Untouchable

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Once, the Bodhisatta was born in a Chandala family by the name Matanga. Those days the caste-system was very rigid in ancient India and untouchability was rampant. One day, a pretty maiden Ditthamangalika, the daughter of a wealthy and the so-called ‘high-caste’ family was on her way to a park with her friends. Before, she could enter the park, she saw Matanga coming from the opposite direction. Considering his sight ‘inauspicious’, because he was a ‘Chandala’ and ‘untouchable’ according to the social norms of the time and place, she abruptly, recoiled and turned round to go back to her palace. This made her friends furious. They scornfully caught hold of the poor man and thrashed him by calling him “untouchable”. Thus, they punished him for having trodden the path on which they intended to walk. Bruised and hurt, Matanga lay there unconscious and bleeding. When he regained consciousness he vehemently challenged the evil system of untouchability and resorted to the non-violent peace agitation by sitting on a hunger strike in front of the Ditthamangalika’s house for seven days to press his demand of marriage with that girl. Then he looked emaciated and appeared as if he was to die soon. The social evil of the untouchability was so strong those days that the father of the girl decided to get rid of his daughter rather than to let an ‘untouchable’ die on his door-step. So, he pushed his daughter out of his house to marry Matanga. When Ditthamangalika’s pride ebbed away, Matanga decided to honour her. He, therefore, asked her to invite all her kinsmen and make a public announcement that her husband was the ‘Greatest Brahmin’ by way of his righteous karma. When the people assembled to examine the truth, Matanga miraculously appeared before them by breaking the moon’s disc. This restored the honour of his wife and since then she was no longer treated as a pariah or an ‘untouchanble’ in that city. Nonetheless, the evil social custom of untouchability did not die out...
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