Untouchability is something that is not new in our societies. Though nowadays it is not available to see openly, but somewhere secretly or subtly it is being carried out. Our country, India, has muddy history of untouchability, people from one era to another have had suffered because of it for no apparent reasons. Questions like who created it and why it is still existing, no one asks. People do not care for the suffering of others. It truly a matter of concern for all of us.
Undoubtedly, untouchability is a widely-spoken topic across the globe, thus it is not an exception in the world of literature too. In the past, there have been many books based on untouchability, the most dazzling one was Untouchable by MulkRaj Anand. This topic was covered well and widely in India just after the independence, however, in modern time people hardly care about writing literature on this topic. So, books on untouchability are rare, but today we have this book (Rayan’s Cry) that takes us into the life of one person – the narrator himself. He brings alive or sets his life events in chronicles to understand what it is like to be an untouchable in India.
People, at school, at college, at job still see one’s caste before giving them promotion and praise. Getting into the book of 350 plus pages, we found Rayan – the protagonist. The story kicks off with his grandpa Ram Samban's story. He was awarded 100 lashes by an upper caste landlord, because Ram Samban's cooking smoke entered the mansion of that landlord. Imagine the extent of difference and torture.
As midway when the author takes us into the caste system of India, we see various such anecdotes. Though sounding interesting but somehow a matter of concern of all of us. Untouchability is a curse in any society. In the same book, we also get to know that due to untouchability millions of people converted to different religions, leaving their core Hindu religion.
Other than the author's personal story, there was a story of the arrival and spread of Brahmins in India. That part is the shining star in the universe. We are sure that this book will shake you to some extent, make you embarrass, and give new insights about caste system operation in India.
The story is personal and long, so giving away all details isn't a fair job. Well, at the most, kindly pick up this book and have your experience by yourself. The author has used a simple narration technique, and at times it goes up and down, depending upon the incidents or heat of the moment. The story sounds in sync, you can pick up where you left without much difficulty. Great work by Suraj Rayan. Indeed an inspiring story of a family that rose from slavery to royalty.