Ahmad injustice and brutality. If all human beings are

Ahmad Bin Qasim khan

Dr Naveed Rehan

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Research Methodolgy ( LTN-559)


Class and Caste Discrimination in Indian society By Arundhati Roy’s Novel of “God of Small


Arundhati Roy is a
novelist, revolutionary figure  and a
world famous Indian artist  . In this
novel she discourages the caste and class system in Indian society. She
believes that caste discrimination is a big Violation and threat to human
rights. A caste and class system based society generates the pathetic roots of
injustice and brutality. If all human beings are equal in all sense with same
physical appearance then there should be no possibility of racial
discrimination. Nature created humans equal but societal harsh standards make
unjustified classification and division on the basis of caste, color, language
and class. This discrimination of caste and class system is a big societal flaw
in some eastern

Countries and especially in India. India declares itself a
big secular and democratic state but it is not a matter of fact. Indian society
still believes on conservative men made irrational standards of living with a
discriminative school of thought. Arundhati
Roy is describing the bitter assertion of Indian society with these
baseless, illogical, irrational and unjustified class and caste system
discrimination among the people in a society. In this novel she portrays the
cross caste and sub-caste based social sections existing in the Hindu society.
She is expressing post-colonial effects  

In this regard, she says that: “Fifty years after
independence, India is still struggling with the

legacy of colonialism, still flinching from the cultural
insult (and) we are still caught up in the

business of “disproving” the white world’s
definition of us” (Roy, 73-74).

She is criticizing the brutal rules of Indian society which
are based upon the class and caste

system of their ignorant forefathers. She criticizes the
Indian education system because so called

highly educated are still believer of orthodox caste and
class system. Where there is

classification on the base class and caste there is no sign
of justice and such society leads to

extremism because racial discrimination is a basic cause of
extremism. In this novel,

“The God of Small Things” the laws of India’s
caste system are conked out by the characters of

Ammu and Velutha, an Untouchable or Paravan. Velutha works
at the Paradise Pickles and

preserves factory owned by Ammu’s family. Yet, because he is
an Untouchable, the other

workers rail against him and he is remunerated less money
for his work. The novelist is trying to

explore the deep rooted evil of caste and class system in
Hindu societies of India. Velutha is a

highly efficient carpenter works in Marnmachi”s
Paradise Pickles and preserves factory. Velutha

emphasizes the many boundaries that were prevalent for the
untouchables in India. A Paravan by

birth, Velutha faces much discrimination both in his private
and public life. In this novel

Velutha is playing a vital role he is a man who is facing
these harsh, panic and brutal societal

norms. Velutha is shown as the big victim of this hateful
discrimination of class and castes of class discrimination are deep penetrated
in Indian society. Arundhati Roy writes: ” Valutha is black but he is so
smart. Cast and class discrimination is personified through his life. He lives
in poverty .As the main character, Velutha belongs to the lower social class.
Life background has significance role and it makes his having lower class level
as poor people. He was called Velutha which means White in Malayalam

because he was so black. His father, VellyaPaapen, was a
Paravan. A today tapper ( 1997:

35).The quotation shows Velutha.,s life background. Velutha
is a son ofVellyanPaapen whom a

Paravan. So, it automatically makes Velutha become a Paravan
too. Paravan is the lowest caste

in India. It is also called Untouchable. A Paravan contains
of poor people because usually

Paravan only work as a lower class Velyan Paapen works as a
maid in Pappachi family, it means

that he cannot deserve his son to get a good financial
condition. It brings Velutha living under

poverty. Social class rises through his poor condition,
because the economic condition he has,

indicates that Velutha belongs to lower caste people. Roy is
describing the genetic slavery and

racial unfairness and class inequity in Indian society. She
is presenting the pathetic conditions of

untouchable people. She is narrating this illogical Indian
social system that is damaging basic

human rights in entire Indian history. Social barriers and
unjustified boundaries in which lower

class Hindus are bounded are much panic. A lower class
Indian cannot enjoy the basic human

rights in India because he is having no freedom of
expression, no liberty to make progress, no

freedom to enjoy the rights as high class are enjoying. This
irrational approach is the root cause

of some hateful activities like terrorism, street killing
and suicidal attacks. Because sense of

injustice always generates solid roots of extremism.

Paul Benjamin Auster writes: ” God of small things is a
voice for oppressed Indians and Roy is

a remarkable literary writer and human activist” ( The
Boston Globe, 6 ). Roy also criticizes Indian sense of inferiority complex
while facing a European white individual.

According to the novelist: “That whole week Baby
Kochamma eavesdropped relentlessly on the

twins’ private conversations, and whenever she caught them
speaking in Malayalam, she levied a

small fine which was deducted at source. From their pocket
money. She made them write lines

“impositions” she called them – I will always
speak in English, I will always speak in English. A

hundred times each” (Roy, 2.7). Baby Kochamma focuses
on British culture she is shown as

much impressed by white people and her personality flaw is
represented as an educated woman

considering herself inferior because of her geographic
existence and colour of skin.She was

much influenced by English language and culture. She use to
consider white people inherently

superior. Here, she punishes the native twins for speaking
their own native language instead of

English language. Sophie Mol lives in England her residence
making a reason of superiority as

compared to native twins Rahel and Estha. And Sophie Mol is
considered as half-Indian and

half-British because she lives in England. She is describing
the issues of native Indian because of

their class, caste and geographical existence. She is trying
to highlight the sociocultural issues of

Indians. The novelist describing the psychological issues
because of this concept of caste and

culture. One should not consider him! her inferior because of
their skin colure, language, class,

caste and family. She lays stress upon the values of
equality through this novel. Every individual

is equal in terms ofliving his or her life in a society. But
societal rigid norms are killing the

basic human rights in indian society. She writes in the
novel: “Baby Kochamma subscribed

wholeheartedly to the commonly held view that a married
daughter had no position in her

parents’ home. As for a divorced daughter – according to
Baby Kochamma, she had no position

anywhere at all. And as for a divorced daughter from a love
marriage, well, words could not

describe Baby Kochamma’s outrage. As for a divorced daughter
from an intercommunity lovemarIt seems that Baby Kochamma lives to put others
down. One of the easiest ways to do this is

to point out other people’s violations of societal rules.
Here, she finds not one, not two, but three

societal standards that Ammu breaks, giving her ample reason
to look down on her.riage – Baby

Kochamma chose to remain quiveringly silent on the
subject” (Roy, 2.56). It looks that Baby

Kochamma lives to suppress others down. One of the easiest
and basic way to do this is to point

out other people’s violations of societal norms and rules.
Here, she searches not one, not two, but

three societal norms that Ammu breaks, giving her ample
reason to look down on her. She

always talks about the societal standards and always
disgrace others. Baby kochamma is

represented as very orthodox personality with a solid
believer of societal norms. She always

shown as getting dominance over others people by setting
barriers of societal standards on them.

Velutha who is represented as a big victim of this caste and
class system of discrimination is

shown as loving with high standard lady Ammu who belongs to
high class but both love each

other unconditionally. Their love was against the standards
of society that’s why both have to face brutal, terrible and panic situations.
Both lover faced too much physical torture especially in

the case of velutha he was beaten badly he was to face too
physical torture to live. His affair was

unthinkable and unapproachable because he broke old norms
and standards of society.

According to novelist: “Who should be loved and how.
Even Velutha’Is own father is enraged by

his son’s audacity to commit such a “sinH and even
offers to kill his own son to avoid any

scandal. He is wrongly accused of kidnapping the children
and punished by the authorities

brutally. He is treated in an inhumane manner. When they go
to arrest him, they wake Velutha

with their boots (Roy, 308). Even though, the charge is
never proved against Velutha he is

victimized by the “Touchable” high class Policemen
because of breaking societal standards and

making love bond with high standard lady Ammu. After such a
barbaric and panic treatment, Velutha dies during the night. The death of
Velutha Vanquishes all the Roy”s hope in the lives of

Ammu and her children. She attack on the untouchable –
touchable relationship sheds light on the

mindless and irrational rigid laws that oppress and suppress
people just on the basis of their birth.

We are left wondering if the caste system will ever truly be
abolished ad how many invisible

Velutha swill it take to realize that we are humans first
irrespective of our caste and culture.

Velutha does not even have any common rights and is treated
terribly by the entire society. Roy

tries to raise awareness about this social system that has
haunted the Indian society for decades

and which continues even to this day. Roy thus moves the
story about the Indian caste system,

the role of communism in Kerala, and the love laws that
govern the characters serve to remind us

of many changes that need to be brought about and soon. We
see that untouchability is still being

practiced in Indian society. The suffering misery of the
characters which is common to highlight

the urgent need for change our attitude, behavior and we
should treat them. Nevertheless,

Arundhati Roy wrote bravely and courageously against the
rigid norms and conservative

standards of Indian society. She raised voice for the lower
class people she tries to create a sense

of their respect. Everyone should be treated equal in a
society. We should eradicate conservative societal standards

1.. Arundhati Roy: Reclaiming Voices on the margin in the
God of small things Angelika Olsson January 2011.



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