ISBN 9788121502054,At The Bottom Of Indian Society: The Harijan And Other Low Castes

At The Bottom Of Indian Society: The Harijan And Other Low Castes



Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt Ltd

Publication Year 1981

ISBN 9788121502054

ISBN-10 8121502055

Hard Back

Number of Pages 331 Pages
Language (English)


In recent years the harijan problem has become very acute in india's social and political life. The problem of caste and untouchability has been discussed from various viewpoints, not always with due impartiality and a thorough knowledge of the facts. It gives a new explanation for the origin of caste and untouchability, dating it back to the pre-indian past of the aryans and dravidians. It contributes greatly to a better knowledge of the harijans by a short description and characterisation of all the individual harijan castes throughout india. Such a study had never been undertaken before. This study of the harijans has enabled the author to arrive at new conclusion hitherto rarely mentioned in the literature on caste and untouchability: 1. The problem of untouchability originated among the high castes. Therefore, for the abolition of untouchability, the high-castes must be tackled first. They must be convinced that untouchability is to their own economic and social disadvantage. So far reformers have attacked the problem at the wrong end: by trying to "uplift" the harijans. No wonder they failed. 2. The indian high-castes are not consistent in linking untouchability with certain "impure" occupations. The stigma of untouchability is attached to certain trades in one region, while in other regions workers in the same trade are not excluded from the hindu fold. 3. Various trades, ritually pure and impure, are closely connected in indian economy. This explains why certain trades, though apparently ritually pure, yet can be carried out only by untouchables. The conclusions presented in the present book may have important practical implications for the abolition of untouchability and thus for the solution of a national problem which causes so much political unrest and untold suffering to vast masses of the indian population, at the same time blackening the fair image of the indian nation in the world. Contents preface introduction : 1. The nature of untouchability 2. Theories about the origin of untouchability in india 3. A new theory about the origin of untouchability 4. Untouchability among arabian and african herders chap. I : untouchability in tribal india : 1. Vagrant tribes 2. Untouchables of tribal origin in hindu society 3. Outcastes in tribal society chap. Ii : the so-called criminal castes chap. Iii : semi-nomadic castes : 1. Stone, salt and lime workers 2. Earth workers and well diggers 3. Fishermen, boating and porter castes 4. Basket and mat-makers 5. Vagrant artisans and traders chap. Iv : artists and magicians : 1. Bards and genealogists 2. Drummers, musicians, actors, jugglers and acrobats 3. Temple servants, astrologers, palmists, exorcists and mendicants chap. V : low castes and untouchables in village service : 1. Domestic servants 2. Village watchmen and messengers 3. Weavers 4. The leather workers 5. Washermen 6. Toddy tappers and. Liquor sellers 7. Scavenging castes chap. Vi : field labourers chap. Vii : castes only regionally regarded as polluting : 1. Barbers 2. Potters 3. Smiths, carpenters and masons 4. Oil-pressers conclusion