The Untouchables of India have been facing henious caste discriminative crimes, in direct and indirect modes against them over centuries together. The caste as a system of survival has adopted to dynamic tendencies for its continued persistence. The adoption of Constitution in 1950 is a turning point in the Indian history; as it adhered and envisaged eagalitarian principles. The Constitution of India recognised and envisaged protective discriminative policies for the upliftment of various historically under-privilaged communities. One such recognised community section under protective-discrimination is ex-untouchable / Scheduled Caste (SC) category. The Indian democratic polity based on the Constitution of India of 1950 undertook various measures towards SC’s; in pursuit of following and adhering to the policy of protective discriminative measures. One such notable and noteworthy measure was banning of the word ‘Harijan’ in public usage.
M K Gandhi, one of the towering personalities in the Indian freedom struggle for independence has voiced his concern for the upliftment of untouchables and coined the word ‘Harijan’, as a better referral word for Untouchables. But, the march of the Indian democratic polity failed to adhere to many of the Gandhian principles; though attempted to project him as a preacher of ‘non-vilence & Satyagraha’ on a louder tone, internally in India and globally on International forums.
Recently, I visited a village called ‘Mudunuru’, near Vuyyur in the Krishna District of Andhra Pradesh. To my utter surprise I found usage of the word ‘Harijan’ in two prominent instances at this Mudunuru village. One of the usage of this word was by the Government of Andhra Pradesh Officials on the occasion of a SC Community Building opening;
Please observe this above photo carefully and see the usage of the word ‘Harijan’ in Telugu in the initial stage itself.
Another incident in which I found the usage of the word ‘Harijan’ was by SC’s themselves. At the village center a big flex banner was erected by a sub-section of the SC’s, on the occasion of Dr B R Ambedkar’s Birth anniversary celebrations of April, 2017. On the erected banner it was prominently mentioned that the banner was erected by the ‘East-Harijan’ colony section. Unfortunately, I was unable to capture a photo of this banner, though had a wish!! And, I also found that the East-Harijan’ referes to SC-Mala Community in the village.
This incident at Mudunuru village in relation to the use of the word ‘Harijan’ testifies that the Indian democratic polity aspirations are not fully met with; both by the Government of Andhra Pradesh Officials and by SC’s themselves!! Even the SC’s at this village are unable to recognise the glories egalitarian sense in banning of the word ‘Harijan’. At another level this case observation at this village testifies that both the both the Government of Andhra Pradesh Officials & SC’s themselves are yet to imbibe the spirit behind banning of the word’Harijan’.