17 June, 2021

Ethical Cleansing Of India

Since Ambedkar’s revolutionary legislations, a series of laws has forced caste society to face up to its own tacit comfort with slavery

Illustration by Saahil
Ethical Cleansing Of India

Two years after Dr B.R. Ambedkar was nominated to the Bombay Legislative Council by the British in December 1926, he moved an amendment bill, in April 1928, to free two million untouchable Mahars from the scourge of compulsory and forced labour. This bill was the precursor to all legislations to come in the next 88 years, seeking to free the untouchable communities from performing unclean manual scavenging, removal of carcasses and forced labour without any remuneration from the villages and landlords. Before quitting his post in the Viceroy’s Executive Council as Labour Member in June 1946, Ambedkar brought in the unthinkable into the feudal and servitudinal Indian social fabric. He introduced India’s first ever minimum wages law in the Central Legislative Assembly on April 11, 1946.

This was a revolution of sorts against the feudal set-up, which thrived on the slavery of unto­uchable castes who were orda­ined by religious belief to per­form menial jobs, such as scavenging human excreta, rem­oval of animal carcasses, burial of dead humans and...

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