Synopsis by Clarke Fountain
East Indians still suffer under the heavy weight of the Laws of Mani, which prescribe occupations and social obligations for every kind of person, organized into "castes." Those on the bottom of the totem pole are obliged to do whatever work is not forbidden to them by the ancient codes. Basically, they are asked to do whatever no one else is willing to do. Given the numbers of poor in India, that is a tall order indeed. In the story, a father, his son, and family, work like slaves on the farms of wealthy upper-caste men who virtually own them. The father is keenly aware of the unfairness of the situation and occasionally resorts to small thefts to keep everyone fed. When his son marries a girl from the next town, their difficulties are increased until the boy's wife dies in childbirth. When the family seeks to raise money for the girl's funeral, they get more money than they imagined possible and are forced to reflect on the conditions they and their caste have labored under.
caste-system, class-clash, father, marriage