2) Critically analyse Gandhiji’s thoughts on untouchability and untouchables.

TopicModern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues 

2) Critically analyse Gandhiji’s thoughts on untouchability and untouchables. (200 Words)

EPW

  • Zoro

    Mahatama Gandhi from the very onset, be it South Africa or his early movements in India dedicated his life to work for the masses, the downtrodden and the oppressed. However post the non cooperation movement and later after the civil disobedience movement his resolve to uplift the untouchables from the clutches of apathy, strengthened.

    Gandhiji firmly believe in eradication of untouchability. For the same reason he worked to sensitize Indian masses against the practice of untouchability. Afte the 2nd RTC and Poona Pact gandhiji started Harijan, and wrote articles, organized marches, tried to remove the blot of untouchability from the society. His efforts were complemented by Dr.Bhima Rao Ambedkar, the indisputable leader of the depressed classes. However the two differed on the system of varnashram.

    Gandhiji believed in the caste system, and the age old practice of varnashram. Thereby he gave legitimacy to the class and caste system. Whereas Ambedkar believed in an all together annihilation of caste system. Gandhiji respected the Hindu stratified society but worked to eradicate the practice of untouchability that had evolved over time as it was in first half of the 20th century.

    Hence it is interesting to note that gandhiji understood the reasons behind perpetuity of caste system but stood strong against the discrimination of the lower castes.

    • Sahil Sangwan

      critical analysis is missing.

      in critical analysis we have to mention negative points also like:
      1) he didn’t favored the Ambedkar’s annihilation of caste.
      2) he didn’t support the separate electorate for untouchables ( communal award).
      3) he favored hinduism or caste system knowing that it is the root cause of untouchability in india.

      • Zoro

        I mentioned the 1st and 3rd point you made.
        I didn’t do the separation of electorates because it was related to the politics and diversion of Hindu votes.

      • Saint Shambhujs

        please review mine

      • Mohit Kumar

        He did not check the temple opening for untouchable . after independence only , Right to equality abolish it.

      • Arduous

        agreed with you….question is about critical analysis..

    • Saint Shambhujs

      A short and smart answer
      nice
      can you please review mine

      • godslonelyman

        pl review mine

    • G. Pankaj

      Gandhi didn’t support caste system though he believed in Varna System because it was based on labour and he believed in the dignity of labour.

      I think, question demanded his thoughts rather his actions against untouchability. You covered nice points but his critical views on untouchability could have been added..

      • Zoro

        Hey, I have added that he supported varnashram and stood against untouchability. In same context his opinions differed from Ambedkar. I have written how he gave legitimacy to caste system and stood against the evolved practice of untouchability. I have written these points.

        Please help me with this, because two people have pointed that I missed critical anlysis. Although I made sure I did that

    • Kartik

      I agree with Pankaj’s feedback ! You have emphasized on his actions, and missed the critical part !! Keep writing ..

      • Zoro

        Please help me understand. The critical analysis included:-
        Annihilation of caste and gandhiji views on it
        His support for varnashram
        His angst against the oppression of depressed classes but still not dividing Hindu vote bank.. And still working on community building efforts to end untouchability.

        I don’t understand what else is to written.. Last two Paras add to it

        • Kartik

          True…I got carried away reading your “actions part”. Additionally u could have talked about social relations of caste system that is a part of political economy..Gandhiji didn’t emphasized this. If time permits, go through godslonelyman answer ! U might get more critical points there 🙂

    • ragini sharma

      what about untouchable ?

      • Zoro

        The first part of the answer deals with untouchables.

  • IAS @ 2016

    Mahatma Gandhiji played a memorable role in uplifting the untouchables. Gandhiji popularised the word “Harijan”‘ meaning “the people of God” — a word which was first coined and used by a Guajarati Brahmin saint by name Narasinha Mehta

    According to Gandhiji, the practice of untouch­ability is “a leper wound in the whole-body of Hindu politic”. He even regarded it as “the hate fullest expression of caste”. He made it his life’s mission to wipe out untouchability and to uplift the de­pressed and the downtrodden people. As a servant of mankind, he preached that all human beings are equal and hence the Harijans too have a right for social life along with other caste groups.

    Gandhiji who regarded untouchability as a blot on Hinduism wanted to do away with it com­pletely. He wrote in 1920 … ” Without the removal of the untouchability, Swaraj is a meaningless term”. He even felt that the foreign domination of our country was the result of our exploitation of almost one-sixth of our own people in the name of religion.

    In spite of Gandhiji’s protest, the British Prime Minister decided to grant separate seats for the depressed classes and the right of double vote in which they could elect their own representatives and also vote in which they could elect their own representatives and also vote in general elections. In protest against this “communal award” Gandhiji decided to stage the fast unto death satyagraha. This declaration of Gandhiji opened the eyes of the whole country towards the problem of untouchables.

    • IAS @ 2016

      pls review

    • Carpe Diem`

      very good..loved it..the terms were perfect..

      Plz review mine.. 🙂

    • YdoVfall

      You could mention how he perceived practise of untouchability deterred any meaningful struggle and common front against British. Though he said caste system was natural and was based on division of labor thus insulating the core of Hinduism, yet he found untouchability as a crime inflicting the body politic and said that upper classes must redeem by paying for their sins against Harijans. Thus through Harijan newspaper and Harijan Seva Sangh he tried to bring the evils untouchability .

    • Harsh Sharma

      Clear , to the point answer , very good.

    • Ria

      ‘Critical’ analysis missing

      • pankaj

        But what to write critical analysis

        • Sahil Sangwan

          in critical analysis we have to mention negative points also like:
          1) he didn’t favored the Ambedkar’s annihilation of caste.
          2) he didn’t support the separate electorate for untouchables.
          3) he favored hinduism or caste system knowing that it is the root cause of untouchability in india.

      • Saint Shambhujs

        Can u please review mine

    • Ace.Reviewer

      2nd RTC POONA PACT ckeanluness drives in satyagraaha

  • Carpe Diem`

    Father of the nation – Gandhiji was one of the biggest advocates of disadvantaged groups which included women and untouchables.
    He fought against this evil system in one hand and tried to empower these groups through education, philosophy and charkha on the other. Gandhiji was deeply moved by the misery of untouchables thus started many initiatives like ‘Harijan Campaign’. He said:

    “ My fight against untouchability is a fight against the impure in humanity”

    – He take it as his duty as he dreamed of a prosper and healthy nation where people are not differentiated on the basis of race, sex, color or caste.
    – His campaign against untouchability was also a counter to British ‘Divide and Rule’ policy, which tried to dismantle harmony in India. Mobilization of untouchables was one of the biggest achievements of Gandhiji. As many of regional fights against British, were fought by them.
    – He found it ironical that how people who are responsible for ‘cleanliness’ were branded as untouchables. Whenever he used to see any litter on the road, he used to clear himself. This shows he was not only a preacher but a practitioner.

    Untouchanility is an unjust practice which does not hold any ground in any civilized society. Our leaders showed us the right path and the constitution put a stamp on them. Although, much damage has been done but reservation and other social benefits will change the situation in future.

    • Carpe Diem`

      Plz review friends..:)

    • IAS @ 2016

      good way of presenting the answer
      keep writing

    • Shadab

      Daviation from question,
      Critical analysis is missing.

      • Carpe Diem`

        Oops..missed it again..tanx for pointing out… 🙂

    • Saint Shambhujs

      well within words and simple and suitable contents
      please review mine

      • Carpe Diem`

        Tanx ..sure i will..:)

    • Arduous

      good answer , points covered but critical analysis is missing……gandhi was also against inter caste marriage as well he changed afterwards..keep writing..

      • Carpe Diem`

        Tanx Arduous.. Yes i missed that..

        Will keep that in mind..:)

  • SKB

    pl review

  • Kartik

    Gandhiji is one of India’s premier opponent of the practice of untouchability rooted in our society for several years.

    Gandhiji felt that the society is divided on the ideas of purity and impurity that has become the ground reason for the
    exclusion of untouchables. He coined a new term “Harijans” for referring the dailts. He held several talks to do away with the invidious distinction between Brahmins and Bhangi. People of upper caste didn’t pay much heed to his thoughts. There had been different forms of discrimination against the untouchables – separate ponds or well to draw water; Brahmins ensured that dalit’s shadow don’t fall upon them; rituals of some festival saw dalits washing the feet of the pandits and afterwards bathe with that dirty water and many more. His works largely concentrated on bringing harmonious relationship between upper caste and untouchables by giving them recognition in our society.

    It is felt that Gandhiji missed the larger picture that paints the social relations of production and property as the main pillar
    behind such discrimination. Caste violence stem from the denial of entitlement to land, wealth, knowledge or equal opportunity. Doubtless, Hinduism has provided fictitious justification of untouchability in terms of god, karma, dharma or others. So , Gandhiji tried to fight against the deeply rooted religious ideas or customs that supported the menace of untouchability. Nonetheless, he didn’t carry his fight against the social relations of the caste system that is a part of political economy. Consequently, his dream of a clean India remained partially unfulfilled because we still see instances of this act in our society.

    • godslonelyman

      definitely a good ans in terms of content but
      1. word limit breached 266
      2. writing in points would hv been more convenient for a 55yr old examiner 🙂

      • Kartik

        Thanks ! I shall keep word limit in mind. And shall care for old examiner as well 🙂

  • pink

    P REVIEW

  • Beginning

    Gandhiji’s thought on untouchables and untouchability not only questions the long-cherished ideas of existing untouchability in our society,but provokes human being to take a more rational thought on existing beliefs of untouchables and untouchability.
    1-to advocate for equality among people,he cited opinion of lord krishna in Gita ,that all four caste system should be treated equally in terms of measure of consideration and esteem.
    2-He says untouchability is the greatest blot on Hinduism,which says oneness of all life in unequivocal terms.
    3-according to him,untouchability should be treated as more of consequence of dirtiness,unhealthy,rather than irrational beliefs and prevailing social norms in our society.
    4-he says untoucability is against the dictates of reason that man should,by mere reason of birth,be ever treated as untouchable, and it is against fundamental principle of humanity.
    5- In his effort to eradicate this prevailing notion of untouchaboility,he tried to use the word “Hrijana” instead of untouchability to refer to lower caste of people.
    As a developing society,we should look upon existing untoucability from angle of political economy,and question every prevailing norms in our society in regard to untouchables and untouchability in more realistic manner,and be sympathetic to them.

    • IPS Dracula

      Geeta? Source pls. Nice answer. Facts and quotes missing.

      • Beginning

        thanks for the review

    • Abhishek Anand

      good. political economy perspective is nice, although critical analysis is missing.

  • Fazil Mohd

    Gandhiji was one of the foremost campaigner against the
    practice of untouchablility. He was so moved by the plight of the untouchables
    that he made it’s eradication a part of the mainstream national movement. He
    campaigned against untouchablity by;

    1-
    Setting up various Gandhian ashrams in various
    parts of india, especially effective in Gujrat where it did a commendable job
    in the upliftment of the ‘raniparaj’ people.

    2-
    He named his newspaper Harijan, in reference to
    the name he kept for the untouchables which translates to children of god.

    3-
    He supported various campaigns against
    untouchablity, like the temple entry movement in Kerala where he visited
    personally to support their cause. His not entering any temple during that
    visit in support of the untouchables is notable.

    4-
    Gandhiji was also against the politics of
    untouchability which is why he opposed the communal award from the outset as it
    would encourage further polarization.

    Despite his obvious regard for the untouchables and their
    welfare, his policy did have a few drawbacks like;

    1-
    Gandhiji was despite his anti-untouchablility
    stance, never against the caste system as such which he considered a part of
    Indian culture. And,

    2-
    He also did not campaign as much for the
    economic emancipation of the untouchables, but more for their spiritual
    upliftment.

    But, as father of our nation, Gandhiji helped India in
    bringing to the fore the evil of untouchablity which was largely ingrained in
    society by then. And the constitution embodies many of his anti-untouchablility
    principles into it’s body. (250) PLEASE REVIEW

    • IPS Dracula

      R u sure????? 1st point???? He ws not against ancient varna system. That doesn’t mean that he was not against present caste system.

      • Fazil Mohd

        sorry bout that, it was supposed to mean varnashram only. Ambedkar and co wanted that entire system of classification off the table

    • IPS Dracula

      Keep writing. Include some facts too like harijan sevak sangh, his quotation, rallies.. Keep it up

    • Saint Shambhujs

      question is primarily concerned about critical analysis of his thinking on both untouchables and untouchabilty.
      although somehow u managed but a coherance is missing
      again 250 is little more.
      intro is good but the last line of intro is narrating the answer towards his deeds not thoughts/ideology)
      Coclusion is powerful.

  • pankaj

    Plz review

    • amit

      nice critcal analysis

      • pankaj

        Thanx amit for review

  • archana

    Plz review it friends

  • BRK

    Please read and review.

  • Saint Shambhujs

    Mahatma Gandhi Ji was one of the biggest advocates of disadvantaged groups ; women and untouchables.He always thought, preached and practiced for the improvement of untouchables and ending untouchability.

    Mahatma Gandhi has a little different viewpoint on the issue of untouchables and untouchability from their counter parts acting in the same issues. For Gandhiji the untouchbility was the greatest spot on Hinduism and said “my fight against untouchbility is a fight against impure of humanity. For untouchables he used an Euphemistic and dignified word ‘HARIJAN’ which literally means child of god. So he was strongly against the stigma of untouchability by providing them a respectful place in their society they belonged.

    Although Gandhiji was against the evil practice but he always Gandhi tried to save Hinduism by exorcising untouchability.. This is evident from his apposition of Dr, B.R. Ambedkar’s move that if untouchables are to be liberated from this ill practice they must renounce Hinduism as their religion.

    Further his fast against the separate electorate for untouchables and his arrest and release from Yarvada jail of Pune and subsequent event of Poona Pact further proved that he wanted the integrity and dignity of untouchables but without dividing or separating them.

    Although Gandhi ji had to face the criticism of many other reformers of the field as Dr.Ambedkar called him too slow,”devious and untrustworthy but Gandhi Ji’s contribution was and is still significant in the dilution of untouchability and the upliftment of untouchables.

    • Saint Shambhujs

      Friends please assess whether I got the question properly?

    • Zoro

      Perfectly answers the question. But use better words.. For example use blot in place of spot.
      Nice effort

      • Saint Shambhujs

        Thanks Zero
        Yaa blot is a better word I missed

        • Zoro

          zoro !!

          • Saint Shambhujs

            Oh sorry 🙁 Zoro

    • Carpe Diem`

      Very nice…We shared a lot of points i guess..mainly the intro part..also the saying

      but you took care of ‘critical’ part that is something i missed..

      Overall a very good answer..upvote for you:)

      • Saint Shambhujs

        Yaa
        Thanks for review and upvote 🙂

    • godslonelyman

      nice ans.

  • Surya Kant Maurya

    Gandhi ji was a strongly opposed untouchability and he fought for untouchable also while leading the national movement. He published the magazine ‘Harijan’ to awaken society to give up their orthodoxy and give the dalits their due rights and respect. During recess of national movement in 1930s, he led temple entry campaign for right of these people to worship. He went on to say, in utouchability was to survive, Hinduism must die.
    Gandhi ji was a proponent of equality in society and prevalence of rationality over customs and practices. He said that no religious scripture sanctions caste discrimination or untouchability and even if it does, it must be overruled.
    However, his critics allege that Gandhi took the issue of utouchability only after he realized their exclusion could weaken the national movement and not as a matter of priority.
    Whatever his critics say, inclusion of the provision for abolition of untouchability under fundamental rights has paved the way for eradication of this social evil and realize the dream of Gandhi and Ambedkar.

  • godslonelyman

    2) Critically analyse Gandhiji’s thoughts on untouchability and untouchables. (200 Words)

    • Kartik

      Good answer, to the point 🙂 I read several answers advocating what he did and all other stuff…Your answer enlightened me 🙂

      • Kartik

        If possible, please visit my answer !!

      • godslonelyman

        thanks a lot !:)

    • Saint Shambhujs

      Its a good answer
      no significant negative remarks
      Please review mine also

    • Zoro

      Your attempt came recommended. I like what you have written.

      Good!!

      • godslonelyman

        thanks 🙂

    • ashie

      wisely answered quite diplomatically…very good

      • godslonelyman

        thanks a lot:)

  • khan

    Gandhiji who fought for the cause of nation and to bring marginalised and disadvantage group under the ambit of mainstream.
    Gandhiji coined the term Harijan to address untouchables in a more respectful manner.
    When British govt. declared the separate electorate Gandhiji went for the hunger strike against separate electorate. Ambedkar not agreed with Gandhiji ideology even though in some of the instance he went against.

  • Arduous

    Gandhiji’s coined the term Harijan for untouchables to shunt the practice of untouchability from society.

    Gandhi thoughts of untouchability went through various changes from 1920’s to 1940’s .In 1920’s he openly supported the 4 Varna’s of society i.e Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudhra’’s .He also supported that inter-caste marriage and inter-dining is against the dharma of a person .He always purported the Hinduism as means to collate all caste in one, he mentioned that one should
    always follow the living as per his caste. But with the advent of Dr.Amedkar there is ideological shift in Mahatma Gandhi’s views. He mentioned that there should be only one Varna i.e Shudhra’s to eliminate the caste based work in society.
    He equalized Harijan with Brahmin and also supported inter-caste marriage and inter-dinning. Thus Gandhi’s thought on untouchables gone through various changes but at last the ideology of Gandhi on untouchable’s was more pragmatic and
    rational.

    Despite giving the rational ideology of Mahatma Gandhi , caste based discrimination is still present in society e.g are Dalit girl in Odisa not allowed to enter temple, in Tamilnadu Dalit cooked food not eaten in Mid-day meal. Such incidents in
    plural society is hampering the Gandhian principals and also the basic structure of society. The caste based system can be demoralized through peoples participation , NGO’s and willful government also shunting parochial political approach.

  • Jadoo20

    Gandhi Ji was against untouchability but not against caste system. Gandhi ji supported caste system and that is the reason Ambedkar never trusted him. Gandhi ji said its fair to eat with untouchables but he opposed intercaste marriages. That is why Ambedkar went for adopting Buddhism.

  • rambo

    how can i access to EPW link without subscribing it?