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INTRODUCTION Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar was the first leader from the untouchable community in India.

He was born in Mahar community. His real name, Ambavadekar, comes from his village Ambavade. Later in 1900 he changed it to Amberkar when his Brahmin school teacher become impressed because of his intellect and personal qualities decided to give him his own name. Ambedkar is a self made man who was able to get that type of standing in such an oppressive system of that time. He secured an MA from Columbia University and then left in 1916 for London where he was admitted to Grays Inn to study law. Later in studied at London school of economics. After finishing masters of Science degree he tried to settle down as a lawyer in Bombay but as an untouchable he found was not able to attract clients. Deeply hurt by this he decided to devote his life for the campaign against caste system. In 1924 he set up Bahishkrit Hitakarini sabha and in1936 his first political party, Independent Labour party. Ambedkar throughout his life was working for two agendas. On one hand he was working for the promotion of Untouchables in Hindu society and on the other he was trying to break from them by demanding separate electorate for Dalits.

WHAT IS UNTOUCHABILITY???????? Practice of untouchability is unique to Hindu society. Untouchability means pollution by the touch of certain persons by reason of their birth in a particular caste or family. It leads to defilement, pollution and Contamination. Only four classes namely, Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras are recognised by Verna system, untouchable or Atishudras are not considered to be the part of caste system. This limits their opportunity to earn a decent living because they can on do dirty work, like the cleansing of the Villages and other services like shoe making, carrying dead bodies etc. Untouchables in India are ancient ethnic-social groups, whose lot has been oppression and ignominy for centuries. The etymology of the term can be traced to the Sanskrit root dal, meaning ground down, downtrodden, crushed, and destroyed. Dr. Ambedkar analysed Hindu society before starting his struggle against untouchability and the caste system. He was a scholar as much as a man of action in any case before becoming one. In his writings, Ambedkar tried hardto show the mechanisms of the caste system and clarified the origin of untouchability in order to support his fight for equality. For him, if the lower castes were not in a position to overthrow their oppressors, it was because of two reasons: they had partially internalised hierarchy; and because of the very characteristics of caste-based inequality.
His views on the untouchability can be describe as follows :-

1) THE UNTOUCHABLES AS OPPRESED BUDDHIST Ambedkar in 1948 published a book entitled The Untouchables: Who were they and why they become untouchables? In this book he rejected the occupational theory propounded by western thinkers about the origin of the untoucability. The reason behind this rejection was the fact that the filthy and unclean profession of untouchables is common to all human societies but this practice of untouchability was only in India.
He gave the hypothesis of Broken Men to explain the genesis of untouability. He explain that all primitive societies have been conquered at one time or another by invaders who set themselves above

the autochthonous peoples. In the process of social fragmentation that followed, peripheral groups, or Broken Men , split off from the centre. In the tribal war it often happened that a tribe, insted of being completely annihilated, was defeated and routed. In many cases , a defeated tride became broken into bits. As a consequence of this, there always existed a floating population consisting of groups of broken tribesmen roaming around in all directions. When the conquerors became sedentary, they turned to these Broken Men to protect them from the attacks of nomadic tribes. According to Ambedkar the Untouchables are the descendants of Broken Men, and thus as the original, pre-Aryan, inhabitants of India. There were staunch followers of Buddha. He said that if the Hindu India was invaded by the Muslims, Buddhist India was invaded by Brahmin.


He believed that the Hinduism was based on inequality and injustice. It divided men cruelly in the name of caste. In its fold some people became untouchables and slaves. It never encouraged them to develop their minds and to advance in life. So he said that as long as downtrodden remains Hindu they will not be able to live a decent life. So he decided not to live any more in the Hindu fold. Though by chance he was a born Hindu, he did not want, at least, to die a Hindu. Since then he went on constantly thinking and searching for the most appropriate form of religion that touches the heart to the grief stricken humanity. 3) SOCIAL DEMOCRACY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN FREEDOM FROM FOREIGH RULE He firmly believes that social, religious, and political freedom were of great importance then the freedom from foreign rule. He feared that without social and economic equality, caste Hindu would continue to oppress untouchables in free India. Thus he firmly wants the abolition of caste system.

4) DO NOT DEPEND UPON GOD OR SUPERMAN :- Ambedkar also impressed upon the untouchables the need of self help , self elevation , self respect themes. He encourage them to take charge of their own destinies and fight for their fundamental rights. He asked them to rooted out the idea of lowness or highness from their minds. He also spoke against their practice of eating carrion. 5) REFUSAL OF RELIGIOUS SCRIPTURES He said that untouchables should refuse to be controlled by Shastrsa and Smities. Accoding to him these scriptures are symbols of injustice under which they had suffered since centuries. 6) DESTRUCTION OF CASTE SYSTEM He believe that out caste is a by-product of caste system. There will be out castes as long as there are castes. Nothing can emancipate out caste except the destruction of caste. Nothing can help to save Hindu and ensure their survival in the coming struggles except the purging of Hindu faith of this odious and vicious dogma. 7) SEPERATE ELECTORATE FOR DALITS As early as 1920s he had considered political actions as one of the untouchables instruments of emancipation. he had advocated for reservation of seated for minorities that cannot, otherwise , secure personal representation or grant communal electorate. 8) CONVERSION AS , A STRATEGY OF SOCIAL EMANCIPATION

Ambedkars first reference to conversion to another religion dates back to 1927. During the Mahad Conference he said: - We want equal rights in the society. We will achieve them as far as possible while remaining within the Hindu fold or, if necessary by kicking away this worthless Hindu identity. And if it becomes necessary to give up Hinduism it would no longer for us to bother about temples. After resigning from Nehrus cabinet in October 1951he became isolated from the mainstream politics and faced with persistence of Hindu orthodoxy to maintain the status quo, the thought of leaving the Hindu fold now gained urgency for him. Finally by the end of 1954 he decided to change his religion. He studied Islam, Christanity, Sikhism etc. but Buddhism appealed him the most, 9) Education: A Means for the Emanicipation Ambedkar was convinced that education alone could emancipate the untouchables. The establishment of the Siddharth college in Bombay in 1945 and the Millind college at Aurangabad in 1951 stand witness to his endeavor to make higher education not only available to the depressed classes but also to put the rails of the administration of such educational institutions in their hands

Mahatma Gandhi also criticised the practice of untouchability in hindu religion but his view in this issue was not similar to that of Ambedkars. On many occasion his view are opposite to the view held by Ambedkar Gandhis anti-untouchability stance awakened in childhood and matured in South- Africa. It entered a new phase, public phase, at Satyagrah Ashram, founded by him in may 1915 near Ahmadabad. In his ashram everybody was equal due to whish he had faced strong opposition from upper caste Hindus. But he said untouchability stood in opposing of his notion of divinely gathered family or community. Following are the issues on which the views of two great leaders did not matched :1) Abolition of untouchability not the caste system as whole Gandhi believed that the issue of untouchability was a religious issue. He sought to abolish the Pernicious custom of untouchability not the caste system. He tried to remove this by changing the heart of the people. He said that Hindus should treat them as equals in order to achieve their salvation. But orthodox upper caste Hindu did not accept this interpretation of religion. Later he realise that the evil of untouchability was much dangerous than his perception. In the article CASTE HAS TO GO he admitted that the abolition of untoucability was important for the betterment of Hindu society. 2) RELIGIOUS CONVERSION On this issue hr took an essentially Hindu stand. He held that everybody should find his salvation within his own religious community. The issue of untouchability was related to Hinduism and the conversion to other religion is pointless for untouchables. 3) ISSUE OF SEPERATE ELECTORATE

When on 17 August 1932,the British prime minister Ramsay McDonald announced his decision to grant a fixed number of legislative seated under a separate electorate to untouchables. He Opposed this decision because according to him this step would arrest the marvellous growth of work which Hindu reformers had done to uplift them. He said that moral and religious issues are more important than political one. 4) INDEPENDENE FIRST Many people accused mahatma Gandhi for subordinating the issue of untouchability to the independence and Hindu-Muslim unity. But according to him he can tackle this problem in the better ways in independent India. For Gandhi eradication of untouchability was a vital part of his life programme but not the sole part.

Both Gandhi and Ambedkar played a significance role in the eradication of blot of untouchability on the Indian society. Gandhis vision, by bringing those on the periphery to the centre and lifting the traditionally downtrodden people to participatory position in society weakened the power of the high caste Hindu. Ambedkars confrontational approach and assertion of rights has created openings for the dalits to gain a greater sense of self-respect, self- confidence and self worth than they had before. While Ambedkar relied more heavily on formal politics and religious separation as a mechanism for change, Gandhi , without ignoring the politics dimension, emphasized personal witness and change of heart of a broad mass of caste Hindus. But in a sense both leaders failed. Gandhi failed because the change of heart did not go far enough or deep enough. Ambedkar failed because conversion to Buddhism or any other religion has rarely led to escape from the stigma of pollution. Both failure testify to the weight and pervasiveness of hierarchical valves in Indian society .