Untouchability in its most basic sense is the practice of alienating a particular group of people based on their caste and other social customs. It is one of the many outcomes of the caste system in India. Untouchability is present in India since centuries. It is considered to be one of the most heinous social crimes.
Long and Short Essay on Untouchability
Essay 1 (250 words)
Untouchability is the practice in which certain groups of people are discriminated against and alienated based on their caste and culture and are subjected to inhumane treatment. This practice has prevailed for a long time in our society and is the major outcome of the caste system.
Who are the untouchables?
In India, the Dalits are usually victims of this system. People in our country are bifurcated based on their caste – The Brahmans, the Kshatriyas, the Vaishyas, and the Shudras. The Shudras are the victims of untouchability. One of the reasons for outcasting them is that they indulge in labor and cleaning work. In addition to this, people indulging in specific jobs, tribal people and ones suffering from certain infections and diseases are considered as untouchables. They are not considered as an essential part of society rather they were loathed and denied their share of respect and dignity.
The Dalits regularly indulge themselves in jobs such as scavenging, cleaning public and residential places, tackling dead cattle corpses, etc. This clearly states that they were an important part of society as they worked to keep it clean and healthy for everyone. Rather the jobs they did were one of the prime reasons for the inhuman treatment they received. They were denied basic rights such as using public places, entering temples, using schools, wells, etc.
In spite of the extreme struggles of the leaders of independent India to abolish untouchability and the caste system, it still prevails in modern India in different forms than those in the past. The formulation of laws against its practice has to some extent reduced the frequency and intensity of such discrimination and treatment. Since Independence, the government has started many campaigns for the people of backward class such as providing free education, reservation in colleges and government jobs, etc. This is hope for all the liberals and Dalits out there and a promise for a new, better and tolerant India.
Essay 2 (400 words)
Untouchability can be well defined as the practice of discriminating various individuals and groups based on their cast and the jobs they indulge in. The concept of untouchability is a relatively old one and has been in practice for a long time. It works on the Indian caste system hierarchy which includes Brahmans, Kshatriyas, Vaishya, and Shudras. The Shudras have usually been subjected to the inhuman treatment because they are believed to belong to the lower caste. They’ve been through various kinds of discrimination at almost all places be it offices, homes, schools, temples and all other public places.
Discrimination against the Dalits:-
The different forms of discrimination against the Dalits in India are as follows:
- They are not allowed to use public services such as buses, wells, etc.
- They are not allowed to marry anyone from the upper castes.
- They are not allowed to enter temples and other public places such as hospitals and schools.
- They need to use separate utensils for eating and are not allowed to sit near the upper caste people.
- Dalit children are not allowed to go to common school instead they go to special schools for people of their caste.
- They are not allowed to fight for their rights. If they refuse to do their jobs and act according to the elite classes they have to face certain adversities by the dominant classes.
- Many employers sometimes refuse to provide jobs to the people of scheduled castes.
These are the various forms of discrimination against the lower caste people. These need to be addressed and appropriate action should be taken to abolish this practice by the government and make it a punishable offense.
Hence, after decades of regaining independence, India is still not completely free from these social evils. The Dalits have been discriminated against majorly because of the jobs they indulge in such as scavenging, cleaning public areas, etc. Ironically, they should be the ones given utmost respect as they keep our society clean and healthy by getting filth on their own hands. The leaders of independent India such as Mahatma Gandhi and B.R Ambedkar fought to give the Dalit community their basic rights and abolish the system of untouchability. In spite of their efforts, a part of the society still believes in practicing untouchability. The young generation should take charge and fight for its complete abolition and justify the struggles of the past leaders.
Essay 3 (500 words)
The concept of untouchability is defined as the practice of alienating people from lower castes and those indulging in specific jobs. The ‘untouchables’ are considered impure and are despised by the so-called ‘Upper caste’ people. This is a practice that has prevailed in our society for thousands of years. Many people have come forward and fought for their rights and they even succeeded to some extent.
History of Untouchability in India
The term Dalit for the untouchables is derived from the Sanskrit word dal meaning broken or downtrodden. Some people believe that the system of untouchability only prevails in India but it is also prevalent in countries such as Japan, Tibet, and Korea. The classification of castes has been derived from our Vedic texts which bifurcate people into four major groups:
- The Brahmanas – Priests and elite people
- The Kshatriyas – Warriors
- The Vaishyas – Small Businessmen and Merchants
- The Shudras –Sanitary workers
These bifurcations of ancient India were made based on the caste and profession of the people. Though in today’s times, these people have switched jobs, still a large chunk of the population continues the practice of untouchability and despises the lower caste people.
The caste system was originated in various ways. At some places, certain influential groups seized power and declared themselves Brahmans (regarded as the purest caste) in order to suppress the lower castes whereas in most places people of specific groups were considered untouchables from birth.
Today’s Scenario of Untouchability
Today the scenario of untouchability is different from that of ancient India. People are becoming more educated and are adapting to rational thinking. At the time of independence, several movements in favor of abolishment were initiated and as a result, amendments were made in the constitution and the governmental system to accommodate the interests and rights of the oppressed people.
In spite of the constitutional amendments, untouchability, and discrimination based on caste still prevail. Often the politicians use this to enhance their vote bank and gain power in the government. The Dalits living in the cities are less vulnerable to this practice of discrimination in today’s era as compared to those living in relatively remote and underdeveloped areas. Generally, people living in villages and other rural areas tend to stick to their traditional beliefs and refuse to accept the changes and improvements made in society.
What started upon the occupation of a person has become subject to heredity. In a nutshell, this implies that even if a person does not indulge in menial jobs that could earn him the tag of lower caste however if his ancestors were involved in such tasks he would automatically become Untouchable or Dalit.
This is an extremely ancient practice that has its roots firmly entwined to our society and its people. Though difficult, it is not impossible to change people’s minds and make them see people from all classes as equal and give everyone fair treatment. This will ensure peace and harmony among the residents of society and ensure contentment to all.
Essay 4 (600 words)
Untouchability is an age-old practice of discrimination of people from the lower hierarchy of castes. It is one of the many negative outcomes of the caste system. It involves mistreating people from oppressed classes based on their status and jobs.
Struggles for the Abolishment of Untouchability
Following years of exercising dominance over the oppressed class or more popularly known ‘Dalits’, the practice of untouchability still has its marks in many societies around us. Even educated people refuse to give up that practice. They view it as the benchmark of their love for purity and are overcome by a sense of superiority over the oppressed classes or the well known Dalit people.
Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi were among the prominent leaders who fought tirelessly for the abolition of the practice of untouchability. B.R. Ambedkar was involved in Indian politics and also helped draft the constitution of India alongside Mahatma Gandhi. He was a man with highly liberal ideas and the interest of the oppressed classes on his mind.
These people along with vision, determination, and perseverance achieved their goals and gave a rightful chance to the Dalits to prove themselves and enhance the concept of equality, harmony, and brotherhood in society.
The Harijan Movement
The term ‘Harijan’ was coined by Mahatma Gandhi himself which meant ‘children of God’. This term was widely used to refer to the people of the oppressed classes or the Dalits. This was an agitated movement aimed at fighting the discrimination against certain castes in society. This movement was officially started in 1933. It was a 9-month long movement aimed at gaining social, economic and political rights for the people of lower classes. The initiation of this movement also led to several kinds of violent acts by many dishonest groups.
Amendments in the Constitution
After several movements and struggles to eradicate the practice of untouchability, amendments were made in the constitution to accommodate the interests of the oppressed classes. Article 17 of the Indian Constitution abolishes untouchability and also declared it as a punishable act. No one can restrict the Dalits or Harijans from entering temples, streets, buses, etc. They are free to use all public services with respect and dignity. In addition to these, no one can refuse from selling anything to the Dalit people.
Along with the amendments in the constitution for the abolition of untouchability, the government included the concept of reservation which means that a certain percentage of places in government colleges and jobs were reserved for the people from classes such as Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribes, and other backward class. This was done to ensure that their oppression in the past does not hinder the progress of their present and their future and it was also aimed at providing them a fair chance of education and of their upliftment along with their families and generations to come.
All people should be equal in the eyes of law and no one should be discriminated against and dominated based on things as race, color, caste, physical features, etc. Children should be taught about the importance of various jobs in the society. Seeds of sensibility, generosity, and equality should be sown into their tender minds as these are the ones who should have the best interest of the nation on their minds because of the fact that they will someday contribute to the betterment of the society and hold a powerful position in the society itself and in governmental bodies. Each hurdle in the way of a better and peaceful nation should be tackled with determination and goodwill just as some of our prominent leaders have done in the past. Those leaders should be idolized by the youth of the country.