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Caste System of India – Anti-caste and untouchability movements

untouchability caste system

Untouchability and Caste system in India

India is having a hierarchical caste system based society not only among Hindus but also among other castes also. Earlier, the people in the lower hierarchies are not accessible to all the resources and are exploited by upper hierarchies as well, they were victims of untouchability practices.

Besides, there were untouchable castes also who were involved in menial jobs such as manual scavengers, Agricultural labourers, skinners of animal hides and so on. There was the concept of YAJMANI SYSTEM, that is little share of produce was given to the non-touchable people.

With time, Change came in the social behaviour of untouchable people due to factors like commercialisation of Agriculture, Emergence of contractual relations and increased employment in factories, Mandis, Army and so on.

Also read: The Caste System in India


In pre-Independence times, leaders like JYOTI RAO BAPULE started SATYA SHODAK SAMAJ and also written a book called GULAMGIRI creating awareness in the minds of untouchable people. There were also movements to make the lower caste people to enter the temples such as GURUVAYUR SATYAGRAHA.

Gandhiji also played his part in the anti-caste movements by integrating the issue of untouchability into the national movement. Concepts like ADI HINDU and NAMSHUDRAS began to evolve.

BABU JAGJEEVAN RAM, the prominent harijan leader started KHETH MAJDOOR SABHA and DEPRESSED CLASS LEAGUE to alleviate the problems of depressed classes. DR. B R AMBEDKAR, popular leader of depressed classes founded INDEPENDENT LABOUR PARTY in 1936 and ALL INDIA SCHEDULED CASTEFEDERATION in 1942. He also wrote a book called ANNIHILIATION OF CASTES against the caste system. Ambedkar tried to empower the depressed classes by providing them legal rights which we can found in the constitution.


  • In 1956, REPUBLICAN PARTY was formed to fight for the rights of DALITS (victims of untouchability) under the leadership of Y.V.CHAVAN .
  • In early 1970’s a new trend called DALIT PANTHERS was emerged in urban areas showing waves of radical politics with student and youth support base
  • In 1978, there was an agitation to rename MARATHWADA UNIVERSITY as AMBEDKAR UNIVERSITY which resulted in anti-dalit riots.
  • In 1990, PRAKASH AMBEDKAR tried to combine all the dalit organisations for contesting Maharashtra assembly elections but was not successful.
  • In 1980’s, in North India BAHUJAN SAMAJWADI PARTY (BSP) was emerged under KASHIRAM with basic aim and strategy based on electoral power that is to empower the depressed classes in political manner.
  • Non-Dalit parties and groups like AMBEDKAR SANGHAMS and agricultural unions also played important role in fighting about the issues of Dalits.
  • Conversion of Dalits and reservation facilities are the obvious improvements in the status of depressed classes.
  • Break down of YAJMANI system proved to be a major break-through.

Also Read: Constitutional Provisions for SC & ST

Still, it is a realty of our caste system that the upper caste people are not accepting lower caste people practising their traditions and performing their rituals. This is what Ambedkar opposed in his book ANNIHILIATION OF CASTES and he wanted a democratic social order based on liberty, equality and fraternity.


Hence, there is a need of critical examination in the context of present day caste system and its religious variations along with untouchability.


  1. wt his feelings about caste during his college life.
    now,wt the people of india thinking about casteism in india.
    acc. to,our indian constitution.
    acc. to,views ,feelings & hopes of every citizen in the country.


    • The way in which govt provided reservation to sc st and minority ….in selection procedure of govt jobs/colleges…etc-etc…may leading this country on back foot….bcz private sector taking deserved instead of that gvt taking researved one……hve u think this is going good?…is they dont have mind to thing…hands to work…legs to walk…eyes to see……needed ur ans???

      • Idiot there was no reservation for 2000 years yet the so called upper caste can’t defend our country from Britishers Mughals and Turks . Barking here will not do any good

      • For the greater good of the country, yes it has to go back in time or slow down and equal the socio economic condition of its people(irrespective of what class they belong to). One class of people cannot grow alone. And the development you talk about, I don’t think India deserves that till casteism is there, till casteists don’t realise what it feels to be discriminated

  3. we support reservation but not as a ” vote bank” … it should be given on the basis of social and economical condition….

  4. The people commenting here are “IAS Aspirants”..? I’m seriously having doubts.
    What good is having all the great education and even being an IAS….Absolute waste.
    And just a thought of all these narrow minded people in executive chairs, itself is very depressing.
    Who decided you are a Upper caste man and other is a lower one??
    What is the blood color of Upper caste man and how’s it different from the lower one??
    First the hearts, minds & thoughts of people are to be cleaned with HARPIC…
    Then we can talk about Removing caste system and Reservations..or
    what ever the f*** you’ll are whining about.
    Thank you and may God bless you with Good thoughts and your desired job 🙂

    • You are true buddy same blood
      Then why reservation .
      You know brother
      In todays world only reservation separate the society .
      Nd politicians are doing this seperation well 🙂 🙂

    • reservation is a need
      but on the income basis
      those people for those reservation was allowed are today missusing it
      i can give u a 100 plus examples for this
      nd sc and obc which are actually needy still don’t accessing it bcz of the lack of knowledge illiteracy etc
      they are same as the were in 1947
      nd those who enjying reservation
      its become heridatory

    • Buddy being emotional think practically or else if u r saying that these greatly educated people don’t have hearts than why such a person like you used such harsh words for other people..reservation should be implemented in a right manner n should be given to those who really needs it. There are some people who are availing these resources against their false income certificates or false caste certificate. If u have any solution for this problem than only u speak against removing caste system.

    • Wellsaid.. I would say the same. They are IAS aspirants, instead of thinking about reforms, they are talking about caste,reservation. surely they narrow minded.

  5. Yajmani system is not exactly what you described above …yajmani system is total reciprocal of the above mentioned …yajmani system is to reserve a fix amount of grains and services for brahamans in form of giving “DAKSHINA”

  6. Yes we shd remove reservation and shd start with removal of bramhin from temple its an also form of reservation.

    • Hw it be reservation…..brahmin got this place by following their ritual if u r able to do their ritual 4 praying god dedicatedly with shloks mantras u r invited…….but on other hand if we talk about caste reservation….is they dont have brain to think..hands to work….why this so is during selection produre for entrance exam…….is lower caste people are very much aware that they will never compete with sawarna’s …..

      • Okay that means upper class have an extra +1300 CC mind… Haan? Have you seen the movie ” aarakshan”? There is a dialogue ” mukaabla to hum bhi kar lenge bas shart itni hai starting line (circumstances) ek honi chahiye”.. In india about 93% dalits are still below poverty line and they can’t even have their two times meal in a day and you are saying they should compete with normal person wow! You can’t even think in what circumstances they are struggling to get educate… And this is data after 60 years of independence.. Shame for India!! N your selfish thought..

  7. 1. There’s a mistake , Satyashodhak samaj was founded by Jyotiba PHULE ( u mentioned Bapule).
    2. As far as casteism is concerned, after independence , when the independent India came into existance , the then policy makers could have changed the whole scenario , even Dr.Ambedkar had suggested to do so but Gandhi opposed it by supporting “Chaturvarna” ( which was totally modified after Gupta period ) .
    3. Today ,the reservations solely based on caste basis is intoxicating our youth resulting in brain drain and injustice to the talent . The system must be based on socio-economic criteria . The vote bank politics led the politicians into ‘Chakravyuha’ without any exit .
    Henceforth , it is not the time to put blame on anyone or the situation , besides we must re-evaluate the the main purpose behind the initiation of reservation system in our nation ,its results and policies that has to be adopted to improve the system .

  8. The india is underdeveloped due to this sysytem as the talent do not get chance to be a doctor or an engineer.the system must be abolished and it should be on income basis.Otherwise a time will come when patients will have to ask the doctor’s category and then go for a surgery.

    • Don’t only comment friend
      Gather peaoples Wake up and prepare for a revolution against this reservation system
      Nd do as much as you can
      The people of our nation is very innocent
      They only need a provoke , they are waiting for only. A leader
      I wish you could be the leader

    • Your so called talent didn’t able to defend India we became slaves for over 1000 years there is nothing u can do if u do anti reservation rally we will do reservation support rally and through u out of these country . You so called meritorious aryan race idiot

  9. Main problem caste system not reservation….. End of caste system then reservation automatically end ..

    • yes ur right end up the caste system ,then no need of reservation , give opportunities to lower ones to rise so that they can stand in the society, i igree with it . But is it possible ? Will the higher class people accept the lower class,
      Now a days condition is if u left upper class people free to say then result is they dont count them in humanbieng also,(at present tym)

      But i agree with this well said “remove caste system no need of reservation”
      There will be equality in all secters for all.

  10. That time upper caste have all rights and at the present it is just opposite
    this is like a revenge against upper caste people

  11. In today world
    Only one thing that separates lower and uper caste is reservation .
    There is nothing like untouchability except reservation which seperates society ( I.e say lower caste and upper caste)
    One more thing there is untouchability for politician who use this for there vote bank . Thanks to politicians who are dividing our society and rulling the nation.

    • Ha barking here will do u no good lets see what your Modi will do because he cannot scrap reservation as he is obc himself

  12. i think as many people have given off their LPG subsidy, the reserved people also need to think and realize and give off their reservation status. only then we will be able to fight reservation, coz we have equal majority of reservations which we cannot fight until n unless they themselves realize

    • Why ask the lower class to give up reservation? Why cannot the so called “Upper Caste” give up the high status they receive and view everyone equally? And don’t even say that Upper Caste doesn’t discriminate anymore, because discrimination is very much present especially in Haryana and UP.

  13. First we should improve the way in which we behave with lower caste.
    Then come to remove reservation.

  14. Caste system is to be removed..and rest all will go well automatically..bcz it is the main cause of the conflict then, now and in future also..

  15. You all r having these views against reservation system Bcz u haven’t visited the real India… India is not about where u nd I live…we r preparing for civil services so most of us r having access to each nd every resource.. But go nd see villages which is real India… Am sorry to say the situations are same as they were a century ago… Today also low caste people r being treated like dat only…nd doing reservation is just a one step to make them at par… Bt again question arises… If they r not provided basic quality education nd resources wats d use of dis reservation…. I hope u all understand

  16. Every body is fighting for reservation which provides jobs for 1 – 2% of the population. But nobody is fighting for the discrimination and alienation taking place in Indian caste system. Which is effecting 90%of the India population. Crazy people

  17. If our sysyem want to remove reservation then first of all in india every person in india should be able to provide a same condition and same enviornment like high cast i means when every people is same in wealth then no person need for reservation then last we finally remove a reservation and cast system . Otherwise if u think that the cast system remove and reservation removed is best to improve the indian confition population no its not possible.

  18. wait wait…most of you guys are talking abt reservation..means those who dnt hve reservation want to change our focus from the casteism…i jst want to suggest them tht jst hve a look at the situations n circumstances under which the reservation is provided…u guys are getting everything without any problem but the DALITS hve a lot of prblms to achieve wht they want…thts y the reservation is provided…now dnt think tht they are not competent to achieve the great things, its jst bcoz of the situations created by the so called upper castes…n yessss every dalit has eyes to see, hands to work, legs to walk but he cant use them bcoz he is bounded by caste…jst think abt it n yes we need respect equality equity not reservation…a lot of things to say bt smtimes words are not enough to speak out feelings….

  19. जब तक समाज जाती पाती के दलदल में फांसा है तब तक आरक्षण कैसे खत्म हो सकता है।

  20. जब तक समाज जाती पाती के दलदल में फांसा है तब तक आरक्षण कैसे खत्म हो सकता है।

  21. There are many suggestions regarding removing caste system and that’s fine but put it this way,if casteism is to be eradicated it cannot be done by some law formulation or policy making but only by erasing from the minds of the people and it’s impossible to reach consensus in a second largely populated country like ours. Each and every human in India is in someway attached to some sort of caste oriented feeling from womb to tomb. So the optimised resort could be introducing a creamy layer as in case of OBC issue.I guess it would really bring a justice to the ‘ real’ beneficiaries of reservations.

  22. the day when there will be no cast, then there will be no reservations..

    reservation is not for poor people,
    but for those wo are socially denied or treated low, or those who are treated like crap. but they all are humain.

    those who say india is not developing, i would like to say go and have research about indian economy growth. it is the fastest growing economy.

    those who are against reservation, if they also become pm, will totally support reservation.

    and reservation is not going to be removed till we are alive, atleast for 100 years. so better focous on your studies, work, and live your life happily..

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