Untouchability" Gandhi Mahatma Gandhi Was Essay

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In fact it is argued by many who fall into this caste category and their external proponents that attaching a word to the caste that implies that they are in some way weak and in need of protection is as damaging as suppressing their successes. (85)

The 'untouchable', to me, is, compared to us, really a Harijan - a man of God, and we are Durjan (men of evil). For whilst the 'untouchable' has toiled and moiled and dirtied his hands so that we may live in comfort and cleanliness, we have delighted in suppressing him. (Young India, August 6, 1931 [quoted in Gandhi 1933: 40-1])

Charsley 1)

Gandhi would likely have been hurt by the sentiment and rejection of the Harijan title, as the people he intended to elevate reject his reclassification of them as people of God. He would likely stress that the full intent of the terminology is to stress that all people should be accepting of their own frailty, rather than assigning such a frailty to another.
In a sense the terminology is a reflection of the idea that all men should be humble to God and acknowledge this through stressing this humbled nature as one that is shared by all men, rather than only by some. (Gandhi 85) Regardless, the lowest caste itself, and those who are proponents of eradicating the caste system altogether have adopted what they consider a less pejorative term, Dalit, meaning the suppressed, to classify themselves and allow a common cultural goal. In recent years the group has become a relatively influential political voice, a fact Gandhi would likely have relished.

Ninian 186)

Works Cited

Charsley, Simon. "Untouchable': What Is in a Name." Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 2.1 (1996): 1.

Gandhi, Mahatma, "Untouchability" in Fisher, Mary & Bailey, Lee….....

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