Caste system isn't rooted in untouchability: Mrinal Pandey
In an intriguing translation of 1857: The Real Story of the Great Uprising, Mrinal Pandey brings to life the great historic event of the mid nineteenth century, the Sepoy Mutiny. Aditi Caroli reports.books Updated: Jun 27, 2011 20:11 IST
A Padmashree award winner, Mrinal has a versatile personality, "I enjoy writing the most, both fiction and non-fiction. This is the first time I have translated a book and I wasn't sure how well will I do. But this book itself attracted me, so I took up this task."
Talking about the translation, she says, "This is a story of a young Brahmin (Vishnu Bhatt) belonging to a village in the Raigarh district in Maharastra. He was poor and had very little land, which he raised with his uncles and brothers. There wasn't enough money and they had incurred a lot of debt. So to pay off the debt, he decided to go to north with his aged uncle to earn some money. At that time, several Maratha princes were ruling in Gwalior, Jhansi, Mathura and Kanpur. So he decided to perform religious ritual and make some money."
So how did Vishnu become a part of the Mutiny? "When they (Vishnu and his uncle) came up north, Mutiny had already started. One thing led to another and they got involved in the Mutiny. It's basically a travelogue, which depicts with great clarity about what happened to Jhansi Ki Rani and the terrible reprises that Jhansi suffered," informs the author.
From all her experiences, Mrinal concludes "Caste system is not so much rooted in untouchability but birth and marriage."