The caste system was another major target of attack for the social reform movement. The Hindus were at this time divided into numerous castes. The untouchables suffered from numerous and severe disabilities and restrictions. He could not enter the Hindu temples or study the shastras. In some parts of the country, particularly in the south, their very shadow was to be avoided. An untouchable’s dress, food, place of residence, all were carefully regulated. He could not draw water from wells and tanks used by the higher castes; he could do so only from wells and tanks specially reserved for untouchables.
In modern India, it became a major obstacle to the growth of a united-nation-feeling and the spread of democracy. However, the British rule had many elements which gradually undermined the caste system.
The urbanisation and the introduction of modem industries, railways and buses made it difficult to prevent mass contact among persons of different castes, especially in the cities. Modem commerce and industry opened new fields of economic activity to all.
The growth of the national movement too played a significant role in weakening the caste system. Leaders like Gandhi kept the abolition of untouchability at the forefront of all public activities.
In 1932, Gandhiji founded the All India Harijan Sangh for the purpose. His campaign for the “root and branch removal of untouchability” was based on the grounds of humanism and reason.UKPCS Notes brings Prelims and Mains programs for UKPCS Prelims and UKPCS Mains Exam preparation. Various Programs initiated by UKPCS Notes are as follows:-
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