Untouchability – UPSC GS1

Critically analyse how did Ambedkar and Gandhiji view and address the issue of untouchability. (200 Words)

Gandhiji was a great social reformer. He was against corrupt caste system. He did not consider caste system as altogether sinful like untouchability. The  latter he considered as weeds the former as crops. Destroying the caste system is like destroying the crops for weeds. He considered Untouchability as a curse to the Hindu society. He called the Untouchables “Harijans”, i.e. children of god and asked the people to give them respect worthy of human beings.
Under his guidance, the congress adopted the programme of the upliftment of Harijans.
Ambedkar was a social Humanist. He fought for upliftment of oppressed, women and poor throughout his life. He led his followers in a series of non-violent campaigns to assert the right of the Untouchables to enter Hindu place of worship and to draw water from public tanks and wells (like: Mahad March and Temple Entry Movement).
Ambedkar wanted to get rid of untouchability by abolishing caste system, while Gandhi aimed at abolishing practice of untouchability within caste system. Ambedkar wanted strict legislations to root out the caste system and untouchable practices, while Gandhi believed in change of attitude of upper castes towards lower castes.
Poona Pact was reasonable understanding between two great leaders on inhuman practices of untouchability. Article 17 of Indian constitution envisaged aspiration of Ambedkar.
Thus, both of them were committed to root out untouchability but with different methods suite to their own personalities.



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