The problems of untouchability in India

The researcher has used both types of methods qualitative and quantitative research. Quantitative methodology will be utilized to assemble and check out numeric data to symbolize the various facts available. In this particular research qualitative methodology seems more versatile and genuine. Hence the belief is that qualitative methodology can satisfy these objectives.

SOURCE OF DATA: The researcher has generally referred to secondary sources. The secondary literature will constitute papers, books, journals and internet materials to discuss the above mentioned issues


Untouchability Today: A Background

Untouchability today outlines the context where untouchability is utilized in today's scenario. India emerges as the world's largest democracy and fastest growing economy yet the practice of untouchability remains in stark distinction to the image of improvement that the Indian federal government seeks to market to the international community. The problem of untouchability is one of the most divisive issues in the country's background and a lived connection with everyone in India, like the Dalits who number over 164 million, and non-Dalit perpetrators and witnesses. Despite growing local and international matter, Constitutional prohibition, and a legal enforcement regime as well as international human rights protections, the lifestyle of many Dalits stills stay unchanged till time frame.

Untouchability is an historic form of discrimination centered upon caste which is a sophisticated and pervasive problem in India, although its practice is not limited to India by itself. For millennia, the practice of untouchability has marginalized, terrorized, and relegated a sector of Indian world to a life marked by assault, humiliation, and indignity. The discrimination is so pervasive that many Dalits come to think that they are responsible for their own fighting and exclusion. Thus believing it to be there faith and subsequently perpetuate the practice of untouchability. Just like a shameful technique, a "hidden apartheid, " untouchability remains an exceptionally sensitive issue in India. Its practice is never completely defined, never fully explored and, thus, never completely recognized. Thus this research newspaper is an try to understand the issues and issues underlining the practice of untouchability in the Indian context

What is untouchability?

Untouchability is a primary product of the caste system. It isn't merely the inability to touch a individual of a certain caste or sub-caste. It really is an attitude for a complete group of men and women that pertains to a deeper emotional procedure for thought and opinion, invisible to the naked eyesight, translated into various physical functions and behaviours, norms and practices. [1]

Untouchability is the product of casteism and the belief in purity of so called upper castes. It really is generally overlooked that Dalits are believed polluted people at the cheapest end of the caste order. All the menial duties were to done by the low caste, like removing human throw away (known as "manual scavenging"), dragging away and skinning creature carcasses, tanning leather, making and fixing shoes. They are simply supposed to live outside the town so that their physical existence will not pollute the "real" village. They are constrained in terms of space and their properties were to be of substandard quality and devoid of any facilities like water and electricity.

Identifying Conditions and Techniques Connected with Untouchability

1) Drinking water for drinking,

2) Food and drink,

3) Religious beliefs,

4) Touch,

5) Access to public facilities and organizations,

6) Caste-based occupations,

7) Prohibitions and cultural sanctions

8) Private sector discrimination.

Untouchability is present in almost every sphere of life and applied within an infinite volume of forms. In the community level Dalits are barred from using wells employed by non-Dalits, forbidden from going to the barber shop and coming into temples, while at the amount of job recruitment and job Dalits are systematically paid less, bought to do the most menial work, and rarely promoted. Even at institution, Dalit children may be asked to completely clean toilets also to eat separately. [2]

As a musical instrument of casteism, Untouchability also provides to instill caste status to Dalit children as soon as they are given birth to. For e. g. a few of the names given to Dalit boys in Gujarat are Kachro (filth), Melo (dirty), Dhudiyo (dusty), Gandy (mad), Ghelo (ridiculous), Punjo (waste). That is intentionally done so a child becomes aware of his caste or sub-caste identification. The individual treated as untouchable submits himself or herself to untouchability routines because of a generational belief that it's right, justified, religious and natural. Untouchability in this sense is straight related to the caste system, and the only path to remove it is to remove the caste system itself.

Who are Dalits?

The phrase "Dalit" comes from the Sanskrit root dal- and means "broken, ground-down, downtrodden, or oppressed. " Those previously known as Untouchables, Stressed out Classes, and Harijans are today progressively adopting the term "Dalit" as a name for themselves. "Dalit" refers to one's caste rather than school; it applies to members of these menial castes that have given birth to the stigma of "untouchability" due to extreme impurity and pollution connected with the traditional occupations. Dalits are 'outcastes' falling outside the traditional four-fold caste system comprising the hereditary Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, and Shudra classes; they are considered impure and polluting and are therefore bodily and socially excluded and isolated from the rest of society.

Dalits stand for a community of 170 million in India, constituting 17% of the population. One from every six Indians is Dalit, yet because of their caste identity Dalits regularly face discrimination and assault which prevent them from enjoying the basic human privileges and dignity guaranteed to all residents of India. Caste-based interpersonal organization extends beyond India, finding corollaries in Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, and also other countries outside of South Asia. A lot more than 260 million people worldwide suffer from this "hidden apartheid" of segregation, exclusion, and discrimination.

Provisions for the safeguard of Dalits:

Article 17of the Indian constitution declares untouchability is abolished and its own practice in virtually any form is forbidden. The enforcement of any impairment arising out of untouchability will be an offence punishable relative to law.

The Coverage of Civil Privileges Take action, 1955 punishes the preaching and practice of Untouchability.

Scheduled Castes and Planned Tribes (Reduction of Atrocities) Action 1989 criminalizes certain functions against participants of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes such as traffic in human beings, 'begar (free labor)' and pressured labor in any form.

Problem of Untouchability in India

When the constitution of India outlawed untouchability in 1950 many countrywide leaders believed that a ages old practice had been brought to an end. But now nearly 60 years later there is no total success of the statutory solution. Millions of Dalits across the country who account for roughly 1/5th of the population continue to put up with birth-based discrimination and humiliation. In says like Tamil Nadu which has a long background of reformist moves is no exception. Actually untouchability has not only survived the constitutional ban but used new avatars in many elements of the state of hawaii. Caste-based discrimination has often resulted in violence, leaving hundreds of the disadvantaged people in stress especially in the 1990s.

The Segregation of Dalits sometimes appears just about everywhere in Tamil Nadu's villages. But little or nothing can perhaps beat the high wall membrane 500 meters long that has been built at Uthapuram in Madurai region as a barrier between Dalits and caste Hindus.

While untouchability is still rampant and is also taking new varieties particularly in villages, the constitutional ban and compulsions of modernity and development have somewhat blunted its rigor. Rail transportation has been unifying causes in society. Yet the Railways have been among the worst offenders in respect of regulations against manual scavenging. Dalits constitute a substantial portion of its labor force of manual scavengers along railway lines.

Although all point out governments declare that they may have abolished manual scavenging studies reveal that practice is very much alive in many places. Postmen are also found to apply untouchability. A report conducted in Tamil Nadu mentioned that in two villages in Madurai region postmen didn't deliver postal articles to Dalit addressees. Dalits were required to acquire the articles at the postoffice. There are also road transfer related violations of regulations against untouchability. Among them is the unwritten rule that provides caste Hindus main concern over Dalits in boarding buses in many areas, buses not halting in Dalit areas, transport employees picking quarrels with Dalit passengers without provocation and Dalits not being permitted to use bus shelters. State government still follows a normal procedure of making announcements in villages by beating a drum as well as for that they deploy Dalits.

Worse still are the roles of universities and teachers in perpetuating untouchability and sowing the seeds of caste-related discrimination in young intellects. The Dalit children are often discouraged by teachers and fellow students owned by caste Hindu interpersonal groups. In many universities Dalit pupils were not allowed to discuss drinking water with caste Hindus. To punish an erring or naughty Dalit son professors scold him by calling him by his caste name. In the event the teacher determines that the guy needed a beating as abuse the duty was assigned to some other Dalit boy. There is also organized refusal of admission to Dalits using schools specifically at the plus two levels.

In some villages during the temple celebrations Dalits are supposed to stay covered from caste Hindus. The two-tumbler system under which Dalits and non-Dalits are served tea in different vessels is still prevalent in a few teashops. In a few eateries they may be compelled to sit on the ground.

Caste and Untouchability

The caste system has been mainly criticized for its treatment of outcastes or untouchables. This group has been termed the panchama (the fifthvarna), collectively designating all who show up beyond your regular four classes.

The idea of untouchability might have been within the original varna system, though it isn't clear precisely how it run. Puranic texts talk about untouchables, proclaiming that they must be well-supported, but close reference to them avoided. They also declare that those who fell from their status within the higher "twice-born" varnas were called dvija-bandhu (friends of the twice-born) and were accommodated within the shudraclass. In genuine practice, some who empty key rituals or moral requirements were totally ostracised. Additionally, jobs considered to be specifically contaminating were performed only by outcastes. Included in these are sweepers, leather employees, and crematorium attendants. These were not allowed to live on within the confines of regular town life, nor to talk about general population facilities such as wells and temples.

Organised opposition to rigid caste routines began with the medieval bhakti moves. Some of them turned down both caste and its own precursor, varnashrama-dharma. Others considered the original varnashrama-dharma to be the genuine system, though it usually required second destination to a revitalised spiritual egalitarianism. Some contemporary bhakti practices continue to start non-caste brahmanasfrom among communities normally considered untouchable. This liberal practice has found opposition, particularly from caste-consciousbrahmanas.

Gandhi called the outcastes Harijans - the kids of God - and wished to support them within the fourth varna. Ranji Ambedkar, another important reformer, was a member of the untouchable caste who been successful in attaining a scholarship to review law. He later disagreed with Gandhi over the near future status of untouchables, and advocated instead a classless population. He was one of the main architects of the new Indian constitution of 1950, which outlawed untouchability and gave equal status to all or any citizens. In practice many rigid caste beliefs continue, and ex - outcastes have organized themselves as Dalits (the oppressed), struggling for social and economic equality. The have difficulties continues today, and though "positive discrimination" is securing the outcastes identical opportunities, some claim that it is now displacing those who are actually more experienced.

Caste awareness still persists, and is much debated among Hindu scholars and activists. Some advocate the mitigation of cultural injustice through the complete abolition of social divisions. Others try to redefine the old varnashrama-dharma in a way that is pertinent to post-modern world.

Caste related assault in India

Phoolan Devi (1963 - 2001) was an Indian dacoit (bandit), who later converted politician. Created in a lower-caste Mallaah family, she was mistreated and empty by her husband. She was later kidnapped by way of a gang of dacoits. The upper-caste Thakur innovator of the gang tried to rape her, but she was protected by the deputy head Vikram, who belonged to her caste. Later, an upper-caste Thakur friend of Vikram wiped out him, abducted Phoolan, and locked her up in the Behmai town. Phoolan was raped in the town by Thakur men, until she were able to avoid after three weeks. Phoolan Devi then formed a gang of Mallahs, which carried out some violent robberies in north and central India, mainly targeting upper-caste people. Some say that Phoolan Devi targeted only the upper-caste people and distributed the loot with the lower-caste people, however the Indian authorities demand this is a misconception[2]. Seventeen a few months after her get away from from Behmai, Phoolan returned to the community, to consider her revenge. On Feb 14, 1981, her gang massacred twenty-two Thakur men in the community, only two of which were involved with her kidnapping or rape. Phoolan Devi later surrendered and dished up eleven years in jail, after which she became a politician. During her election campaign, she was criticized by the women widowed in the Behmai massacre. Kshatriya Swabhimaan Andolan Samanvay Committee (KSASC), a Kshatriya company, kept a statewide campaign to protest against her. She was elected a Member of Parliament twice.

On July 25, 2001, Phoolan Devi was shot dead by mysterious assassins. Later, a guy called Sher Singh Rana confessed to the murder, expressing he was avenging the deaths of 22 Kshatriyas at Behmai. Although the police were skeptical of his claims, he was imprisoned. Rana escaped from Tihar Jail in 2004. In 2006, KSASC decided to honor Rana for "upholding the dignity of the Thakur community" and "drying the tears of the widows of Behmai. "[3]

Andhra Pradesh

This state is known as to be one of minimal caste-crime infested places of India which has not experienced many Dalit Massacres


Ranvir Sena is an caste-supremacist fringe paramilitary group founded in Bihar. The group is situated amongst the forward-caste landlord, and bears out actions against the outlawed naxals in rural areas. They have committed violent functions against Dalits and other associates of the planned caste community in an effort to scuttle reform activities aimed at their emancipation.

Tamil Nadu

The status of Tamil Nadu has witnessed several caste-based happenings both against Dalits and Brahmins. In 2000, three teenagers owned by the Dalit under caste were wiped out in the Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu. This fuelled some localized violence in the caste-sensitive region, which includes seen numerous caste-related situations in which the majority of the victims have been Dalits. Six of the killings have been listed as murders under the Indian Penal Code yet others as "Deaths under suspicious circumstances. No arrests have been made in these cases

However, several Dalits have been caught as goondas (hoodlums). THE PRINCIPLE minister of Tamil-Nadu, M. Karunanidhi, has been accused of having an "anti-Dalit" bias by the radical company "Dalit Panthers of India". Theories concerning these crimes against Dalits range between "liquor bootleggers opposing prohibition motions among Dalits" to "inter-caste relationships between a Vanniya son and a Dalit female". Political functions sympathetic to the Dalits have protested against these happenings[4] and also have alleged systemic biases against Dalits in several places.

Bant Singh circumstance of Punjab

On the night of January 5, 2006 Bant Singh, a poor Sikh Dalit, was attacked by mysterious assailants. His incidents necessitated medical amputation. He alleges that this was in retaliation for actively working to secure justice for his child, who was simply gang raped by higher caste associates of his town in Punjab five years before. [5]

A 55-year-old Dalit Sikh girl, Sawinder Kaur has been tortured, stripped and linked with a tree in Ram memory Duali community of Punjab because her nephew eloped with a woman from the same community. The police arrested four folks for allegedly committing the criminal offenses on 9 Sept 2007. [7]

In January, 1999 four participants of the village panchayat of Bhungar Khera community in Abohar paraded a handicapped Dalit girl naked through the community. No action was taken by the authorities, despite local Dalit protests. It had been only on July 20 that the four pancha yat people were arrested, after the State Home Section was compelled to order an inquiry in to the incident. [8]

A Dalit Sikh female, Sukhwinder Kaur of Sumel Kheri community was molested and beaten up by an octroi company of Malaudh when she resisted his try to sexually exploit her. [9]

Kherlanji massacre

On September 29, 2006, four participants of the Bhotmange family belonging to the Dalit underclass were slaughtered in Kherlanji, a small town in Bhandara district of Maharashtra. The ladies of the family, Surekha and Priyanka, were paraded naked in public, then allegedly gang-raped before being murdered [1]. Although at first ascribed by the press and by the Man Rights Watch to higher castes, the criminal take action was actually carried out by Kunbi[10] caste (grouped as Other Backward Classes[11] by Federal of India) farmers for having opposed the requisition of the Dalit land to truly have a street built over it.

On November 23, 2006, several people of the Dalit community in the nearby region of Chandrapur staged a protest regarding this incident. The protesters allegedly converted violent and pelted rocks. The police needed to resort to baton charging to control the situation. Dalit market leaders, however, denied that they had sparked the violence and that they were "protesting in peacefulness".

2006 Dalit protests in Maharashtra

In November-December 2006, the desecration of a Ambedkar statue in Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh) activated off violent protests by Dalits in Maharashtra. Several people remarked that the protests were fueled by the Kherlanji Massacre[12]. During the violent protests, the Dalit protestors arranged three trains burning, ruined over 100 buses and clashed with law enforcement officials[13]. At least four deaths and many more accidental injuries were reported.

Later, the Kanpur Police force imprisoned a Dalit youth Arun Kumar Balmiki for desecrating the Ambedkar statue. According to the police, the children had "accepted to having harmed the statue in a drunken status along with two friends"[14]. Before in an identical circumstance, a Dalit junior happened for desecrating an Ambedkar statue in Gulbarga, Karnataka[15].

In reaction to these protests, Raj Thackeray drew attention to another occurrence in Kherlanji, when a Dalit allegedly raped a woman and wiped out her. Thackeray demanded action on those accountable for the rape and the subsequent death of the lady, and also remarked that nobody helped the girl's family[16].


In the Indian province of Rajasthan, between your years 1999 and 2002, offences against Dalits average at about 5024 yearly, with 46 killings and 138 instances of rape. [17]


On 25 May 2009, assault and rioting broke out when a large number of protesters needed to the pavements in virtually all major towns and towns in the Indian point out of Punjab after having a dalit preacher, Sant Ramanand, was attacked in a temple in Vienna, Austria. He was among 16 people damaged, including another preacher Sant Nirajnan Dass, and later died in hospital. Both preachers were from a low-caste Sikh sect which includes a large pursuing in parts of Punjab and got travelled to Vienna to perform a particular service. Several high-caste Sikh teams had apparently compared his presence and threatened violence. This happened after the preacher had reportedly made remarks about the Sikh groups.


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