Gandhi Views on Untouchability:
Although Gandhi supported the Varna System he was against the pernicious caste system including the practice of untouchability. He vehemently condemned this practice. He exhorted the Hindus to accept the untouchables as their equals in order to defeat the British policy of divide and rule. He felt the same about Hindu-Muslim unity as well. He dedicated his life for the removal of untouchability which he made a part and parcel of his political and social reform movement in India.
He pointed out that the indignities which the Indians were suffering in South Africa were in fact a kind of punishment for the sin which the people had committing against a part of their own people in India- the suppression and oppression of the Harijans. God would forgive the injustice being done to the untouchables only if the Hindus rid themselves of the despicable practice of untouchability. He emphasized that there should be equality among all people in India. He believed that this in turn would bring about about the world-wide changes to the benefit of all mankind. If the Hindus followed this rule it would create confidence and friendship among other communities towards the Hindus themselves.
He warned that if this blot was not removed, the entire Hindu society might have to face the peril of its own inevitable destruction. He pointed out that the practice of untouchability did not have the approval of the Hindu religion either. In order to remove untouchability, he called himself an untouchable and very often lived in the midst of the Harijans. He called upon all inhabitants of his Ashram to cleanse the Ashram themselves. He organised the ‘Harijan Sewak Sangh‘ with the objective of eradicating the evil of untouchability. Such a movement in his view would promote the well-being of this community as a whole. Inspired by Gandhi’s views, the Constitution of India under Article 17 has banned the practice of untouchability.
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