The Untouchables

Topics: Caste system in India, Caste, Dalit Pages: 5 (1939 words) Published: May 1, 2006
The Untouchables
The beginning of the caste system goes back about 3,500 years ago to the arrival of the light-skinned "Aryan" people from central Asia. The Arayas believed that people must be put in different categories according to skin color and their "Karma." Karma was a believe of the good and evil of each individual life. The more bad things he or she has done in life, the longer it will take to get to the Nirvana. From these believes the caste system was established and put into practice. There were four different groups to the cast system which were the Brahmin, the Kshatriya, the Vaishaya, the Shudra. The Brahmin are the highest in the caste system and they were the priest. They were very sacred and to symbolized their importance they wore a white rope and had a special haircut. They must not be touched by other members of other castes. The second group was known as the Kshatriya, they were warriors and kings. One special thing about them was that they were the only group that was privileged to eat meat and drink alcohol. The Vaishaya were the third caste and most of them were merchants and landowners. The Shudra are the fourth caste, they were workers and carpenters so they worked for the others. Finally there were the the Untouchables which were a group so low that they were outside of the caste system. The Untouchables were known as the "outsiders." The Arayas believed that the Untouchables must have an underprivileged position mostly because they were dark skinned native people. They were treated with much discrimination and were treated harsh by the other people in the caste system. The Untouchables were forced to obey laws. The Constitution provided an enforceble guarantee in Article 15(2): "No citizen shall on grounds only jof religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them, be subject to any disability, liability restrictior or condition with reguard to- (a) Access to shops, public restaurants, hotels and places of public entertainment; or (b) the use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads and place of public resort maintained wholly partly out of State funds or dedicated to the use of general public (Hiro, 3)." The Unotochables were forced to follow the laws of the Indian Constitution. They would face concrete forms of discrimination. They were not able to enter the Hindu temple to offer their worship. They were not allowed to go to many places that other caste could go to, or to dress the same as them. In some areas of India they were forced to wear certain clothes. For example they were, "...forced to go almost naked, for fear that the others may be touched by the billowing of their clothes. These and scores of other disabilities forced the untouchables into practically inhuman conditions" (Hazari, 1951). The Untouchables were not able to use the communal wells, tanks, or at times even the rivers. The Untouchables were only able to get the dirty jobs. The Indian rural society made it difficult for the Untouchables to secure better employment. The Indian rural society made sure that if you were an Untouchable, you would follow the life that was destined for you. In some cases it was like they were not even considered to be human but more like a dog with rabies. Untouchables were often forbidden to enter, schools. They were not able to have an education or to learn different things. In some parts of southern India, even the sight of untouchables was thought to be "polluting (Isaacs, 26)." The untouchables forced to sleep during the day and work at night. The Untouchables were forbidden to wear shoes, or hold their heads up while walking in the street. They could not change their status they had to work to survive, but their jobs were dirty and unfair. Aharon states that, "The untouchable in the traditional system accepts his disabilities...
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