Prof. Dr. Yogendra Yadav
Gandhi Research Foundation, Jalgaon, Maharashtra, India
Contact No. – 09415777229, 094055338
Mahatma Gandhi Discussion with Untouchables’ Deputation
Mahatma Gandhi discussed with Untouchables’ Deputation on December 15, 1932.
QUESTION: There is no mention of Dr. Ambedkar’s letter in the report of the Anti-Untouchability League.
GANDHIJI: Your complaint should be that the issues raised in it were not considered. You let me know your complaint against me. I will tell you in what ways I am helping you.
Q. You said to Devrukhkar: ‘Win these people through love.’ But there should be love in him in the first place.
G. Then you reverse the thing, and you win him through love!
Q. No, no; he is as big as the Gaurishanker Mountain. No doubt, we can fight him, but there is a limit to our violence too.
G. I firmly believe that factionalism should be avoided. I will try my level best to remove this tendency among caste Hindus.
Q. What about giving some social privileges to them?
G. This is going on in all the Provinces. People are being made to understand and there is no laxity about it. Go to Malabar and see what a great change has taken place.
Q. But what plan do you have for the betterment of this section of society?
G. It is precisely for this that I have raised the question of temple-entry.
Sanatanists have got frightened because of it. They tell me, ‘you do everything else, let them take water from the wells; but please don’t touch the temples.’ This is just the first step. When the work progresses, other problems also will be solved. There is a lot of propaganda work to be done as regards temple-entry. And this work is already going on proper lines in Malabar.
Q. To remove the sufferings of the untouchables and the hardships inflicted on them by the touchables, please appoint a committee of lawyers to find a remedy.
G. We shall use the services of volunteer-lawyers.
Q. Volunteers will not be able to do much.
G. Even if they are like me?
Q. They untouchables should be admitted in the weaving department of the mills. Today there is untouchability in eating-houses and in the matter of water-taps. It is there in the tea-stalls of Majoor Mahajan. Why don’t you suggest to the Chamber of Commerce that they should take casual labourers from among the untouchables? Is there any change in your views regarding the four varnas?
G. I am afraid, no. I do believe in the four varnas. There should not be any restrictions regarding intermarriages and interdining. There is nothing in the Shastras that says that different varnas cannot intermarry. I have put this into practice in my life, but at present I do not want to propagate it. If I take up the programme of reforming the castes, my work regarding eradication of untouchability would suffer. All occupations should be hereditary. Millions of people are not going to become Prime Ministers and Viceroys. Moreover, so long as ashrams dharma does not revive, Varna dharma too is not going to revive.
Q. To what extent can we consider you as our man?
G. Since before Ambedkar was born, I have been your man. You will find all the things that he advocates in my old articles. Nobody has opposed untouchability in such strong language as I.
Q. That is what the Editor of Bhala also claims?
G. Everyone who makes the claim honestly can do so. But, as Solon said, a man should be given a certificate only after his ashes cool down.1 Who knows I may not prove to be the worst sanatanist!