CHARACTERS – AT A GLANCE
- jamadar of Sweepers
- Father of three children-Sohini (Daughter), Bakha (18 year old son), Rakha (Youngest Son)
- Lazy and abusive and feel satisfied with his work
- Protagonist of the story and son of Lakha-an abusive father
- 18 year old young man working as a sweeper in the British Barracks
- Does not like sweeping
- Not revolting against untouchability; but rather believing in gradual change in the lot of the Untouchable.
- Not believing in the practice of untouchability, Charat Singh-a hockey player, invites him to tea and gifts him a brand new hockey stick.
- Colonel Hutchinson-a missionary-wants to convert him into Christianity
- Driven out of the house by father Lakha for his unwillingness to do sweeping
- Hears the speech of Mahatma against the malpractice of Untouchability and becomes hopeful for a change in the lot of sweepers
- Daughter of Lakha
- Young and beautiful
- Patient and resilient
- Sexually assaulted by Priest Kalinath
- Younger son of Lakha
- Typical son of Outcast parents
- Bhagwan Das – Hakim or Local Doctor who saved Bakha’s life when he was a child
- Charat Singh – Hockey Star, a jocular personality who does not believe in Untouchability and invites Bakha to tea. He gifts a brand new hockey stick to him.
- Chota – One of Bakha’s best friends belonging to a bit higher caste
- Ram Charan – Another best friend of Bakha belonging to a bit higher caste
- Pandit Kalinath – A priest of a temple at Bulashah. He sexually assaults Bakha’s young sister Sohini but instead of feeling guilty accuses her of defiling him.
- Gulabo – A washer woman who is mother of Ram Charan. She is very jealous and does not like Sohini.
- Colonel Hutchinson – A missionary wanting to convert Bakha into Christianity.
- Iqbal Sarsar – A poet defending Mahatma and favours Karl Marx’s socialist theory.
- N. Bashir – An Indian lawyer who studied at Oxford but is critical of Mahatma and Socialism.
STORY AT A GLANCE
The story is about a low caste family which earns by cleaning latrines. Lakha is the Jamadar of sweepers. He has three children namely Sohini-a young, beautiful girl, Bakha-an 18 year old boy reluctant to do his father’s task, Rakha-the youngest son.
Bakha very unwillingly does the work of sweeping and so he looks forward to a change in the lot of sweepers. Showing his sluggishness towards his duty, he is driven out of the house. He then, hears the speech of Mahatma-a symbolic name of Mahatma Gandhi-. His speech develops in him optimism for societal change in which sweepers would no longer clean the latrines of high castes.