distinctions prior to the 8th century  AD. This argues that the jain needed protection when they arrived in the area and reclaimed sympathetic local people to provide it. These people were then distinguished from others in the local population by their occupation as protectors, with the others all being classed as out caste. Cyriac pullapilly a professor of history, describes that this meat they were given Kshatriya function but only Shudra status.

               A theory presented by pullapilly and also by Rene Barendse who as of 2012 is a fellow of the international for Asian studies, claim that the caste system established by Namboodiries Brahmins of Kerala was in accordance with the will of Parasurama, an avatar of Vishnu. The Namboodiries had control of 64 villages and asserted that they have powers given to them by the gods, so much, so that they considered even other Brahmin group to be outside the caste hierarchy. Both writers consider this to traditional Namboodiri myths of origin. The Namboodiri Brahmins were at the top of the ritual caste hierarchy, outranking even the kings. Anyone who was not a Namboodiri was treated by them as an untouchable.

               The Namboodiries had varying regarding the degrees of virtual pollution. While interacting with people of different caste. In return, most castes practiced the principle of untouchability in their relationship between other regional castes. Untouchability in Kerala is not restricted to Hindus, and George Mathew say that, technically the Christians were outsides the caste hierarchy, but in practice a system of inclusion and exclusion was developed among Christians, the established Syrian Christians also practiced the rules of untouchability. In the colonial period, many lower castes were converted to Christians by the European Missionaries,but the new converts were not allowed to join the Syrian Christian community and they continued to be considered as untouchabile even by the Syrian Christians. The rules of untouchability were serve to begin with and they were very strictly enforced by the time of the arrival of the Dutch East India company, in the 17th century. Robin Jeffery, who is a professor specializing in the modern history and politics of India, quotes the wife of a Christian missionary who wrote in 1860 that a Nair can approach but not touch a Namboodiri Brahmin,: a Chovan (Ezhava) must remain thirty six paces off, and a Pulayan slave ninety six steps distant. A chovan must remain twelve steps away from a Nair, and a pulayan sixty – six step off and a parayan some distance further still. A Syrian Christian may touch a Nair but the latter may not eat with each other. Pulayan and pulayans are lowest of all, can approach but not touch, much less May they eat with each other.

               Nonetheless, higher ranked communities did have social responsibility for those perceived to be their inferiors: for example they could demand forced labor but had to provide food for such laborers, and they had a responsibilities in times of femine to provide their tenants both with food and with the seeds of grow it. There were also responsibilities to protect such peoples from the dangers from attack and other threats their livelihood, and so it has been described by Barendse as “an intricate dialectic of rights and duties”.

               Mahatma Gandhi condemned the idea of untouchability. He called it a crime, an evil, a blot on the name of Hinduism. He sincerely beloved that the curse of oppressive British rule was a just punishment for the sin of untouchability that the high caste Hindus had shamelessly practiced for many centuries. He wrote long and passionately against it: “has not a just nemesis (British rule) over taken us for the crime of untouchability? Have we not reaped as we have sown? We have segregated the parian and we are in turn segregated in British colonials and colonies. We deney him the use of public wells; we throw the leavings of our plates at him. Indeed there is no charge that the pariah can not filing in our faces and which we do not filing in the face of English men. It is necessary for us Hindus to repent of the wrong we have done alter our behavior towards those whom we have “suppressed” by a system as devilish as we belive that system of the (British) government of India to be……….. it is a reform not to follow Swaraj (self rule freedom)  but to precede it.

               Gandhiji set a bold example for Hindus to follow. At age 12, the argued against untouchability in his own home. As a young lawyer in South Africa, he cleaned his own latrine to emphasize the dignity of menial labor. Later, in India, he adopted an untouchable girl as his daughter and insisted that his political followers, many of them wealthy Brahmins do their own sweeping, toilet cleaning and rubbish disposal. He was not afraid to suspend the freedom movement against the British to preside Indians that the destructions on untouchability were his first priority. He fasted, played, agitated, and eventually brought large number of Hindus to believe that untouchability had no place in their society.

The Origin of Untouchability

               Untouchability originated in India around AD 400 and it arose out of the struggle for supremecy between Buddism and Bhrahminism and it was molded the history of India.

               Untouchability is the word used by Ambedkar himself for those lowest castes in the Hindu scale of pollution. During the pre- Independence era the term depressed classes was used to denote the untouchables. This was replaced by scheduled classes in 1935 when the castes were placed on a scheduled a qualifying for special right. Gandhiji’s name for the untouychables, “ Harijan”dates from his 1933-34 campaign against untouchability and is in general usage except among Ambedkar’s followers. The origin of untouchability is an enigma, but it is generally held that it is a prevented outcome of the caste system. The vedic Aryans no caste system, as time went on, the Aryans divided themselves for different occupations of labor and capacity of the individual. Those who took to learning were Brahmanas, those who undertook governance were classified as kshetriyas, those who resorted to trade were termed vaishyas, and those who were known as sudras. Brahmins continued to be regarded as some one next to god where as a man from the lowest caste, as a shudra. The result was original four division became watertight compartments and degenerated later in to the present caste system. In this way the four varna came to stay as four caste hence forth different professions, barriers of provinces varying way of led to the creation of various sub – castes. The untouchable were from the lowest strata of the Hindu society and were condemned as untouchables by the caste Hindus down the century.

Problems of Untouchability in India

   When the constitution of India outlawed untouchability in 1950 many national leaders believed that a centuries old practice had been brought to an end. But now nearly 60 years later there is no total success of the statutory measure. Millions of Dalits the country across, who account for roughly 1/5th  of the population continue to suffer birth based discrimination and humiliation. In state like Tamilnadu which boasts a long history of reformist movement is no exception. In fact untouchability has not only survived the constitutional ban but taken new avatars in many part of the states. Caste based discrimination has often led to violence, leaving hundreds of disadvantaged people in distress particularly in the 1990s. The segregation of dalit is seen almost everywhere in Tamilnadu’s villages. But nothing can perhaps beat the high wall 500 meters long that has been built at Uthapuram in Madhurai, districts a barrier between Dalit and caste Hindus. While untouchability is still rampant and is taking new forms particularly in villages, the constitutional ban and compulsions of modernity and development have to some extent blunted its rigor. Rail transport has been unifying forces in society. Yet the railways have been among the worst offenders in respect of the law against manual scavenging. Dalits constitutes a significant position of its work force of manual scavengers along railway lines. Although all state governments claim that they have abolished manual scavenging reports reveal that this practice is very much alive in many places. Postmen have also been found to practice untouchability. A study conducted Tamilnadu noted that in two villages in Madurai district postmen did not deliver postal articles to Dalit addresses. Dalit were required to collect the articles at the post office. There are also road transport reated violations of the law against untouchability. Among them is the unwritten rule that gives caste Hinduism priority over Dalits in boarding buses in many areas, buses not stopping in Dalits areas transport employees picking quarrels with Dalit passengers without provocation and Dalits not being allowed to use bus shelters. State government still follows a traditional procedure of making announcements in villages by beating a drum   and for that they deploy Dalits. Worse still are the roles of schools and teachers perpetuating untouchability and sowing the seeds of castes- related discriminations in young mind. The Dalit children are often discouraged by teachers and fellow students belonging to caste Hindu social groups. In many schools Dalit pupils were not allowed to share water with caste – Hindus. To punish an erring or naughty dalit boys teachers scold him by calling him by caste name. if the teachers decides that the boy needed a beating as punishment the task was assigned to another Dalit boy. There is also a systematic refusal of admission to dalits in certain schools particularly at the plus two levels. In some villages during the temple festivals Dalits are supposed to stay hidden from Hindu castes. The two tumbler system under which dalits are served tea in different vessels is still prevalent in some teashops. In some eateries they are compelled to sit on the floor.

Untouchability Today

               Untouchbility today outlines the context in which untouchability is practiced in the current scenario. India emerges as the world’s largest democracy and fastest growing economy yet the practice of untouchability remains in stark contrast to the image of progress that the Indian government seeks to promote to the international community. The issues of untouchability is one of the most divisive issues in the country’s history and lived experience of all people in India, including the Dalits who number over 164 millions and non-Dalit perpetrators and witness. Despite growing domestic and international concern, constitutional prohibition and a legal enforcement regime as well as international human light protection the daily life of many Dalits still remain unchanged till data.

               Untouchability is an ancient form of discrimination based up on caste which is complex and pervasive problem in India although its practice is not limited to India alone. For millennia, the practice of untouchability has marginalized, terrorized, and relegated a sector of Indian society to a life marked by violence, humiliation and indignity. The discrimination so pervasive that many Dalits come to believe that they are responsible for their own suffering and exclusion. Thus believing it to be there faith and in turn perpetuate the practice of untouchability. Like a shameful secret a “hidden apartheid”. Untouchability remains an extremely sensitive issue in India. Its practice is never fully defined, never fully explorated and, thus never fully understood.


Untouchability in God of small Things

               Arundhati Roy booker prize winning novel deals with the ravages of caste system in south Indian state, Kerala. Roy presents both the miserable plight of untouchables and also the struggle of a women trying to have fulfillment in life in a patriarchal society. Velutha, the god of small things, transgress the established norms of society by having a affair with a women of high caste. The ultimate outcome of this love is tragic death of an “untouchable” by “touchable boots” of state police, an event that makes a travesty of the idea of God. God is no more in control of “small things” rather the small things have an ultimate power over God turning him to “The God of loss”(265). The idea of untouchability is explored at two levels in the novel. Firstly we have socially untouchables, or Parvan, who are never allowed basic human rights. Secondly, we have metaphoric untouchables in high castes. Here discrimination expresses itself in marginalizing the women in their personal and public life.

               A complete appreciation of The God Of Small Things requires an awareness of three things.

The role of:

The Syrian Christian community


The caste system in Kerala

   Kerala stretches 360 miles along a Malabar Coast of India. Although it is just 15000 square miles in area, its population makes up 3.71 percent of India’s. kerala is remarkable for having the highest literacy rate (81.29%) in the whole of India. The state experience heavy monsoons during June – September and September – December. Most of its rivers are fed by the monsoons, and it is during the season that sophie mode downs.

   The community represented in “The God of Small Things” is Syrian Christian. The Christians of Kerala are divided in to five characteristics:

Roman catholic

Orthodox syrian




   Syrian Christians claim the apostle Tomas as their founder. The term “Syrian” refers to the west Asian origins of the group’s ancestors and to their use of Syriac as a liturgical language. For centuries, their language has been Malayalam. Syrian Christians have a history that predates European rule. While the Jesuit made only limited alteration to community life in 1830s and 1840s the 19th century the British colonial state played a significant role in undermining Syrian Christian – Hindu connections. The Old Catholic – Jacobite division gave way to as many as fourteen competing Episcopal allegiances. One of the most significant split took place in 1888 when the Travancore high court ruled in favor of the Jacobites. The losers formed a separate ecclesiastical body, the Marthoma Syrian church (Bayly 241-320).

               In the novel religious differences appear In the disagreements between Mulligan (who belongs to the Roman catholic church) and reveled Ipe (who belongs to the mathoma church) as well as in Baby Kochamma’s conversation to Catholicism and her consequent lack of suitors. The socio – political changes brought about by colonial rule led to upper caste Hindus shinning the Syrian Christians. Between 1888 – 1892 every one of Syrian Christian denomination founded so called evangelical societies that rough out law caste converts and built school and chapels and publicized mass baptisms (Bayly 314 – 320). The God of Small Things thus refers to the school for “Untouchable” built by the great – grandfather of the twins, Estha and Rahel. However, as Roy points out, even though a number of paravas and  member of other low castes converted to Christianity, they were made to have separate churches and thus continued to be treated as “Untouchabiles”. After the Independence, they were denied government benefits created for “Untouchable” because officially, on paper, they were Christians and there for casteless.

               The paravas, who speak Malayalam and use the Malayalam script settled in the Neyyattinkara taluk of the Trivandrum district and also In Quilon, Kottayam and Ernakulum districts. According to the 1981census their population Kerala is 42884 (Singh 1062 – 64). The word caste is divided from the Portuguese casta, which means bleed, race, or kind. Castes are ranked, named endogamous group, and membership in a particular caste comes through birth. According to the Hindu sacred texts of the Rigveda, there were main four castes and each caste performed a function in sustaining social life. Bhrahmins were the priests; kshetriyas, were various and rules; Vaisyas were land owners and merchants and sudras were artisans and servants (Federal Research division 267). According to the code of Manu a marriage between a Brahmin women and sudra men would result in a “Candala”, who is described as “the lowest of men” and shares many of the attributes of the contemporary “Untouchable” (Moffit 34) Michael Moffit writes that ancient textual source from the south suggest the existence of similarity  ranked human relation and stresses that many attribute of contemporary south Indian “Untouchable” were apparently present 1500 years ago in the sangam period (37), “untouchables are generally associated with profession such as leather workers butchers, launderers and latrine cleaners.

               Since 1935 untouchable have been called “scheduled castes”. They are also called Mahathma Gandhi’s name for them “Harijan”(The children of God)More recently these group refers to themselves as dalits, a Hindi world which means opposed or downtrodden. Despite some improvements in certain aspects of dalits life, 90% of them still live in rural areas, and more than 50% are landless labors. In many part of India, land is still held by the upper castes who use the ideology of the caste system to economically exploit low – ranking landless labors.

               In 1957, under EMS Namboodiripad, Kerala became the first Indian state to elect a communist government. Despite a damaging split in the party in 1964, there have been communist led governments in Kerala more often than not. Roy writers that the reason behind the communist party’s success in Kerala was that it “never overtly questioned the traditional values of a caste – ridden”, extremely traditional community. The Marxists worked from within the communal divides, never challenging them, never appearing not to”. This double standard is emphasized when comlade Pillai incites the workers of paradise pickle and preserves to stickers against their Chacko, but refers to the letter in theoretical terms. He never referred to him by name, but always as ‘the management’. As through Chacko was many people apart from it being tactically the right thing to do, this disjunction the men and his job helped comrade Pillai to keep his conscience clear about his own private business dealing with Chacko.  His contract for printing the paradise pickle label gave him an income that he badly needed. He told himself the Chacko  – The client and Chacko – the management were two different people. Quite separate of course from Chacko the comrade.

               Pillai’s double standards are also seen when despite his slogans of “caste is class”, he delebratly distance himself from velutha in order to maintain the support of Chacko’s other workers who dislike working with a Paravan. Chacko himself appears to be an arm chair communist with no real understanding of politics that surround him. Roy’s representation of the communist party has met with much criticism from the party. The late EMS Namboothiripad criticized “The God of Small Things” for promoting sexual anarchy and bourgeois value whiles the Marxist chief minister of Kerala. M R. EK Nayanar , said that Roy had painted a “factually incorrect” picture of social condition of Kerala during the period 1950 – 70 and of the role played by communists during that period. It is with in this social, political and religious context that we read the tragedy of kochammans. Shunned by the upper class Hindus, they are 0ver conscious of their family’s prestige. Roy deals with the classical material of tragedy in the modern context. The members of the family are introverts. Baby Kochamma, Ammu, Chacko and Pappachi are unable to come to terms with their complexes. They struggle against the outer world, and the defeats render the confused and frustrated. The sense of failure expresses itself in dehumanizing others round them.

               The kochamma family has a history of poor relations between male and female members. Ammu’s mother mammachi, for example, is severely beaten and abused by her husband and she becomes the victim of his anger and frustration whenever he faces a failure in the outside world. He leaves a little room for Ammu to grow as an independent and confident individual. Her only objective is in life is to find a “reasonable husband”, depending up on him for his rest of her life. Her attitude also corresponds to the idea of a “good daughter” shared both by Hindus and Muslims. Chacko, the elder brother saves mammachi, from his father’s abusive attitude. In “The God of Small Things” the conflit exists at individual and societal levels. The novel graphically shows that how people are helpless to resolve these levels of friction. Velutha, the outcaste, can never co – exist peaceful with the “touchable” communities for so long as the stigma of untouchability attached to him and countless others like him. Velutha is “highly intelligent”, an excellent carpenter with an engineer’s mind, but he is also “The God Loss”. In contlast to Velutha Chacko get away with his debauchery or his “men’s needs” as his mother term it – because he is a “touchable”. Roy has justly put the issues when she says, “change is one thing, acceptness is another”. The society presented in the novel is patriarchal. On the one hand we have a group of characters, Mammachi, Baby Kochamma, and Kochu Maria, the cook, perpetuate the division of caste, race and gender on the other hand, Ammu and the twins , Rachel and Estha, consciously and unconsciously resist these hierarchies. Ammu the biggest victim of the system, is an archetypal image of a daughter marginalized in patriarchal society. Perhaps Ammu, Eshta, Rachel were the worst transgressors they are brakes all rules.  They are closed in to forbidden territory. They all tampered with law that laydown who should be loved and how. And how much. Ammu the central character of the novel has only a marginal existence of the family structure. A traditional patriadle society place little importance of womens education. Ammus father Pappachi, does not like the spending of money on his daughter, and she is never encouraged to find her place in life. Marriage is the only justification of her life.

               Ammu finished the schooling in the same here that her father retired from the job in Delhi and moved in Ayemenam. Pappachi insisted that a college education was unnecessary expense for a girl, so Ammu have no choice leave Delhi and move with him. There was little for a young girl to do in Ayemenam other than to wait a marriage proposal.  Ammu accept the very first proposal after five days of court ship. In fact, Ammu had no choice other than accepting what so ever life offers her. Unfortunately, her husband turned out to be drunkard unable to support the family. He tries to force Ammu to “please the boss” but she refuses and the marriage and in divorce. As a divorce she has to face ostracism by her society and family. Her female relative sympathize with her in a way, making her conscious of the gravity of her crime. She was committed to live separate from her husband. Within first few months of returns to her parents’ home: Ammu quickly learned to recognize and despise the ugly face of sympathy. Old female relation with their incipient beards and several wobbing chins made overnight trips to Ayemenam to commiserate her about her divorce. She fought off the large to slap them. A divorce has no rights to pursuer for happiness in life. The only course open to her is to spend a static life, waiting for death. Any attempts on her parts to see life independently threatens the existing order. She is at logger heads with the society at large because she married outside their community and a divorce too. It is visible at Sophie moles funeral: “Hough Ammu, Estha and Rahel were allowed to attend the funeral, they were made to stand separately, not with in the rest of the family. Nobody would look at them”. Estha’s conflict within himself turn in to a silent creature. But in his inside “there is a easy octopus that lived – and squirted its Inky tranquilizer on his past.

               It is interesting to note that Roy’s portrayal of the plight of the untouchable is very near to that of Mulk Raj Anand. Velutha is the very close to Bekha in both his vision and vesture. He too like Bekha as fight for his existence in society. He has to struggle hard to achieve a sense of identity. Once Bekha inadvertently touches a caste Hindu in a market. The caste man begins to hurt at him abuse and rebuke. Bekha apologizes and entreats, but in vain. It is a Muslim tongawallah who comes to his rescues. What an Irony!. A Hindu humiliating a Hindu but a Muslim consoling a Hindu!. The basic difference between Bekha and Velutha is that the former is mole active and aggressive then the later. Velutha never believes in a frontal attack. He is a man of sober nature and middle behavior. But Bekha on the other hand, always strives to raise hail and fire (though he doesn’t do it) on the high class people.

               But there was a smoldering rang in this soul. His feelings would raise like a spurt of smoke with a half smothered  fire in fitful jerks when the recollection of abuse or rebuke  he had suffered kindled a spark in the ashes in the remoles inside him, why was all this? He asked himself in the soundless speech of cells receiving and transmitting emotions which was his usual way of communicating with himself. Why was he so humble? I could have struck him.

               Such emotions full of range and anger do not find any place in the character of velutha. He never behaves like a fuming and roaring tiger: never tries to hammer the age old norms of society, never behave like a rough and savage man – a man who has nothing to do with etiquette and manner, decolum and decency. He is a man of innocence and simplicity, The God of Small Things, the God of Loss. A man who knows how to make intricate toys, tiny windmills, ratites, minute jewel boxes out of tapioca stems a man who could carve perfect boats.  Topioca stems and figurines on cashew nuts. When Mammachi decides to enclose the back varandhah, it is Velutha who designs and builds the strong folding doors. According to the author, “He knows more about the machines in the factory than anyone else. Mammachi often said that if only he had not been a parvan, he might have become an engineer.

               Yes, even a dalit or untouchable can become an engineer, a doctor, a lawyer, or a professor. If he is given proper education and proper facilities. God never makes any difference between a touchable and untouchable; between the poor and the rich; between the rough and subline. The mind of all men is almost equal. The thing, which is needed is to appreciate the discarded and the abandoned and to dive deep in to the bosom of their lives to dig out pearls and gems, which are always hidden. So, the obsure living cannot be condemned. They are the significant competent of the nation in the sense that they work honestly in the fields, the economy of the country cannot remain in its key without the cooperation of the down – trodden. They thus cannot consign to oblivion. Thomas Gray in his famous poem, “Elegy written in country church yard” right competent of the nation in the sense that they work honestly in the fields., the economy of the country cannot remain in its key without the cooperation of the down – trodden. They thus cannot consign to oblivion. Thomas Gray in his famous poem, Elegy written in country church yard rightly observes:

“Full many a gem of purest ray serene,

The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear,

Full many a flower in born to blush unseen,

And lost its fragrance in the desert air”

               In spite of all these great virtues in Velutha, he does not get proper respect and congenial treatment in society. Vallya pappen, the father of Velutha, is strongly dead against any type of education. Or a advance knowledge in a Parvan. He thinks that in a Parvan they could (would and indeed should?) be constructed as insolence. He always grudges the craft man ship and natural skills of Velutha . Further, Vallya quickly degenerates in to nagging and bickering and consequently there is sense of unpleasantness between father and son. In course of time, Velutha begins to avoid going home. He works late, catches fish in the river and cooks it in an open fire. He also spends the night outdoors. All of a sudden, he disappears for at least five months. He doesn’t say anybody about his excite. When he becomes to Ayemenam, mammachi again rehires him as the factory carpenter and the general maintenance of the whole factory is in given charge to him. But this act of help causes a great stir in the factory workers.

Why? Because the touchable workers of the factory are also wild with castes in that they think that Parvans are not meant to be carpenters. So, in order to keep the workers happy, Mammachi pays Velutha less than he would give to touchable worker.

               Thus The God of Small Things shows a very fine picture of the dalit and deserted. The characterization of some of the untouchable characters of the novel is very close to that untouchable may Mulk Raj Anand. The Author seems to fling Irony on the upper caste rich people of society who insult and persecute the untouchable without any meaning just only to show their superiority.


               Untouchability is one of the greatest evil of our country has been facing from the times immemorial. In the manusmiriti, the  Hindu’s law book of social code and domestic life, we see the pathetic picture of untouchable who are deprived of gaining knowledge particularly the Vedic knowledge. An untouchable, according to this book, has no right to go to the temples no liberty to listen to the incantations of the Vedas and other recapture. They are also deprived of the of reading studying the languages ,Sanskrit ,which is supposed to be the richest language of the world this resulted in the deterioration of this frat language, which has come to be almost a standstill these have come to be almost a standstill these days. So one of the causes of the world. This resulted in the deterioration of the great language, which has come to be almost a standstill these days. So one of the causes of the degeneration of Sanskrit language is untouchability and perhaps this is why Mahatma Gandhi and Ambedkar, Ravhindra Nada Tagore and swami Vivekananda, Maharishi Dayanana and Balagopala tilak all have given a scathing attack on the cattiest mentality of India. Mulk Raj Anand presents a truthful portrayal of untouchability in his famous novel, untouchable Bakha, the protagonist of the novel, has to suffer insult and abuse with novel has to suffer insult and abuse without any rhyme or reason. he suffers only because he is an untouchable .

   Arundhati Roy picturise   the untouchables and low caste people in this novel . The character’s velutha Baby kochamma, Mammachi are untouchable in theis story. Veutha who is a great carpenter but mammachi pays velutha less then she should pay a touchable carpenter. In spite of his talent, Mammachi doesn’t allow him to enter the house unless she needs him can do some work which no one else can do. Here the caste discrimination is dearly seen; “To keep the others happy and since she knew that nobody would hire him as a carpenter, mamachi paid velutha less than she would a touchable carpenter but more than she would a paravan. mammachi didn’t encourage him to renter the house expect when she needed something mended or in-stalled she thought that he ought to be grateful that he was allowed on the factory  premises at all, and allowed to touch thing that touchable touched. She said that it was a big step for a paravan. Mammachi’s attitude towards velutha is such as one would have towards an animal. Roy has criticized the casteism of Hindu society. In this  novel, the story move not in a straight forward way but in a zig-zag way. The first chapter of the book is so beautiful structured that the seed of all the further events can be sought.

               The novel contains so many characters and these characters are untouchable. In this novel the   author tries to give a picture of ruling untochability in the south Indian state, Kerala. The characterisation of the novel is very important one and she done it properly. The untouchability or the caste or class system is reflected in this novel and Arundhati Roy’s characters almost are untouchables, dalits she give a proper idea of their problems in society .They  suffer a lot from the ruling members and crowns. They haven’t their own voice for their own  right to do a work for them the empowers order is the final line for the dalits .they done the work for their master but they get bruited pains for their wages.

               THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS is a novel and it is an instruction to the higher class or ruling class for the dalits voice .In our country all people are equal and all the people have same right to live in this country Roy wrote for the former people who lived in the past years. She says about the living and ruling in that time mostly that time is ruled by high class people and the Brahmins in that time the castes was played a vital role. So in that time a untochability also brought up Roy write this novel in that time and she knows the real problems in that time. Through this novel, “The God of Small Things” she conveys untouchability.

Author Introduction:

Ratheesh TharakanRetheesh Tharakan is a 21-year-old aspiring writer from Palakkad, Kerala, India, with a zealous passion for essays and other literature. Maya Angelou and Emily Dickson are among his favorite poets, and the works of Arundhathi Roy and Amish are loved by him. He began writing at the age of 11, and ever since, has harbored the dream to be a published writer someday. He has completed B.A in English Language & Literature from University of Calicut, Kerala. And doing his Masters in Anna University Chennai.

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