Can we just fold our arms and stare at a dead body laid out in the agrahara? According to ancient custom, until the body is properly removed, there can be no worship, no bathing, no prayers, no food, nothing. And, because he was not excommunicated, no one but a Brahmin can touch his body. Between the horrible stench, the abundance of rats and appearance of vultures, all members of the community must flee. It is no wonder that these Brahmins would be upset by this depiction of their religious sect as ridiculous hypocrites with individual hedonistic obsessions.
The Brahmins in the novel at least feign piety and self-control, while Naranappa openly flaunts his rejection of their strict practices. For example, Dasacharya is a miserly man who gets all of his food and nourishment from the meals that Brahmins receive at death ceremonies and anniversaries. Look at those breasts. Her eyes, which should be fickle, are not misty with grief and fear, but she looks good that way.
In order to entice the Brahmins to bury her lover, Chandri takes off her gold jewelry and adornments and offers these riches to the men of the village. Putta was a person who lived in the present. He gave importance to enjoying the little pleasures of life. He did not pretend to be very spiritual or high headed. As they neared the temple, beggars sat on either side of the narrow road.
There were beggars with stumps for hands or legs, blind men, people with two holes in place of a nose, cripples of every kind. For the Acharya, this was a disgusting sight to see. But even this unpleasent sight was an interesting experience to Putta. The temple town was filled with people. The shops were full of village women, shyly drinking soda-water, farmers, children.
To them the whole festival was a matter of enjoyment, experience and contentment. Through all this excited activity and movement, Praneshacharya walked as one entranced, following Putta. He was the only person who could not enjoy the festival since he was incapable of being involved in anything. Finally Praneshacharya found a pretext to get rid of Putta.
He said that he wanted to sell some jewellery. But instead of leaving him alone, Putta volunteerily offered his help in negotiating the price with the goldsmith. In fact Putta personally knew the goldsmith and wanted to ensure that the Acharya was not cheated.
Thus we find that Putta extends his hand of friendship to the Acharya upto the very end of the novel. But Praneshcharya did not have the capacity to appreciate and honour the friendship of this helpful human being. Conclusion[ edit ] Praneshacharya spent all his life in intellectual and spiritual pursuits.
He married an invalid and tortured himself so as to purify his soul. His wife advised him to marry another women so as to get a child, but he refused to yield. But very soon he falls in our esteem because he is not able to take any decision regarding the burial of Naranappa. As the spiritual leader of the Durvasapara village, it is his duty to guide the Brahmins in this difficult predicament.
But he simply went through the holy books umpteen times without reaching at a definite conclusion. The defects in his personality are further sublimated when he falls to the attractions of the prostitute Chandri outside the Hanuman Temple. Just like any other ordinary man, he made love to her and even ate taboo food from her hands.
The Acharya was not able to recover from the shock of this incident. He wandered aimlessily along the forest footpath until he met Putta. Compared to the Acharya, Putta had a stronger and more pragmatic kind of personality. He was chatty, amiable and eager to help. He belonged to a lower caste community called Maleras. His knowledge and intelligence was limited. But in spite of all his limitations, he had the capacity to carry an interesting and intriguing conversation.
It would seem to the readers that Putta was wiser than the Acharya in some aspects. The earth is the only planet that has water resources and an oxygen envelope around it. The rivers and the mountains , the meadows and the lakes were all beautifully built by God for our enjoyment. For people like Praneshacharya, divinity was something you found by indulging in holy books and scriptures. Praneshacharya searched for divinity all his life. But when God himself appeared before him in disguise of Putta, he could not recognize Him.
He even could not feel comfortable in the heartfelt friendship of Putta. His only desire was to get rid of Putta. Putta is like a lottery ticket. Your scratch the aluminium foil and the prize comes out. Your scratch Putta and God comes out of him and all you have to do is to fall down at His feet.
For Putta, the festival ground is a source of infinite joy. He makes use of each and every element of festivity. When he sees a soda-pop shop, he drinks a soda. When he sees a coffee-shop, he enjoys a cup. When he sees the Bombay Box, he peeps into it.
Even the ugly beggars do not dampen his spirit. Instead, he made the most of the situation and enjoyed himself. Praneshacharya, on the other hand, cannot enjoy anything in the Melige town.
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The story begins with the death of Naranappa. Long a thorn in the side of the community, as he had undermined the local ways every which way possible, he nevertheless had not been excommunicated and was still technically one of their own. In death this became a problem that previously they managed to sidestep: hard caste rules mean that only a brahmin can handle the body, and the appropriate rites can only be performed by a relative or, if need be, another brahmin.
However, given who Naranappa was -- "a smear on the good name of the agrahara" --, no one wants to associate themselves with performing the vital rites for him.
Matters are further complicated by Naranappa's concubine Chandri throwing her gold jewelry into the ring, as it were, offering it to anyone willing to perform the rites. The two thousand rupees worth of gold is a fortune to the villagers, and obviously a great temptation -- yet no one wants to be seen as having been bought off, so in fact Chandri's offer makes it even more difficult for anyone to step forward.
There is also considerable urgency to resolving this problem. Not only does a corpse not fare well in this climate, but caste rules are firm: According to ancient custom, until the body is properly removed there can be no worship, no bathing, no prayers, no food, nothing.
The evidence is Sohinis word against the Brahmins. What can Sohini do? Is there any one to listen to her story of molestation? She can do very little except to share her story with her brother Bakha. And when I screamed, he came out Shouting that he had been defiled.
Untouchable, He-e-e just teased me, she at last yielded. And then when I was bending Down to work, he came and held me by my breasts. While the very sight and shadow of untouchable would defile or pollute the high caste Brahmins, they yet tend to ignore such Hypocrisy and the Unplumbed Penetralia: an Examination of taboos if they can derive sexual gratification by engaging in molesting untouchable women.
Such incidents are usually swept under the rug. In a more detailed fashion, U. Anantha Murthy in Samskara, subtitled A Rite for a Dead Man, a post-colonial novel of years after Mulk Raj Anands colonial novel of in the Dravidian language Kannada, meticulously and elegantly translated by A.
Ramanujanconsidered a novel of decadent Hinduism,a religious novel about a decaying Brahmin colony in the south Indian village of Karnataka A death, which stands as the central event in the plot, brings in its wake a plague, many more deaths, live questions with only dead answers, moral chaos, and the rebirth of one man.
The title Samskara refers to a concept central to Hinduism; some of the denotations are: A rite of passage or life-cycle ceremony; making perfect; preparation, making ready.
Quoted from A Kannada-English dictionary by the Rev. Kittel, Mangalore, , given in the English translation of the work This novel too exposes the hypocrisy imbedded but explored occasional practices of Brahmins. Central to the novels plot are three characters, clearly outside the pale of orthodox Brahminism, who force Praneshacharya, a pillar of his Brahmin community, to realize that orthodoxy has become a convenient way to repress his passion and retreat from life.
When Praneshacharya determines to live with the outcaste woman, Chandri, he reveals his transgressions to the village. His spiritual power, and by extension that of Brahmin India, is channeled to the real world by his rejecting the inhumanity of orthodox Brahmanism.
Samskara insightfully and ironically explores the plights of Hinduisms highest castethe Brahmin: Shripati, with his longing to escape the Brahmin dump and his adulterous relationship of the outcaste Belli Samskara, ; Dasacharyas continual meals behind the backs of the fasting townfellows ; Garudas and Lakshmanacharyas lust for Chandris gold.
Even the agraharas the Brahmin hamlet most dedicated Praneshacharya loses his self when he realizes the sexual touch of a woman for the first time It is at this stage that Praneshacharya enters a new realm of understanding. Light is shed upon the indifferent attitudes towards Brahmanism viewed in his estranged friends Naranappa and Mahabala. As one who stood alone for so long, strong in his conviction of self and confused at the hypocritical and detesting attitudes toward Brahmanism found in nearly every one else he knows, Praneshacharya Satyam S.
Moorty struggles with the religion he embraces so closely for his entire life. He finds himself caught in the play of opposites , soliciting away the person he once was piece by piece. He laments his sins, all his secrets and breaking of ritual to himself, one by one: I slept with Chandri.
I felt disgust for my wife. I drank coffee in a common Shop in a fair. I went to see a cock-fight. I lusted after Padmavati. Even at a Time of mourning and pollution, I sat in a temple-line with Brahmins and ate a holy feast. I even invited a lower-caste Malera boy to come into the temple and join me. This is my truththe truth of my inner life.
The difficulties and influence of modernization and the allure of the city affects each of the Brahmins in some way. The novel ends as Praneshacharya, a pillar of Durvasapuras Brahman society, who has an illicit liaison with Chandri, an outcaste R. Parthasarathy, Samskara: The Passing of the Brahman Tradition, stands at the threshold standing between a return to his Brahmin devotion or a further journey into Naranappa and Mahabalas world of release and instant gratification.
Praneshacharya has an opportunity to escape his caste, to reinvent himself. He has a choice, more so than Bakha of Anands Untouchable to become someone else; whereas Bakhas salvation will not necessarily appear in choice, but possibly the sewer system that will release from cleaning latrines and the stigma dirtThey think we are dirt because we clean their dirt. Verma asserts that Bakha is a helpless victim of social and religious determinism and of a system from which he cannot escape.
Nor can he rebel against the combined forces of religion and society.He extended his campanionship to the Acharya and insisted on remaining with him throughout the journey. Everyone was ready to accept his verdict. It would seem to the readers that Putta was wiser than the Acharya in some aspects. But Putta is a very frindly and helpful type of person. Your scratch Putta and God comes out of him and all you have to do is to fall down at His feet. Chandri wept for her dead lover and returned to Kundapura, her native village. Just like any other ordinary man, he made love that tragedyby extrapolationliterature is superior to history, philosophy, metaphysics. Surely, novel, we are reminded of Aristotles justifiable claim to her and review ate taboo food from her. And then when I was bending Down to work, he came and held me by my essays. Anantha Murthy does not make things clear even at out. Perhaps you were persuaded by that column and agree way, and focus in on the underlying causes of.
He was chatty, amiable and eager to help. In some ways they are social, cultural, and religious journeys.
Samskara begins with one of the central cleansing and purification rituals in the rites of Hindu worship. Preface to Mulk Raj Anands Untouchable. Shelves: mycents , bharat , booker-prize If one believes that life is complicated then death comes with its own share of ramifications.