Untouchable – Photograph

Series nameProduction: Untouchable

This black and white photograph features Rashid Karapiet, playing the character Lakha, in Tamasha’s production of ‘Untouchable’.The play premiered at the Riverside Studios, Hammersmith on 4 December 1989, and was adapted from Mulk Raj Anand’s 1935 novel of the same title. The play depicted the challenges and despair in the life of a young boy, born into the untouchable class in India.

Date of Creation / Publication1989
CreatorPotter, Jimmy
Associated Person/ OrganisationBuchar, Sudha; Karapiet, Rashid
Collection and Reference NumberTamasha Theatre Company (GB 2661 TT)
Catalogue NumberTT/PRO/UN/2
CopyrightThe Creator and/ or associated person or organisation where applicable
Access to originalsThe originals are located at Tamasha Theatre Company http:www.tamasha.org.uk
Series notesTamasha's first production, 'Untouchable' was staged in 1989. It was a play adapted for the stage from the novel of the same title by Mulk Raj Anand (1905 - ), written in 1935. Fifty-three years later, Kristine Landon-Smith, co-founder and co-director of Tamasha Theatre Company, along with her second-year students at The National School of Drama in New Delhi, India, completed the final stage adaptation.

'Untouchable' is set in the historical context of 1934 India, at the time when the British were advocating separate electorates for Hindus, Muslims and the untouchables, or depressed classes, in the new constitution. Untouchables were the fifth and deemed lowest, group in the Hindu caste system. The people were confined to living on the outskirts of villages and denied access to wells, rivers, temples and other public places. If a higher caste Hindu came into contact with an Untouchable, he was to purge himself with prescribed ablutions. Earlier in his life, peace and equality activist Mahatma Gandhi had declared that, as there was no basis for the concept of untouchability in the Hindu scriptures, the removal of it from Indian society was a pre-condition to self governance. Upon hearing about the possibility of separate electorates, Gandhi declared he would fast to death unless this decision was revoked.

Following his release from prison in 1933, Gandhi began an all-India tour, visiting every province and village and challenging orthodox Hindus on the removal of untouchabiltiy. It is on one day in this tour, that the play Untouchable is set. Bulandshahr is a fictitious town in the Punjab, where news of Ghandi's visit had reached everyone. The drama focuses on this particular day and highlights the relationship between the high castes and low castes and the impact of Gandhi's visit.

The cast of 'Untouchable' includes Ravi Aujla, Sudha Buchar, Ajay Chhabra, Charubala Chokshi, Dhirendra, Neeru Harrison, Kaleem Janjua, Ronny Jhutti, Rashid Karapiet, Bhavesh Lodhia, Dinesh Shukla and Baluji Shrivastav.
Collection notesThe Tamasha Theatre collection consists of digitised material which relate to their productions and include items such as flyers, programmes, scripts, photographs, and stage and costume drawings.