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Today in Labour History

20 September 1932
'Camp en route to the big city, 1998', photo Ravi Agarwal, from the IISH web exhibition Down and Out

'Untouchability a Leper Wound'

On this day, Mahatma Gandhi started his epic fast to protest against the planned segregation of the untouchables from the Hindus into a separate electoral group in view of the elections for the new Indian constitution. His fast took six days. Gandhi regarded the practice of untouch­ability as 'a leper wound in the whole-body of Hindu politic'. Under his inspiration, a new organization was founded to combat untouchability, Harijan Sevak Sangh with its weekly The Harijan. The objective of Harijan Sevak Sangh was 'eradication, by truthful and nonviolent means, of untouchability in Hindu society with all its incidental evils and disabilities suffered by the so-called untouchables.'

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