The Fearless Heroes of the Untouchables

While reading the chapter “Fearless” in Vasant Moon’s Growing Up Untouchable in India, I encountered some characters, which, I thought, should be bestowed as “fearless heroes”. As Moon describes in his novel, the Mahars were downtrodden to do low-leveled work. They were disgraced and labeled “untouchables” or “scavengers” (16). These people had lost their own identity. They had no value in the Indian community. Even if everybody was born free and had equal right to freedom, the Mahars were the unlucky ones. They were born “untouchables” and were treated as minority groups. For these people, it was difficult to raise voices against the Brahmins or Hindus, who were powerful and reputed in the society. Therefore, the characters such as Laxamnrao Ogale, Ghadale, and Dasharath Patil could be considered as the fearless personalities within a Mahar community, who fought for the restoration of rights of the Mahars.
All of the above characters were Mahar leaders. They all worked to help the Mahar, who were exploited during those times. However, one of these characters is Dasharath Patil, who actually contributed his life and property for the Mahars. In spite of being affluent, he was not a vain person. In fact, he used up his property and belongings to help poor Mahars, who were assigned to carry dead corpses of animals, and work as servants in Brahmins’ houses. After he summoned for reform in 1930, the social mobility of the Mahars was restricted which brought difficulties in living their life. Therefore, Patil as a benefactor started a market in his own land and bought goods with his own money. Moreover, he did not stop helping the Mahars after coming out of the dangerous nagfani forest (12). He provided those boycotted Mahars with jobs and security. Hence, his fearless activities in the period of cultural hazard in India acknowledged Patil as Bhim, a brave, fearless character in Hindus holy book, Mahabharat.
Besides Dasharath, who was a political and social brave figure, Maniram was also literally a fearless character, who Moon describes in this chapter. Although he did not bring any reforms for the Mahars, his fierce character helped to sustain honor of his caste. He was the only brave wrestler in Mahar community who dared to fight against the popular wrestling community of the nearby village. Even if got defeated, he would retaliate by finding ways to fight and make his enemies succumb.

Thus, these fearless characters described in the chapter were actually the heroes of the Mahar community.


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