Gandhi’s Harijans: The Misunderstood Sect

By Anmol Kaur Bawa, Symbiosis Law College, Pune.


The term “harijan” is not Gandhi’s coinage. The name was suggested by several untouchable correspondents who contended the usage of the word “asprishya” meaning literally “untouchable” in the pages of “Navjivan”.  Harijan means “man of god”. All the religions of the world describe God pre-eminently as the friend of the friendless, help of the helpless and protector of the weak; hence the word aptly demystifies the condition of the untouchables in India as the most helpless, weak and friendless men in the society and according to Gandhi, they belong to the community of untouchables. (more…)

Where is the Honour in Honour Killings?

By Maithili Parikh, Government Law College, Mumbai.

Since time immemorial, the two most influential institutions of the Indian society, namely, traditions and customs, and law have been at loggerheads with each other. Several of the traditionally deep-rooted Indian customs have come under the scrutiny of human rights law and constitutional law, be it sati or the caste practice of untouchability. In this conflict, the practice of honour killings has often garnered much prominence. The term honor killing, a misnomer to say the least, encompasses a wide variety of violence perpetrated by the family of the victim in order to interfere with her (or his) choice of marriage or with an aim of punishing the victim for the dishonor, the perpetrated believes the victim has brought on the family, clan or cultural group. (more…)