Untouchable: An Indian Life History, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover


An Indian Life History, 1st Edition

By James M. Freeman


430 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9781138634572
pub: 2018-09-11
Hardback: 9781138633964
pub: 2017-03-27
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315206745
pub: 2017-04-07
from $20.00

FREE Standard Shipping!


Nearly 16% of India’s population – or over 100 million people – are untouchables. Most of them, despite decades of government efforts to improve their economic and social position, remain desperately poor, illiterate, subject to brutal discrimination and economic exploitation, and with no prospect for improvement of their condition. This is the autobiography, first published in 1979, of Muli, a 40-year-old untouchable of the Bauri caste, living in the Indian state of Orissa, as told to an American anthropologist. Muli is a narrator who combines rich descriptions of daily life with perceptive observations of his social surroundings. He describes with absorbing detail what it is like to be at the bottom of Indian life, and what happens when an untouchable attempts to break out of his accepted role.

Table of Contents

Part 1. Muli: An Indian Untouchable 1. Introducing Muli 2. Collecting Muli’s Life History 3. The Setting of Muli’s Life History Part 2. Youth and Hopes 4. Muli’s Childhood, 1932-44 5. Bauris ‘Lift Up Their Faces’, 1947-8 6. A Guru for the Bauris, 1948 7. Koki’s Abortion, 1948 8. ‘I Like You Sixteen Annas’ Worth’, 1948 9. Grandmother Dungi’s Death, 1948 10. Koki’s Marriage, 1948-9 11. Doctor Babu, 1949 12. Dash Babu’s ‘Hot Disease’, 1949 Part 3. The Reluctant Householder 13. Muli’s Inauspicious Marriage, 1950-2 14. Travelling with Lakhi the Prostitute, 1953 15. Kia Possessed, 1953-6 16. Grandfather Dharma, 1956-7 17. The White Bullocks, 1957 18. Starvation and Family Quarrels, 1957-8 19. Brother Anadi, 1950-60 20. Kia’s Illness, 1960 21. Marrying and Divorcing a Tree Trunk, 1961 Part 4. Bad Times 22. A Successful Business Venture, 1962 23. Muli’s Other Wife, 1962 24. Living with Two Wives, 1962-3 25. ‘We Sit Under People’s Feet’, 1965-9 26. Transvestites and Prostitutes, 1969-72 27. Kia’s Attempted Suicide, 1971-2 28. ‘The Taker of Discarded Rinds’, 1970-1 29. Harvest Tragedy, 1971-2 Part 5. Interpretations 30. Analysis of Muli’s Life History 31. Conclusions

About the Series

Routledge Library Editions: British in India

This set of previously-out-of-print titles reissues a selection of classic works on India. These range from works on the Indian princes, the palaces of the Raj, the plight of the untouchables, Congress, and British attitudes and politics. Taken together, these books form an essential reference source.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General