UNTOUCHABILITY-THE PLIGHT OF DALITS: IN THE WORKS OF DALIT WRITERS, DR. B.R. AMBEDKAR AND OM PRAKASH VALMIKI
Keywords:Dalits, Untouchable, Hindu, Chaturvarna, Caste System
The right to live a dignified life is one of the basic necessities of human beings. In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, self-esteem and being respected takes almost the topmost position in a person’s psychological needs. Women’s suffragette, the civil movements for equality of African- American’s and other such movements in history are a testament of the same. However, Indian history reeks of a dark past, a past that not only differentiated amongst people, but treated them worse than animals. The Indian society’s ‘Chaturvarna’ system placed the untouchables in the lowest social category. They are also called ‘Dalits’, which literally translates to ‘broken men’. The untouchables were forced to inhumane treatment and atrocities for no fault of their own. Basic rights such as drinking water, food, proper accommodation and even walking on roads were not allowed to them. With the efforts of visionaries and social workers, the condition improved; but it is still not a complete victory.
This paper is but a feeble light shining on the struggles that come with unfair castigation of this social hierarchy. It also points out how plight of Dalits is addressed in writings of the Dalit writers. Dalit writers suggested that the plight of Dalits can only be addressed through social consciousness, which can only come with education and legal empowerment.
English translation by Jayant Karve and Eleanor Zelliot of Namdeo Dhasal’s Marathi poem in Golpitha.
Moon, Vasant. “Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, Writings and Speeches, Vol.5”. Re-printed by Dr. Ambedkar Foundation: January, 2014. Pdf.
Moon, Vasant. “Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, Writings and speeches, Vol.5”. Re-printed by Dr. Ambedkar Foundation: January, 2014. Pdf.
Ambedkar, B.R., (1946) “Who Were Shudaras?” Bombay,Thacker and Company,pp 16-17
Ambedkar,B.R.,(1946) “Who Were Shudaras?” Bombay,Thacker and Company,pp 57-65
Valmiki, Omprakash. “Joothan, A Dalit’s life”. Translated by Arun Prabha Mukherjee.Columbia University Press, 2003. Pdf.
Moon, Vasant. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, Writings and Speeches”, Vol.5”. Reprinted by Dr. Ambedkar Foundation: January, 2014. Pdf.
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