原文标题：Can’t be a superpower as long as untouchability exists
In a number of ways, Gandhiji was different from other freedom fighters and leaders of the time. One difference was that he gave equal importance to one more fight along with the struggle for independence, and that is, the emancipation of those ostracised as “untouchables.” Gandhiji’s work against untouchability began in South Africa around five decades before our independence. After his return to India, an incident at his Kochrab Ashram near Ahmedabad shows us how much importance he gave to the concept of equality between castes. The year was 1915. Thakkar Bappa, a close associate of Gandhiji, sent a Dalit by the name of Dudha Bhai to live in the ashram. Everyone in the ashram, including Kasturba, was opposed to this, and this was specifically due to Dudha Bhai’s status, as deemed by the caste hierarchy. Gandhiji made it clear that Dudha Bhai would not leave the Ashram. Anyone who was not comfortable with this was free to leave. He was informed that no one would agree and that even the funding for the ashram might stop. Gandhiji was undeterred. He was ready to shift his ashram to the Dalit basti, he said, even if it meant that his ashram would have only two members, namely Dudha Bhai and himself. Finally everyone turned around, except Gandhiji’s sister Gokiben, who left Kochrab as a result of her brother’s firm stance, never to return.
在许多方面，圣雄甘地与当时其他自由斗士和领袖不一样。其中一个不同之处是他给另一场斗争赋予的重要性等同于独立斗争，即解放印度贱民。独立前50年左右，圣雄甘地解放贱民的斗争开始于南非。回到印度后，发生在阿默达巴德附近Kochrab静修院的一个事件向我们表明他对种姓平等的概念所赋予的重要性是多么大。1915年，圣雄甘地的亲密伙伴巴帕塔迦尔把一名叫Dudha Bhai的达利特送到静修院住。静修院里包括卡斯特芭在内的的每个人都表示反对（三泰虎注：圣雄甘地13岁时就娶10岁的卡斯特芭为妻）。特别是反对的原因在于Dudha Bhai在种姓制度下被认可的地位。圣雄甘地明确表示Dudha Bhai不会离开静修院。如果有谁对此感到不舒服，可以自行离开。他被告知没有人会同意，甚至他的静修院所接受的资金来源也可能被停止。圣雄甘地没有被吓住，他表示准备把自己的静修院转变成达利特人的贫民窟，即使此举意味着静修院只有两个成员，即Dudha Bhai和甘地本人，他也要这样做。最终，除了甘地的妹妹Gokiben因其兄长的坚定立场而离开Kochrab静修院并再也没回来之外，其余人都改变了意见。
Why did Gandhiji give so much importance to the removal of untouchability, or discrimination based on caste? Let’s reflect on that for a moment. I think it is because the freedom he was fighting for was not just political. He did not merely want a different set of people in the corridors of power. Freedom for him meant freedom for each and every citizen of India. A freedom that could only be born from genuine equality, and the protection of the dignity of every Indian. Untouchability was clearly incompatible with his vision of freedom.
Today, many of us have a vision of what our country should be, what it can be, what India’s rightful place in the world is. Many of us dream of India becoming a superpower. But can this ever happen in a country where society is so fractured; where walls divide us? Can we ever achieve our vision if we don’t believe in a shared social good? A common vision?
What do I mean when I say shared social good?
Public property is a shared social good, a street or a road is a shared social good, our public health system is a shared social good. Unfortunately we are so fractured that we don’t see all this as ours. No wonder we throw garbage on our roads because we don’t really see the road as ours. We are not interested in our public health system because we don’t really see it as ours, which is why it is in a shambles. We can have a shared common goal, or a shared vision, only if we as a people are one.
Our forefathers who wrote the Constitution of our country, led ably by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, have clarified and laid down their vision for us — a vision of a country where all are equal. Where brotherhood and fraternity are pillars of our Constitution. Our leaders have shown us the way. They have laid down laws that tell us that discrimination based on caste and religion is illegal. Now, we have to find place in our hearts to follow them. We also have to find place in our hearts to accept that discrimination between people is against the very concept of humanity.
To be a cohesive team, and to have a common, shared vision, we have to start by first accepting that we have built up differences, walls, barriers. Then, we have to start working towards removing these differences. For example, there are umpteen housing societies all across the country which don’t sell houses to either Dalits or Muslims or Hindus or Christians or Sikhs, or to people from a different caste. This kind of petty thinking has to be done away with. And perhaps a great way to start making amends and moving in the right direction is to start with our children. Let us not sow the seeds of separation in our children. Let us not teach them the lessons of differences that we have been taught. And maybe if we stop practising these differences, in the innumerable ways that we do, then these divisions will not percolate to our children.
When I speak of a shared vision, of a shared common good, I am reminded of my own shortcomings in this regard. One of the most heartbreaking encounters for me was listening to Mr. Bezwada Wilson speak about manual scavenging. Words fail me. I am ashamed to admit that it was as late as last year, at the age of 46, that I came to recognise and actually see the existence of manual scavenging. At this late age, for the first time I felt the horror and inhumanity of it. How could I have for 46 years accepted, without batting an eyelid, the fact that some of our countrymen are made to clean the excreta of others with their hands as a means of survival? That they have no means of escape from it because of the caste that they are born into? Why didn’t I notice or react to this earlier? Not because it wasn’t happening around me. No. I did not notice it because I guess I had grown so used to seeing it around me right from my childhood that it didn’t seem unusual to me! And as I was not the victim, the horror and injustice of it probably did not occur to me. I am afraid I am guilty of this insensitivity. How can I even think of a shared common good as long as manual scavenging exists?
Well, having reacted to it now, I think it’s high time I do something about it. Because, I do believe that we should work towards a shared common good, a shared vision, a dream which can belong to all Indians.
from: Raveendran Chinnasamy
Posted on: Jul 9, 2012 at 08:08 IST
We have to make the low caste people to educate. If they are educated then no one will feel that they are untouchable. The government should punish the people who makes the difference among the people.
Always we do tell like this only. But why can't we do something instead of depending on government or on the some other higher officials? Think once.
Satyamev Jayate on Manual Scavenging:- Even though the government has
already declared Manual Scavenging illegal by passing the Act,
existence of such inhuman practice is still there in our society. The
Act or the Law is not the solution of this growing problem…
Government’s Law coupled with effective welfare schemes and commitment
to meet the deadlines will be the best ways to deal with the
situations. This societal problem should not be left with government
itself to handle, we the common citizens must come forward and work in
tandem, accepting the problems of our owns not of a particular caste or
community, lend our helping hands to stop the Manual Scavenging
practiced as a means of survival.
And also need to create an atmosphere for scavenging professionals to
lead normal human life. They must be taught either formally or
informally that carrying or gathering human excreta are inhuman and
even health hazards.from: Rajeev Kumar
Posted on: Jul 9, 2012 at 08:42 IST
Great work! Mr Amir. This is an eye-opener and something of which we all
are guilty of.from: misha
Posted on: Jul 9, 2012 at 08:46 IST
No doubt untouchability still exist in India Whether it is educationally developed state or backward state..Indian educational system has serious flaws in this regard..Reservation alone will not solve the purpose..a moral obligation of every human being is to respect the personality irrespective of their caste and creed..but People who belong to lower caste should also take the responsibility and should come forward and should not be under estimated...from: PRATEEK GUPTA
Posted on: Jul 9, 2012 at 09:06 IST
The point is well made but what is the solution? Legal remedies have mostly failed to eliminate these evil practices. Maybe a special incentive in jobs, education for inter-caste marriages can be given but seems largely unworkable in a conservative society like ours. Similarly mixed-housing, if provided a legal cover, may help building a more cohesive and inclusive society. But ultimately its the attitudinal change which has to happen, and it can't be forced. In long-term, universalisation of education, skill-development for gainful employment and mobility due to economic growth is the best bet.from: sanjay singh
Posted on: Jul 9, 2012 at 09:06 IST
Given that manual scavenging is outrageous should we not stop it RIGHT NOW !!!
Why are we still writing and discussing - do we need a committee to discuss on this.
Pathetic - Amir people like you who have the influence must see to it that state govts do the needful - please don't stop at writing, which in itself is no doubt a great service.
Thank youfrom: Sankar
Posted on: Jul 9, 2012 at 09:47 IST
though I appreciate the main topic of this article, what I fail to
understand is a couple of things
a. what makes a country super-power? what do people really mean when
they say a country as a super-power?
b. and why is each and everything tied up to being a super-power.
just being cynical, didn't USA become a super power with
untouchability having been practiced for decades.
please lets not mix each and every social indicator with a super-
power. Every one have their own definition of being super-power. For
one I don't believe India can never be a "economic" super-power.from: arun mony
Posted on: Jul 9, 2012 at 09:58 IST
"Love Marriage" is a solvent which can dilute the two unacceptable
practices in our society namely dowry and caste system.from: Mano
Posted on: Jul 9, 2012 at 11:05 IST
@Sanjay Singh - Solution is within us. If every person changes himself/herself and try to change their own family then change will be visible.from: Maulik Chandya
Posted on: Jul 9, 2012 at 11:35 IST
Dear Mr. Khan, On the broader topic of the episode - casteism, I feel
that the team should have covered the views of the economically poor
upper caste people too. The story covers only poor dalits and not the
rich lower caste people who continue to exploit the system by getting
seats for their sons/daughters who might not even qualify otherwise.
Lower caste people atleast have a ladder called "Reservation" that
they can use to uplift themselves. The upper caste people dont even
have that - the same argument holds true for the upper caste too -
"Why should we suffer now".
The problem starts with the Government - all the Government form asks
for "Caste". If the Government is hell bent upon removing casteism,
they should first stand corrected. They should also work towards
creating a reservation system that will take into account only the
economic (and NOT caste) status of a person. Till the time vote bank
politics exist, caste based reservation will continue to exist.from: JR
Posted on: Jul 9, 2012 at 11:40 IST
Caste and untouchability are one thing, and practices like manual scavenging are another. The latter can be eliminated if the government acts tough and wields the stick mercilessly. But as it was found in Vidarbha (article in The Hindu), even people who had no financial compulsion were voluntarily continuing on the job! Strange. On the other hand, caste will go away only with education of the mind. Because, here both the oppressor and victim are responsible. While the oppressor feels superior for no reason, the victim adapts double standards. A well-to-do "backward" citizen (be in BC, SC, ST, anyone) should stop enjoying reservations. Else, they are perpetuating the very system they blame.from: Ramana Murthy
Posted on: Jul 9, 2012 at 11:48 IST
The Indian sub-continent is not a land where rich and poor reside. This
is a country of touchables and untouchables, high-castes and low-
castes, pure Brahmins and impure Chandalas. The poor can hope to shed
his poverty tomorrow, but how can an Untouchable ever become a Brahmin.
So, the whole societal structure needs to be done away with; if we ever
wish to be one, the notions of high and low via the mere accident of
birth should not remain. And the only and the greatest impediment to
that is religion - the fetter that enslaves us.from: Vicky Chandra Ranjan
Posted on: Jul 9, 2012 at 12:04 IST
My experience after visiting USA,Canada and living in Africa long time,NRI working in different countries are not at all particular about casteism especially unaccountability is not heard of.Even in social gathering friends from different countries mix up as Asians (Desi)without indulging in dirty political talks.The day we land up in India every problem starts.If I allow my cook to sit with me at dining table as we do abroad,my Indian friends will prefer to leave without having meals.Although, we are following WEST but to the full like equal treatment for all citizens.from: Ravindra Raizada
Posted on: Jul 9, 2012 at 12:21 IST
Amir Khan is used as pawn to publicize the show
and thereby to hide the real heros of India's true history. In this
episode of untouchability cleverly hidden the greatest pioneer
of Indias freedom struggle as well as the equality and upliftment of
India as whole i.e. Dr Ambedkar. This has clearly proved that this
show is created by vested interests.from: Dr Param Anand
Posted on: Jul 9, 2012 at 12:22 IST
This column on untouchability is a clear example of failure of caste
based Reservations in our country.Reservations based on castes should be
ruled out because we can see rich and poor in every caste.Reservations
should be based on Economical backgrounds and government should fastrack
the awareness programmes.I can say government itself is indirectly
encouraging castes,untouchability etc to get benefited from vote bank
politics.from: Santosh Kuamr Kanala
Posted on: Jul 9, 2012 at 12:34 IST
Untouchability exists everywhere, even if it is United States :-)... but what is making the difference over there... its law. Law should be efficient enough to give the verdict in time and it should be amended to suit the modern society. Even now the penalty for a homicide is 5 lakh rupees. What can one do with that? Another factor is in efficient judiciary system. It is not helping the common people. Whether it is meagre or major verdict should come within stipulated time period. If this is not happening, then the number of courts should be increased. I will not blame any one or dependent on police or securities if I have a proper law coverage. Most of the caste system and all other criminal activities are mainly on the budding environment of lawlessness. Law should come foolproof, only then we can strive here, and make our country a super power. All other factors will vanish if we have a very good and efficient law delivery mechanism.from: Renjith
Posted on: Jul 9, 2012 at 12:58 IST
到处都有贱民，连美国也有 :-)... 是什么造就了这些区别之处...是法律。法律应该足够及时和有效的给出判决，应该修正以适应现代社会。杀一个人的罚款是50万卢比。这些钱能拿来干什么？另一因素是有效的司法体制。现行司法体制并没有帮助老百姓，不管是或大或小的判决，应该在规定时间里完成。如果办不到，那么应该增加法庭的数量。如果有合理的法律保护，那么我不会责怪任何人，或者不会依赖警察。种姓制度和其他犯罪活动主要是无法无天的环境下滋生的。法律应该是令人安全的。只有那时，我们才能努力让国家成为超级大国。如果我们有非常有效的法律实施机制，那么所有其他障碍会消失。
my heart aches. Its a shame it happens in our country sometimes right in front of us.. i am so shameful that i cant help them. I am so spineless..from: sampathkumar
Posted on: Jul 9, 2012 at 13:07 IST
stop going to toilet in the trains.
how do we "ordinary" citizens feel about stoping this ? we want somebody who has power to stop this. what else is the solution ? do our part. for a train travelor, the first sentence mentioned is the solution.
The same theory applies even to waste disposal. no proper system to do this. either solid or liquid waste.
we have "sub chalega" attitude.
The changes will eventually come. it is a matter of time..
Satyameva jayathe... but it never says how much time it takes for the truth to win..from: Joseph
Posted on: Jul 9, 2012 at 14:46 IST
Excellent, Wonderful. But I don't agree with Aamir Khan's statement or thinking that untouchability is the main factor for not becoming a super power. The main factor should also include RESERVATION. India MUST abolish this reservation immediately. It should provide financial support to all backward or weaker socities but not in the form of RESERVATION.from: Balu S
Posted on: Jul 9, 2012 at 15:48 IST