The Night Soil Man

The Night Soil Man Unlike Mulk Raj Anand s Untouchable this satirical novel serves as a scathing comment on the mindset of so called middle caste Hindus on the one hand and the colonial settler mentality on the othe

  • Title: The Night Soil Man
  • Author: T. Wignesan
  • ISBN: 9788182531246
  • Page: 471
  • Format: Paperback
  • Unlike Mulk Raj Anand s Untouchable, this satirical novel serves as a scathing comment on the mindset of so called middle caste Hindus, on the one hand, and the colonial settler mentality, on the other, by looking at the issue from across or from the other side of the social divide The plot unfolds like cin ma v rit The action takes place during a few days at a Hindu teUnlike Mulk Raj Anand s Untouchable, this satirical novel serves as a scathing comment on the mindset of so called middle caste Hindus, on the one hand, and the colonial settler mentality, on the other, by looking at the issue from across or from the other side of the social divide The plot unfolds like cin ma v rit The action takes place during a few days at a Hindu temple and its environs in the Malay si an capital where a national Hindu conference brings together the leaders and representatives of a cross section of the local immigrant Indo Sri Lankan communities, ostensibly to discuss and forge unity among themselves in the face of imminent Independence from the colonial British administration The introduction of an Untouchable or Night Soil Man in the midst of so called higher caste Hindus disrupts the conference The plot works up to this climax with not so predictable or likely results, thus making its claims on the nouveau roman genre The link between the ruler and the ruled is the newspaper reporter Thamby, caught in the grind between the British master and the locals who show no signs of mastering themselves The characters and events of this story are entirely fictitious in construction and narration Even if the names of the streets, buildings and lay of the land pinpoint the venue in Kuala Lumpur, these are not material to the time of the action For instance, there was no university in the city before Independence was attained in 1957 At that time, the vast majority of Hindu Indians in Malaysia and Singapore was Tamil, and those that constituted the articulate and educated majority among them were disproportionately from Jaffna in the old Ceylon The first nominated Member of Education in the Cabinet was a Jaffnese Tamil, and the first nominated U.N Representative was an Indian Tamil Brahmin Other sizeable Indian communities were made up of Sikhs, Punjabis, Bengalees, and Malayalees from India The conference of Indians or Hindus is an event, however, not unique to this novel, since Indians in Malaysia continue to meet on a national level for various reasons Any similarity to other such meetings or living persons is purely coincidental, with the exception of the character of the Swami which is founded on a real life Swami who had a big role to play at one Hindu conference in Kuala Lumpur The venue of one incident at the end, however, shifts to London in keeping with the logical movement of the story in a colonial protectorate Here reality and the imaginary intermingle for effect The novel was conceived and written in a month during July August 1967 in Madrid, Spain Some slight changes in the language and style have also been introduced by the author since then.

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