Emancipation of the Depressed class
Liberal Discourse of Emancipation
- The use of ‘liberty’ to describe the physical ‘ability to do what I want’, the power to satisfy our wishes, or the extent of the choice of alternatives open to us has been deliberately fostered as part of the socialist argument.
- Once this identification of freedom with power is admitted, there is no limit to the sophisms by which the attractions of the word ‘liberty’ can be used to support measures which destroy individual liberty, no end to the tricks by which people can be exhorted in the name of liberty to give up their liberty.
- It has been with the help of this equivocation that the notion of collective power over circumstances has been substituted for that ofindividual liberty and that in totalitarian states liberty has been suppressed in the name of liberty.
- Hayek also famously noted that “liberty” and “freedom” have probably been the most abused words in recent history
Reform Movements and Emancipation
- Social reform as a movement m India commenced early in the nineteenth century under the aegis of the British rule.
- With the British conquest, India was overwhelmed by an alien civilization far advanced in material sciences as well as in political and economic thought.
- The new ideas and new ways of life that the British brought with them stirred the Indian society to its depths and created an intellectual ferment in the minds of the thinking people.
- English education introduced by the British rulers brought about a great change m social and religious outlook of the people.
- It gave the ideas of individual freedom, human rights, equality, rationalism, secularism and democracy. It instilled in the minds of the educated persons a spirit of enquiry into the basis of their social system. They began to challenge current beliefs, customs, and social practices. These individuals were the pioneers of social reform movement m India.
Jotiba Govindrao Phule (1827 -1890)
- The Greatest Shudra of Modem India, who made the lower classes of Hindus conscious of their slavery to the higher classes and who preached the gospel that for India social democracy was more vital than independence from foreign rule.
- It was Phule, who first pronounced the anti-Brahman affection m Maharashtra, with his book Ghulamgin (1872), and his organization, the Satyashodak Samaj (1873) emphasizing the need to save the “lower classes from the hypocritical Brahmans and their opportunistic scriptures.
Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (1891 -1956)
- Dr Ambedkar has been the predominant character in the Dalit movement was a member of class of the untouchables, within the Mahar community or caste Even though being born in an illiterate community, he managed to complete his education of law in United States and United Kingdom; moreover he earned degrees from Columbia and London Universities.
- He returned India back in 1923 because he received an advanced and modem education, he was an open-minded leader and had a wide vision. He was after fresh and up to date view patterns rather than the traditional ones.
- He sought equal rights for every citizen of India and he was unpleasant with discriminative nature of conventional Hindu social structure
- Dr Ambedkar also organized protests against the caste and gender discrimination that put untouchables and women off countless rights and led women “numerous incidents of abuse, rape and kidnapping by police and outsiders.”
- Ambedkar helped adopting a western style of societal relations in the constitution, for all citizens, and the Article 15 banned any kind of discrimination among citizens, besides the Article 17 abolishing specifically the practice of the untouchability in any form Actually, as far as Hinduism is based on a distinction and classification of people, then m a sense this article disallows practice of Hinduism.
- In regard of recovering the equality principle a number of other articles were inserted m the constitution.
- They mention the standard of preserving injustice by caring economic and educational interests of the weaker m addition to providing reserved seats for Scheduled Castes and Tribes in the House of the People for ten years and this term was extended for several times. Numerous articles were formulated to support those pieces
Gandhi’s Harijans (1869 -1948),
- As far as their standpoints towards the untouchability problem of India were distinct, Mahatma Gandhi and Dr Ambedkar were political rivals Actually, Gandhiji was concerned with the idea of freeing India from the British dominion and ignored the untouchables, but paid effort only to silence them.
- He was neither willing to demolish the traditional Hindu social order nor bestow the depressed classes separate representation in the Congress On the other side, Dr. Ambedkar was the voice of the untouchables in the Indian political scene Ambedkar expressed the wishes of the untouchables that can be concisely listed as basic Human Rights and political representation.
- One of the principles of Mahatma Gandhi was sarva dharma samabhava meaning equality of all religions.
- Even though the depressed classes were deprived of the right to worship, they were considered as Hindus, so they were not benefiting from this understanding of Great Soul.
- In the eyes of Gandhiji, the untouchables were factionists, who were breaking the unity among Hindus.
Justice Ranade (1842-1901)
- Who provided ideological basis for the social reform movement.
- Ranade’s vision of social reform was so sweeping as to cover all aspects of human progress. He advocated reform in all aspects.
- He said, “we want to work on no single line, but to work on all lines”.
- Ranade adopted a realistic approach towards social reform.
- He supplemented with religious texts and western knowledge his critical arguments, which were legally grounded.
- Ranade kept himself in personal touch with all kinds of reform movements in different provinces of India.
- According to him the work of social reform was the work of liberation.
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