In 2006, the Untouchability in Rural India was published. The survey of 565 villages in 11 states showed that the untouchability is practiced in various forms and sites in the states. The Navsarjan and Robert Kennedy Foundation (RFK) conducted the study of untouchability practices in the state of Gujarat. It produced the sad picture of the social practice of the untouchability. It is shame for the country that outlawed the practice of untouchability through the legal method and incorporates it at the topmost position in the order of the Fundamental Rights in part III of the constitution to continue to see the practice of untouchability so prevalent.
A recent study conducted by RICE, University of Texas, Austin, and JNU proved once again that the practice of untouchability continues to haunt Indian society and social attitudes. As Indian Express reported the untouchability is not only practiced in rural India but also in urban India: According to the survey, 50 percent of respondents in urban Rajasthan admitted to practising untouchability as did 48 percent of respondents in urban UP and even 39 percent of Delhi.
If the practice of untouchability is so common in India, one can just imagine how the caste system must be ingrained in the minds of the people. The social attitudes and the mindsets define politics and economics. If the society remains so fractured, the politics and economics of India are so divisive and fractured. With this fissions in the society, the orthodox Brahmin-Hindutva terrorists further wedge the social divide by spreading misinformation and caste-hatred.
The Untouchables cannot remain in the so-called Hindu fold because it deprives them of their human personality and they always strive to come out this inhuman caste society. Their struggle to realise what belongs to them as their human person and their personality is met with a violence by the caste Hindu groups.
Untouchability must be abolished and it must be abolished if India has to survive the challenges of the present and the future. Without killing the monster of the caste, there is no bright future for India. This is what the researchers who worked on these survey showed. There must be a targeted policy intervention to destroy untouchability and strengthening Prevention of Atrocity Act is one of many such initiatives that are needed from the Government.
Author – Mangesh Dahiwale, Human Rights Activist