Abolition of ‘Untouchability’ in India

By: Jai Shankar Agarwala (Advocate, Supreme Court)

Untouchability” in India was officially abolished by Article 17 of the Constitution of India which came into force on 26th January 1950. At 65, Indian Republic is still groping with this problem while 80% of her people continue to practise untouchability in some form or other. According to official data a 16.6% of the 1.25b population comprise the untouchable castes called Dalits who live in ghettos and are subjected to humiliations and atrocities of the worst kind despite protective laws. This article attempts to answer why the Indian Republic is a dismal failure in this front? It also argues that ‘untouchability’ which is a symptom of the malaise of Casteism cannot be eradicated without the abolition of the Caste-system itself afflicting Indian Society.

Key words: Hinduism, Caste-system, Dalits, untouchability, Apartheid, law, Constitution of India, Abolition, affirmative action plan.

It is absolutely imperative to abolish the caste system as expeditiously as possible for smooth functioning of rule of law and democracy in our country. 1

—Justices Dalveer Bhandari and A. K. Patnaik2

    The makers of the Constitution of India had wanted India to be a modern welfare State with noble ideals of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity with egalitarian values as epitomized in the Preamble to the Constitution of India. India now, is in the Sixty-fifth year of the Republic3.

     Yet, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), a crime is committed against a Dalit 4 by a non-Dalit every sixteen minutes; every day, more than four untouchable women are raped by touchable; every week, thirteen Dalits are murdered and six Dalits are kidnapped.5 In 2012 alone, the year of the Delhi gang-rape and murder, 1,576 Dalit women were raped and 651 Dalits were murdered. In 2013, the number of Dalit women raped rose to 2073 showing a steep rise of 31.5% and 676 Dalits were murdered showing a rise of 3.8%.6 These figures speak only of those crimes that are reported. Many times more must have gone unreported in social conditions of the prevailing realities in India.

A legal ban against caste discrimination and untouchability was first introduced in British India under the Caste Disabilities Removal Act XXI of 1850; 17 years after the abolition of slavery by the British in 1933.7 Later, the Government of India Act 1935 extended special protections to the Scheduled Castes (SCs).8 Between 1943 and 1950, 17 laws were enacted by different Indian States to end caste-based disabilities. However, no national legislation was passed until the Untouchability (Offences) Act,1955 which was amended in 1976 to make its provisions more stringent and renamed the Act as the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955(PCR Act). To deal with the atrocities committed against SCs, another law—the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989(POA Act)—came into effect in January 1990.9 Despite this legislation and the establishment of special commissions to monitor its working, caste discrimination and caste based crimes continue to thrive throughout India and show no signs of decline! In fact, they show a steady rising trend!10

    The provision for abolition of untouchability finds place in Article 17 of Part III of the Constitution relating to the chapter on fundamental rights of citizens of India which reads as hereunder:

17. Abolition of untouchability.— “Untouchability” is abolished and its practice in any form is forbidden. The enforcement of any disability arising out of “Untouchability” shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.11`

      The above Article of the Constitution of India appears to be an attempt to cure the symptom of a disease rather than the disease itself! Perhaps, the makers of the constitution of India viewed “untouchability” in India as something akin to slavery in the 19th century America where it was abolished in 1865 by the 13th amendment of the Constitution whereupon all the slaves were set free by the legal act of Abolition. United Kingdom’s Slavery Abolition Act 1833 had already abolished slavery throughout the British Empire. But the practice of untouchability in India was and is quite distinct and different from the ‘slavery’ of the then United States or of the UK before their respective Acts of abolition. It should be understood that the “slavery” in the United States existed because it had the sanction of law in many of their States until 1865. So by law it could be undone and abolished. Likewise, in the UK also “slavery” existed because of the laws that enforced it before the abolition in 1833.So was the case with Apartheid in South Africa– it was backed by laws that enforced it in that country until by law it was abolished in 1995 after a protracted struggle by the people. 12

     By contrast, the untouchability in India was not sanctioned by law at the time the Constitution of India came into effect nor is it backed by law as a command of the Sovereign today although it might have social roots in the religious practices, as codified in the Manu-smriti,13 of the people of this land in the distant past. It could not therefore be simply wished away by the said pious declaration of the Constitution in Article 17.

The untouchability in India is the offshoot of the caste-system, a kind of rigid endogamous social stratification or graded social segregation, taking many shades and forms, and is an inseparable part of the religious practices of the people known as Hindus, a word that originates from Persian hindu,14 with an in-built inequality in the system itself. There are now about five thousand castes in India each claim its distinct status in the social hierarchy and each practising grades of untouchabilty in relation to other castes considered inferior to it. The Dalits or the untouchable castes, also called outcastes by the caste-Hindus, are at the bottom of the ladder and naturally, they bear the brunt of the system most. But, they too are divided in myriad (about 1,500) castes and sub-castes and do practise untouchability of some sort against each other according to their own notions of superiority or inferiority within themselves. In other words, barring a few at the top of the ladder, most are both a victim and a tormentor of this social evil in some form or other. Even among the Brahmins, supposedly the highest caste, women are rendered untouchables for four days in a month during their menstrual cycle. Curiously enough, the oppressed from above tend to be more oppressive below.15

     Untouchability is therefore, the symptom of the disease of caste-system afflicting mainly the Hindus in India. Casteism is the degenerate form of the original four-fold varna divisions of society made by the ancient Hinduism— something akin to the four-fold division of society made and enforced by multiple laws during the Apartheid regime in South Africa by the National Party from 1948 to 1995 in the last century. The Apartheid regime divided the society based on colour as: ‘blacks’, ‘whites’, ‘coloured’ and ‘Indian’. 16 The word varna in Sanskrit also means colour. But the ancient Indian chaturvarnaBrahman, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Shudra—were probably based on qualities and occupations.17 The ancient Chaturvarna is the precursor of the present caste-system in our country. Unlike Apartheid, it is not enforced by laws. It is rooted in the religion, religious scriptures and practices of the Hindus. Rarely in the past was it enforced by the Sovereign? Yet, in effect, it is more pernicious than Apartheid in that it could not be abolished by law alone. The practice is dehumanising and repugnant to modern humanism. It is an insult to the dignity of the human person. Gandhi termed it as a ‘curse of Hinduism’ and on October 26, 1927, in his speech to Adi-Dravidas, Calicut, expressed the hope: “I have therefore no doubt whatsoever in my mind that the time is soon coming when these disabilities will disappear in their entirety. And I have no doubt also that if these disabilities do not disappear by some act of sacrifice and repentance on the part of the Hindus, Hinduism itself will disappear.”18 Contrary to his hopes, Casteism has even penetrated other religious communities living in India now like an infectious disease. 19 It has almost become a pan-Indian phenomenon transcending all religious communities living in the subcontinent. India is a  fractured nation—each caste resembling a nation by itself. Untouchability is the outward manifestation of the social evil of this all-pervasive casteism in the country.

      Logically, ‘untouchability’ therefore, cannot be abolished without the abolition of the ‘caste’ itself that begets it. The social identity of caste is clearly in conflict with the concept of ‘equality’—a Fundamental Right– that permeates the whole body of our Constitution. Article 15 of the Constitution prohibits discrimination by the State on the ground of caste among others. But it does not prohibit citizens from practising casteism.20 A caste Brahmin and a caste Mahar cannot be socially equals so long as their castes are not abolished. This is why, Dr B.R. Ambedkar had passionately argued for the annihilation of caste in our society21. Indisputably, we need to de-caste and humanize ourselves as a step towards achieving the goal of a ‘just society’22 in accordance with the ideals of our Constitution.

In retrospect, it appears that the makers of the Constitution of India, instead of abolition of ‘untouchability’ which did not exist in law, ought to have abolished ‘caste’ that existed in law in the following manner:

17. Abolition of caste. —Caste’ is abolished and the practice of casteism in any form is forbidden. The enforcement of any disability arising out of caste-system shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.”23

[Provided that nothing shall prevent the State from taking affirmative action for upliftment of the depressed classes identified on the basis of objective criteria which may include ‘caste’]

      After the bloody experience of the Revolt of 1857, the Britishers could not muster the courage to do so.24 Independent India could! By incorporating this Article in the Constitution backed by a strong law for punishment of the perpetrators of casteism we could have made a radical move forward on the way to the social liberation of Indian people chained by the age-old shackles of ‘caste’—an irrational identity that grants a privilege or a disgrace on individuals and communities they do not earn on merit but is bestowed upon them by the accident of their birth—a remnant of the archaic feudal past.

How to change it?

A. Ramaiah 25 of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in his well-researched essay26 on the subject has suggested three ways under the head Towards pragmatic solutions. These, according to him, are: a) legal means; b) educating the oppressive caste Hindus and c) separate settlement. Let us attempt to examine the each of these three solutions:

a) Legal means

In the first place, he argues that the powerful laws such as PCR Act and POA Act remain largely ineffective due to the fact that most of the officials in charge of implementing these laws by and large belong to the very castes—the caste Hindus that violate these laws. As such, taking the cue from the steps taken to deal with women related issues, he advises appointing of more number of officials from the SC and ST27 communities at various levels particularly in those special police stations and courts entrusted with the task of ensuring justice to the caste victims.

Secondly, he advises that most of the caste related crimes are committed at village or town levels where the Superintendent of Police (SP) 28of the District is likely to be more concerned with the maintaining of Law and Order relating to non-Dalits, he may not be as earnest for the Dalit related crimes and as such the task of maintaining the confidential report the District SP should be entrusted to a superior officer belonging to the SC or ST community.

Needless to point out that both the above measures under the head “legal means” are administrative in nature and their implementation is subject to the availability of sufficient personnel within the frame of the present recruitment policy in the services followed by the Government. Even if capable of implementation, these administrative reforms are likely to improve marginally the recording and investigation of more such cases without affecting the rate of conviction. Stringent laws have not been proved to be of any deterrent effect on the number of ever rising graph of caste related crimes in India so far29. The suggestions do not take into account the root-cause of the growing caste-conflict and fail to address the core issue i.e. the annihilation of caste without which a democratic polity as envisaged by our Constitution will continue to remain a pipe dream at least within the foreseeable future.

However, efficacy of law as an instrument of social engineering is no longer disputed. There are instances of age-old inhuman practices associated with Hinduism that could be completely eradicated through the instrumentality of Law in the past. The abolition of the practice of widow-burning (Suttee) in Bengal in 1829 through the instrumentality of law can be cited as a case on the point.30

In order to achieve a caste-less society some radical legal reforms will be needed; not merely some administrative reforms to oversee the effective implementation of the existing laws which are still inadequate.

As a first step towards that goal—the very ‘caste-system’ as a social institution must go. This can be legally achieved by amending the Constitution in the manner argued above. Even wanting to know about one’s caste should be made penal offence.

Secondly, the concept of compensatory justice should be introduced in our criminal law to enable the trial courts to impose a very heavy penalty on the perpetrators of all crimes in addition to the punishments provided under the Indian Penal Code. The amounts so imposed should be made payable to the victims of the crimes. The latest among the special Acts viz. POA Act provides for such payments to the victims but needs to be re-examined as to its adequacy.

Thirdly, for the speedy trial of caste-based crimes, a Special Fast Track Court should be established in every district presided over by a judge belonging to SC/ST categories. It must also be ensured that the Public Prosecutors for these courts should also belong to these categories. 31

b) Educating the oppressive caste Hindus

In this part, the author emphasises the need for educating all oppressors—Brahmins and non-Brahmins alike—rather than focussing only on the oppressed if, in the words of the author, ‘the ever increasing crimes against Dalits is to be stopped’. While observing that the ‘Brahmins and the backward castes in rural areas are in urgent need of being enlightened’ he omits to give any road-map how the said ideal of universal ‘enlightenment’ can possibly be achieved! In making this observation, the author seems to have ignored all empirical and historical evidence to the contrary and appears to have accepted the idealistic view that ‘moral transformation’ of the caste-Hindus as oppressors can be brought about by education of both the oppressed and the oppressors. This view fails to answer why in the two and half millennia of India’s known history, the moral preachers from the Buddha to Gandhi have failed to bring about any significant change in the Indian society?32 Why did the Bhudan movement 33 spearheaded by the noted Gandhian Vinoba Bhave end up a miserable failure? Or, why the author considers unreliable the observation of Dr B.R. Ambedkar to the effect that ‘when reason comes into conflict with vested interests, it fails’? There is no evidence in History of a privileged class voluntarily relinquishing their privileges on moral grounds alone in the absence of a protracted class-struggle by the unprivileged classes. The isolated individual examples of not using the surnames by some Brahmin scholars of elitist two institutions such as Jawaharlal Nehru University(JNU) and Tata Institute of Social Sciences(TISS) in India are merely conscientious exceptions that only go on to prove the rule asserted by Ambedkar and not disprove it.

c) Separate settlement

The author, in this part, supports the view advocated by Dr B. R. Ambedkar in the All India Depressed Classes Conference held on July 18, 1942 at Nagpur, for “separate and independent settlement for untouchables” in order to end caste discrimination and violence against the Dalits. He observes: “In short, it may be concluded that the enmity between Dalits and caste Hindus particularly in rural India is so stark that it becomes virtually impossible to hope that the caste Hindus could be educated to treat Dalits as fellow human beings and fellow citizens of India”. This conclusion by the author contradicts his suggestion in the forgoing paragraph (b), the validity of which as a ‘pragmatic solution’ is rejected here by the author himself. Now, how far the advice of “separate settlement” as advocated by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar is a ‘pragmatic solution’ as argued by the author remains to be examined in the light of past experience.

In South Africa, during the Apartheid regimes in between 1948 and 1995, a policy of separate settlement of non-whites in accordance with their colour was followed with disastrous results. It did not help the integration of the society; far less help reduce the racial prejudice. Apartheid was outlawed in 1995 when this policy came to an end. In the north-east India where we can see ethnic enmity between different scheduled tribes settled in wholly different villages; sometimes the entire villages are put to fire making them all the more vulnerable to the large-scale violence by the dominant tribes. Besides, the proposition ignores the fact of existing caste segregations within the SCs inter se that does not permit of homogeneous integrity within themselves. In the backdrop of past experiences, Dr Ambedkar’s idea of ‘separate settlement’ for Dalits too does not appear to be a pragmatic solution nor is it likely to register any advance towards the objective of annihilation of caste. 34

Road-map for affirmative Action:

Before we attempt to work out a road-map of affirmative action to liberate the oppressed humanity we call Scheduled Castes(SCs) of India, we need to understand clearly the nature of the social institution of ‘caste’ found in Indian society, particularly among the Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs. According to the Census figure of 2011, 16.6% of Indian population comprise the SCs. There are 1,108 listed castes in the Scheduled Castes Order of 1950 in India. The common element in these castes is that they are considered untouchables by the rest of the people; are generally forced to live in separate ghettos or Bustees outside the village and are mostly engaged in menial jobs. These people presently occupy our concern.

Caste is a form of social stratification characterized by endogamy, hereditary transmission of a lifestyle which often includes an occupation, ritual status in a hierarchy and customary social interaction and exclusion based on cultural notions of purity and pollution. 35COD defines caste as ‘each of the hereditary classes of Hindu society, distinguished by relative degrees of ritual purity or pollution and social status.’36 In a sense, caste can be viewed as a congealed form of class. The chief distinction between the two relates to mobility. ‘Class is mobile caste and caste is immobile class’.37The chaturvarna or the four-fold original division of ancient Hindu society has given rise to the present thousands of castes within each varna over thousands of years by a process of multiplication somewhat similar to mitosis followed by the living organisms.38

However, the SCs are outside these chaturvarna and therefore, are considered outcastes or the fifth varna with the stigma of untouchability and suffer from social exclusion from the caste-Hindu-fold. As already stated, they comprise 16.6% of the Indian population whom we may term Special Target Group (STG) for the purpose of our present study.

Method of identification of the STG:

1. Identification by occupation:

To say the first thing first, since any road-map for affirmative action to this disadvantaged section of society must be directed towards the goal of total annihilation of caste within a time-frame, it goes without saying that ‘caste’ must be discarded as a criterion for identification of these groups. To find alternative more objective criteria for the purpose is not difficult. We know already that every member-caste of the SCs is identifiable with a particular occupation/occupations. It is not only possible but also rational that, instead of compiling a Schedule of Castes as was done by the British Colonial Government in 1935, we compile a Schedule of Occupations that includes all the traditional occupations in which these communities are engaged for livelihood. This will do away with the need for using the caste identity for their surnames that needs to be annihilated.

2. Absence of ownership of any property:

It is well known that these sections of the people have never been permitted to own lands, property or wealth by the dominant castes of the Hindu society. They have been generally forced to live in separate ghettos outside the village or in Bustees outside the urban towns. The absence of any ownership of property can be another identifiable criterion for the STG.

3. Non-accessibility to English education:

These people have been traditionally denied access to indigenous educational institutions by the teaching community which was the monopoly of the Brahmins. As such, they are mostly illiterate and vulnerable to economic and social exploitation. English medium education being an expensive private enterprise in India, they have absolutely no access to English medium education. This point assumes special significance in the Indian social context where the command of both spoken and written English language is widely considered the barometer for measurement of a person’s education. Non-access to the English medium schooling can also serve a good indicator for this group.

Having completed the task of identification on objective criteria as aforesaid and before we embark on attempting to formulate a plan of affirmative action by the State aimed at removal of disabilities arising out of caste and other disadvantages it will be pertinent to note the observations of Dr Rammanohar Lohia39 as regards the characteristics of Indian Ruling class:

Every country possesses a ruling class, but neither country nor age has ever known a ruling class so immobile and so firmly entrenched in position of power as that in India. Three characteristics distinguish India’s ruling classes: (1) high-caste, (2) English education, (3) wealth. The combination of any two of these three factors makes a person belong to the ruling classes. One might have thought that wealth and education would be economic and cultural-social factors and, therefore, highly mobile phenomena. But that is not so. The presence of the third factor of high-caste freezes the whole situation into an impossible immobility, for over 90% of country’s ruling classes belong to the high castes, and most of them possess both of the other characteristics of wealth and English education, while some possess only one or the other.”40

This was in October 1959. The validity of his statement is too visible to require any empirical proof even today but possibly in the reverse order now in the backdrop of advances from feudalism to capitalism in the last half century. ‘Wealth’ appears to be more deterministic of the acquisition of the other two. The dynamics of social change identified as Sanskritization and Westernization by M.N. Srinivas are also set in motion by the fact of acquisition of wealth at some stage by some means or other.41 Inter-state migration of labour necessitated by capitalistic growth is also challenging the supremacy of caste among the privileges identified by Dr Lohia as characteristics of the ruling classes in India. For, a changed locale provides relatively more favourable conditions for acquisition of wealth by overcoming the disabilities arising from caste.

A positive and result-oriented plan of affirmative action for the STG must then include the following:

1. The most pernicious, the most immobile, the most irrational, and the most inhuman identity of caste has to be abolished by law by a constitutional amendment to remove the social disability arising out of caste; abolition will set in motion the process of annihilation.

2. The entirety of the children of this16.6% population of this group must be provided guaranteed access to English medium schools with boarding facilities at state expense; Darwin’s theory of evolution and the fact of common belonging of all humanity irrespective of race to the species of homo sapiens must form part of the curricula in all schools.42

3. Every state government should be required to implement speedy land reforms. All surplus lands so vested in the state must get settled in favour of each such family in joint names of husband and wife;

4. Without disturbing the present percentage of reservation in all the State sectors generally, a provision for 100% reservation in jobs listed in a Schedule prepared specially for the purpose must be made applicable by law in both the public and private sectors.

5. A sub-plan to guarantee a decent housing, access to running water and electricity, sanitation, medical care, cultural activities and sports must be made in favour of this target group. Reservation should also be provided at the entry level in sports. The financial allocation as per the population ratio is patently unjust. This disadvantaged group must get a higher, at least double their population ratio, in accordance with the principles of redistributive justice.

The aforesaid five-point action plan, if implemented and enforced honestly, the Sphinx43 of untouchability seated firmly on Indian soil for centuries would soon come to realise that its time was over and would fly away.

It is never too late. Nowhere in the world have we seen the apartheid of the most pernicious kind we are compelled to suffer with agony in India in this century. It must make any civilized person hang his head in shame. 44

     Abolition of ‘caste’ by law will be beginning of the process of annihilation of caste in society. In the meantime, we also need to drop the use of surnames that carry any indication of caste voluntarily. 45 The practice of using caste surnames must stand outlawed to expedite the process of annihilation of caste.46


1. Quoted from the judgment in Criminal Appeal No. 686 of 2002 delivered on 04/12/2009, reported in AIR 2010 SC 1738.

2. Justices Dalveer Bhandari and A. K. Patnaik of the Supreme Court of India are the authors of the above judgment.

3. The Preamble to the Constitution of India reads: “WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens: JUSTICE, social, economic and political; LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation; IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November,1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT, AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.” But the Constitution of India came into force with effect from 26.01.1950 when India became a Republic.

4. ‘Dalit’ is the current word for the Scheduled Castes identified by the British under the Act of 1935. It has replaced the word ‘Harijan’ meaning the ‘Sons of God’ coined by Gandhi after it got discredited over time.

5. Roy, Arundhati, from her “The Doctor and the Saint” 2014.

6. Figures quoted from the Compendium of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 2013, published in June 2014.

7. Slavery was abolished in the British Empire in 1933 by an Act of British Parliament.

8. The Government of India Act, 1935, the precursor to the Constitution of India, first used the term ‘Scheduled Castes’ to identify the depressed classes among Hindus.

9. The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 came into effect from 30th January, 1990.

10. The official data as published by NCRB since 1991 show an overall continuity of rising trend of caste related crimes against the Dalits.

11. The Constitution of India, Article 17; Untouchabilty was never lawful nor was it enforceable by law. As such, the pious declaration under this Article was superfluous and was of little effect in practice. Untouchability is still practiced by the 80% of the population with impunity in India despite the constitutional prohibition.

12. Apartheid in South Africa was finally buried in the dust-bin of history with the coming into power of Nelson Mandela through the general elections in1995.

13. Manu-smriti, an ancient text written in Sanskrit by the sage Manu, also known as the Code of Manu is the most hated ancient Hindu scripture by the Dalits and women in India. It is dated sometime around 5th century BCE. But, it does not speak of castes as we find in India today. It speaks of varna or classes based on occupation and qualities but is indisputably very unkind to the Shudras , that is, working class and women generally.

14. The word hindu is of Persian origin. They called the people living east of the river Indus as Hindu unable pronounce ‘S’ of the Sanskrit name of the holy river Sindhu. The origin is well documented in the OED vol. VII p.244, 2nd ed. No Indian religious text has been found to use the word for the religion practised by the people of India. It has been termed ‘Dharma’ in Sanskrit and Dhamma in Pali the language of Buddhist records.

15. Documented in: Ramaiah A. Journal of Law and Conflict resolution vol. 3(9), pp 151-168, Nov. 2011, titled: Growing crimes against dalits in India despite special laws: relevance of Ambedkar’s demand for ‘separate settlement’.

16. Apartheid in South Africa was akin to the four-fold varna system of ancient India but was based on colour and ethnicity and was enforced by law.

17. Although the Sanskrit word Varna means colour, none of the ancient tests of the Hindus speak of four-fold division of society as based on skin colour or by birth. They have explicitly spelt out that the divisions were based on qualities suitable for four different occupations. Perhaps, it turned hereditary in later period and came to be ascribed by birth. See, The Geeta; Sloka 13: Chaturvarnyam maya sristam gun-karma-vibhaga-sha: it speaks of varna based on qualities and occupations only.

18. Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, vol.35, pp 189, reprint 1994;

19. The Indian State of Kerala has separate church for ‘Dalit Christians’.

20. Article 12 of the Constitution of India makes the chapter applicable to ‘State’ only.

21. Ambedkar, B.R. Annihilation of Caste 1936.

22. The phrase ‘Just Society; was first used by John Stuart Mill and later popularised by the Canadian Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau in 1968 as his vision.

23. It is a model draft proposed for abolition of caste constitutionally.

24. See the proclamation of Queen Victoria of 1958;

25. Author of the book titled: Laws for Dalit Rights and Dignity, 2007.

26. Documented by Ramiah, A., ibid;

27. Scheduled Tribes (ST) is a separate category under the Constitution;

28. DSP is the abbreviation for Deputy Superintendent of Police who are many in a District and are subordinate officers under the Superintendent of Police (SP) of the District.

29. The NCRB data show a rising trend of crimes;

30. The practice of Suttee was abolished by legislation and eradicated completely in Bengal during the Governor-General-ship of Lord William Bentinck;

31. The role of Public Prosecutor is vital in a criminal trial in India.

32. From the Buddha (500BC) to Gandhi (1948) there have been a long chain of moral preachers without any significant effect on the institution;

33. Vinoba Bhave was a Gandhian who led a movement in 1950s for ‘change of heart’ of the landlords to persuade them to voluntarily transfer their land-holdings to the land-less without significant success.

34. It is doubtful if Dr Ambedkar would have considered it a safe and pragmatic solution today in the light of the experiences of last half a century.

35. Beteille, Andre, Caste, Class and Power, 1965;

36. Concise Oxford Dictionary.

37. Lohia, Dr Rammanohar, Collected Works of Dr Rammanohar Lohia edited by Mastram Kapoor, vol-2, p-141, Class and caste, 1st ed. 2011;

38. This refers to mitosis a biological mechanism of reproduction by cell division;

39. India’s well-known socialist leader and political thinker;

40. Quoted from “ A note on India’s Ruling class” —Ram Manohar Lohia, 1959, Collected Works of Dr Rammanohar Lohia, Edited by Mastram Kapoor, vol.2, p.302, 1st ed.2011; ibid.

41. Compulsory education of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is likely to demolish the mythical origin of the varna theory of Hinduism: the earliest application to the formal division into four social classes (without using the term varna) appears in the late Rigvedic Purusha Sukta (RV 10.90.11–12), which has the Brahman, Rajanya (instead of Kshatriya), Vaishya and Shudra classes emerging from the mouth, arms, thighs and feet of the primordial giant Purusha respectively.

42. Srinivas M.N.; Social Change in Modern India, 1972.

43. In Greek mythology, a sphinx is represented as a monster with a head of a woman, the body of a lioness, the wings of an eagle, and a serpentheaded tail; Oedipus made her fly away by solving her riddle.

44. Untouchability is more pernicious than Apartheid in that the former has religious sanctity embedded in the caste system practised by the Hindus and is therefore, more difficult to eradicate than Apartheid which was only a fiction created by law.

45. E.V. Ramaswami, popularly known as Periyar, was a south Indian social activist and leader who started movement for dropping the use of caste distinctive surnames and dropped his own surname’ Naicker’ in 1929 with a view to eradication of caste system in India.

46. The phrase ‘annihilation of caste’ is first used by Dr B. R. Ambedkar as the title of his book Annihilation of Caste , 1936.


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