Untouchability: Caste System in India and Higher Caste People

Topics: Caste system in India, Caste, Hinduism Pages: 4 (1225 words) Published: April 7, 2013
Untouchability is major problem of Rural India. It is basically a rural problem. Its seeds are only found in rural soils. Untouchability is an ancient concept traditionally. Indian society was broadly divided into four groups such as Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Sudra. In the caste hierarchy the lowest place was given to the Sudras and they were regarded as untouchables by the rest members of Hindu Caste. Mahatma Gandhi, the father of nation, says “Untouchability is the hate fullest expression of Caste System and it is a crime against God and man”. Further he lovingly called the untouchables as Harijan means the people of God. Since untouchability is a very old concept, therefore, the untouchables were identified by the different names in different periods. In Vedic period, they were known as ‘Chandala’. In Medieval age, they were addressed as ‘Achhuta’. In the British period, they were known as ‘Exterior Caste’. In the present time, they were generally known as the ‘Scheduled Caste’ by the Indian Constitution. Though the untouchables are theoretically considered as a part of Varna organisation, they are closely linked with the Hindu Social Life. The presence of untouchables is very indispensable for the smooth functioning of Hindu Society because they perform certain polluting occupations like scavenging, removal of the dead cattle and so on. It is extremely difficult to define untouchability. Therefore, it is usually defined in terms of disabilities suffered by those who are considered to be the untouchables. Thus it may be said that suffering from all kinds of disabilities is the sign of untouchability. Vradharita Smiriti says that persons belonging to different Non-Vedic religions or semi-religions sects are to be treated as untouchables. According to Manu Smritis, the people who follow the lowest kind of occupations include scavenging, leather work, removal of the carrion etc, are to be regarded as untouchables. G.S.Ghurye defines...
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