Gandhi Journal Article-II ( JUNE 2017 )
Gandhi, Ambedkar, and the Eradication of Untouchability
By Sudarshan Kapur
Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948) and Bhimjirao Ambedkar (1891-1956) are among the major makers of modern India. Their public careers began early Gandhi's in South Africa in the mid-1890s and Ambedkar's in western India in the early 1920s. They built on the work of nineteenth century and early twentieth century religious and social reformers such as Ram Mohun Roy (1772-1833), Mahadev Govind Ranade (1842-1901), Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902), Gopal Krishna Gokhale (1866-1915), Swami Dayananda (1824-1883), and Jotiba Phule (1827-1890). Each fought with rare persistence and exceptional vigor to rid India of oppression from within and without. Once they entered the public arena, there was no turning back for either of them. They maintained the momentum in their struggles for justice and equality until the very end of their lives. Gandhi and Ambedkar offered specific goals for and pathways to the creation of a just social order in India. They differed over objectives as well as the methods for achieving their ends. In their long public careers, both of them addressed a number of crucial social and political issues. How best to remove untouchability was a major issue over which the two had fundamental differences from late 1920s onward.
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