Efforts or Contribution of M.K. Gandhi Ji for improving/uplifting the condition of lower castes
The advent of M. K. Gandhi in Indian politics brought the movement of uplifting lower castes to national scene.
In 1917, the ‘India Congress’ passed a resolution for removing the disabilities imposed on lower castes. In 1921, the ‘All India Congress’ again appealed to the Hindus for removal of untouchability and uplift of lower castes.
In 1932, Gandhiji named untouchables as the Harijans (children of God) and established, the Harijan Sevak Sangh for their upliftment. He adopted a Harijan girl as his own daughter.
The ‘All India Congress’ included ‘removal of untouchability’ as one of its goals because of the influence of Gandhi.
After Indian independence, untouchability has been declared illegal. Besides the ‘All India Congress’, several other associations also worked for removal of untouchability and upliftment of lower castes or depressed classes, the ‘Indian National Social Conference’ being one of them which worked for removal of untouchability and encouraged inter-caste marriages and inter-dining since 1928 onwards.
Thus, we find that several efforts were made for removal of untouchability and betterment of lower castes prior to Indian independence. It brought some relief to these castes. After Independence, untouchability has been legally banned. Yet, we find that the condition of these castes has not improved very much. One primary cause of it had been that whatever advantages were provided to them were grabbed by a minority among them who were educated and economically well-off and they then formed a distinct class of themselves.
The basic cause, however, remained that no serious effort was made for economic growth of these classes which is the real problem. Unless the economic lot of lower castes is improved, their members cannot expect to gain social or religious upliftment. Besides, enlightened education should be provided to them so that these classes understand their rights and make self-efforts for improving their lot.
Source used : NCERT, Tamil Nadu Board, IGNOU Modern History, NIOS textbooks. Wikipedia notes for UPSC exam.
Tags : PDF for UPSC exam short notes on Gandhi’s contribution to uplift or improve the condition of lower castes.