From the Archives: ‘Banish untouchability from hearts’, appeals Mahatma Gandhi
An earnest plea for the removal of untouchability was made by Mahatma Gandhi speaking during evening prayers.
An earnest plea for the removal of untouchability was made by Mahatma Gandhi speaking during evening prayers today. He said that there would be no public prayer tomorrow. His stay in Bombay had been much longer than he had imagined. In all things it was the will of God that reigned supreme.
Mahatma Gandhi said that though they (the congregation) had all taken the trouble of attending the prayers and had contributed to the Harijan Fund, complaints had come to him that they had not banished untouchability from their heart. Some Harijan friends of Bombay had come to see him two days ago.
They complained that although he had written and spoken against untouchability all these years and had even undergone a fast for it, yet in the City of Bombay they (Harijans) could not find quarters in respectable localities. They did not differ in their appearance, or in their general mode of life from caste Hindus; if they had not disclosed that they were Harijans, they could have obtained housing accommodation here without difficulty.
Their account, Mahatma Gandhi said, had made him hang his head in shame. He had said times without number that unless untouchability was eradicated root and branch, Hinduism would perish.
He warned the congregation that unless they woke up from their torpor, when all religions were weighed in the balance, Hinduism would come out last because of the sin of untouchability.
Concluding, Mahatma Gandhi drew their attention to what he had said about communal unity two days ago. If they followed his advice, light would soon pierce through the dark clouds that were overcasting the sky today.
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