untouchables


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untouchables:

see HarijansHarijans
[children of God], in India, individuals who are at the bottom of or outside the Hindu caste system. They were traditionally sweepers, washers of clothes, leatherworkers, and those whose occupation it was to kill animals.
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untouchables

See CASTE.

Untouchables

 

persons belonging to castes occupying the lowest levels of the caste hierarchy in India.

According to Hindu dogma, untouchables are outside the traditional division of Hindu society into four varna (hence, the Hindu designation panchama, that is, members of the fifth varna). During the Middle Ages untouchables in India included community slaves, serfs, and people engaged in “unclean” occupations, such as leatherworking, removal of human feces, laundering, and fishing. In recent and modern times the majority of untouchables have served as enserfed farmhands, unskilled workers, washermen and washerwomen, tanners, and lavatory attendants. In Hinduism, association with untouchables is considered to be polluting for individuals belonging to higher castes. In southern India restrictions on associating with untouchables are even stricter; there “untouchability” becomes “unapproachability.” In contemporary India untouchables make up about 20 percent of all Hindus. After India gained independence (1947), discrimination against untouchables was prohibited by law (1955). However, even now certain traditional restrictions remain—in many areas untouchables cannot use community wells, for example.

Untouchables

lowest caste in India; social outcasts. [Ind. Culture: Brewer Dictionary, 1118]
References in periodicals archive ?
The untouchable tribal-caste group ancestors of the Pakistani Christians were assigned tasks "such as the cleaning of latrines and sewers; the removal of the carcasses of dead animals; and the removal of corpses.
The untouchable boy had become golden, thanks to something unthinkable when he was a boy: He has money--and lots of it.
Keywords: human rights violations, Untouchables, Women
Untouchable is the club and you have to pick the players on the pitch who will perform for you.
Harijan is a euphemism for the low castes and untouchables and means people of god.
The Untouchables, a Philly company founded in 1988, have done music videos, Soul Train, and opening gigs for Wu-Tang Clan and L.
After this, she deals with the setting of study with reference to the untouchables in Bhalara, the focal area of research site.
Chapter 5 concerns Gandhi's attempt to persuade India that sweeping was the highest profession, and his failure to see that the Harijans ("children of God"), as he called untouchables, needed emancipation, not just a better image.
For a racy twist on the Victoriana trend, The Untouchables have ripped up lacy black undies and stuck strips on to acrylic-tipped nails.
They find real progress, particularly in urban, impersonal environments where untouchables now claim their right to public services.
The untouchables, who prefer to be called ''Dalits'' (''oppressed'' in Hindi), began a National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, which will focus on abolishing the class system, ensuring the Dalits' fundamental rights, and ending the ''untouchable'' class by the new millennium.
More important, being class-conscious, he never wishes to mate with or marry any untouchable girl, though his ardent socialist objective is to release all untouchables from bondage and give them equality.