A Mahar regiment has been raised, officered by Mahomedans from the north, as no Hindu would think of serving with "untouchables," and though Hindu sepoys must not be brought into proximity with it, it has always behaved very creditably.
Further infiltration of Dravidian blood was thus prevented, but Aryan race-purity had been destroyed. Nair, previously quoted, and S. Nihal Singh, "India's Untouchables," Contemporary Review, March, 1913. For the nationalist movement, see Archer, Chirol, and Morrison, supra. Regarding the Indian native princes, see Archer and Chirol, supra.
We make it a point to clean their latrines and their mud-thatched huts. The villagers are illiterate; they cannot be educated except by example!" She laughed gaily. I looked in admiration at this highborn Englishwoman whose true Christian humility enables her to do the scavengering work usually performed only by "untouchables." "I came to India in 1925," she told me.
"These," said the pastor, "are the children of a people which for a thousand years has not known how to read or write. Yet see how they learn." "Yes," the superintendent agreed, "but that isn't the best of it, as you know. They are untouchables now, but even caste, which is stronger than death, yields to education. Once these boys and girls have an education they cannot be ignored or kept down.
The Namasudra points out what might happen by citing the Brahminic pressure which occurs even in such political activity as already exists. For example: in many elections the Brahmins have terrorized low-caste voters by threatening to "out-caste" all who should not vote the Brahmin ticket, thus making them "Pariahs" untouchables, with no rights in Hindu society.
These the "untouchables" had to lay on the ground at the feet of the Brahman subordinate, who would have been defiled had he taken them straight out of their hands, and only after they had withdrawn a few paces did he condescend to pick up the books and verify them before passing them on to his British superior.
One of the best results of British governance and of Western education has been to stimulate even amongst the "untouchables" a new sense of self-respect and self-reliance and a wholesome desire to emerge from the degradation to which the custom of centuries has condemned them.
The untouchables have found in him their fearless and triumphant champion. "If there be a rebirth in store for me," Gandhi wrote, "I wish to be born a pariah in the midst of pariahs, because thereby I would be able to render them more effective service." The Mahatma is indeed a "great soul," but it was illiterate millions who had the discernment to bestow the title.
If they rise to the occasion, deal with the Brahmans more fairly than the latter dealt with them, and, remembering the struggle they have had for their own emancipation, help the "untouchables" to rise in their turn out of the state of degradation to which centuries of Brahman domination have condemned them, the reforms may prove to have been perhaps as important a landmark in the moral regeneration of Hindu society as in the development of the Indian body politic.
This wholesale "out-casting" of everything British would make the English in India a new sort of Pariah "untouchables"; the British Government and the British community in India would be left in absolute isolation, and the Raj, rendered unworkable, would have to capitulate to the extremist demands for complete self-government. Such was the non-co-operation idea.