Prof. Dr. Yogendra Yadav
Senior Gandhian Scholar
Gandhi Research Foundation, Jalgaon, Maharashtra, India
Contact No. – 09404955338, 09415777229
Mailing Address- C- 29, Swaraj Nagar, Panki, Kanpur- 208020, Uttar Pradesh, India
Abolition of untouchability in Bihar- Mahatma Gandhi
Q. In Satyagraha camps there often crops up the question of the implications of untouchability. In Bihar this certainly is the case. If abolition of untouchability consists simply in touching the Harijans, untouchability does not exist in Bihar. But if it includes letting the Harijans use your water-pot and exchange water with non- Harijans, if it includes inter-dining and allowing them to enter your dining-room and kitchen, even Congressmen are not free from this untouchability. What do you say to this?
A. Abolition of untouchability in me will be really achieved only when I behave towards Harijans as I should towards my own kith and kin. There is no untouchability today in Congress kitchens. And so if Congressmen in Bihar observe untouchability as regards eating, I should be disagreeably surprised. Believe me that swaraj will be delayed in proportion to our failure and half-heartedness in carrying out the different items of the constructive programme. It is impossible to attain swaraj non-violently unless there is self-purification. I do not often use this word nowadays, but it is there in an important Congress resolution. It has been a vital part of Congress politics since 1920. Letters of the late Pandit Motilalji and other leaders, written during that period, are worth perusal. Their lives had undergone a conversion. Have we descended from that high pedestal?