Untouchability is the worst feature of the Hindu caste system. It is an attitude of the people which is prompted by the spirit of social aggression. The Hindu caste system, still remains a major element in Indian caste system, and is considered as one of the strongest racist phenomenon in the world.
Untouchability can be seen in every sphere of life and is practiced in different forms. At the rural level they are forbidden to enter the temple, barred from using the water that all other villagers use. In urban areas, they are paid less at jobs and are very rarely promoted. Even this kind of discrimination can be seen at the school levels.
In 1950, national constitution of India
has legally abolished the practice of untouchability and its practice in any form. After five years the Untouchability (Offences) Act, 1955 was enacted by the Parliament. Soon after the act came into force, the people showed dissatisfaction towards the act, as it failed to serve the purpose. So, the Government of India, appointed a Committee in April 1965 under the Chairmanship of Shri Ilaya Perumal to study problems of Untouchability.
According to the statistics collected by the India's National Crime Records Bureau indicates that two Dalits are assaulted every hour, three Dalit women are raped every day, two Dalits are killed and two Dalit homes are set to fire every day. This is the reality of crime which is committed on untouchables in India.
Our great leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi
and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar fought against this issue of untouchability. On November 7, 1933, Gandhi made a country wide tour for 9 months to break down the barriers which divided the untouchables from rest of the society. And Ambedkar, who himself was a untouchable, tried to spread education to these backward classes to improve the socio-economic conditions. Both the leaders tried in their own ways to abolish untouchability from India.
Finally, untouchability cannot be removed, unless the caste system is destroyed. But this caste system cannot be destroyed in isolation because it is an integral aspect of the Indian production system. So, we need an approach which can destroy both the class and caste barriers from the society.