Main Article Content
This article discusses how clothing becomes a man's identity in Mulk Raj Anand's 'Untouchables'. The story is about Bakha a young man filled with dreams and aspirations for his future, but because of lower caste he is alienated from the society. Clothing is a signifier of religion and castes, in the eyes of Bakha clothing becomes a metaphor for superiority and enlightenment. He thinks that if he wears the dress which the upper caste used to wear, he would cast off his untouchable status and become a respectable person like them. He was a toilet cleaner and when he wears the habiliments of the upper class then the onlookers were perplexed that someone dressed like Bakha is from the untouchable caste.This stresses the social truth that ‘you are what you wear’.
The caste barrier in dressing, which restricted the lower caste to wear proper and decent clothes, also restricted them from coming to the main stream and occupying a respectable position in the society.