Untouchables : The Outcasts Of India

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Amanda Howery Mrs. Newell Eastern Civilizations/Geography 4 14 March 2016 Untouchables: The Outcasts of India Ever since the religion of Hinduism was founded in 2800 B.C., India has upheld a social caste system that later evolved in its order and strictness. The caste system began when Aryan newcomers arrived in India, bringing with them a discriminatory mindset of racial separation. From this, varna, the Sanskrit word for caste, was born. Varna, also meaning color, placed the lighter-skinned Aryans at the top of the social pyramid and darker-skinned indigenous Indians at the bottom. Later, the Untouchables, or Dalits, were added to the system as outcasts and were immediately treated with nothing but distaste and inhumanity. These…show more content…
These Dalits, besides existing, have done nothing wrong to other higher-caste Hindus yet are literally treated like dirt. Untouchable children are also mistreated at school: High drop-out and lower literacy rates among lower-caste populations have rather simplistically been characterized as the natural consequences of poverty and underdevelopment. Though these rates are partly attributable to the need for low-caste children to supplement their family wages through labor, more insidious and less well-documented is the discriminatory and abusive treatment faced by low-caste children who attempt to attend school, at the hands of their teachers and fellow students. (“CASTE DISCRIMINATION”) For the duration of many years, the Untouchables endured all of this barbaric treatment with few unsuccessful rebellions. However, it is false to say that the Untouchables received no help, because a hero finally came along. Mahatma Gandhi, an extremely influential figure for all of India, changed the lives of many Untouchables: “ . . . he christened the untouchables or outcasts Harijans or Sons of God. He welcomed them into his ashram [religious retreat and school] and found various ways of emphasizing their equality with others” (Hay 163). Despite that, Gandhi was only a hero to some degree and was not supported by all Untouchables: “However, Gandhi never officially rejected the caste system and is resented by

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