Did untouchability and caste system arise during the rule of Mughals and British? Read Fact-Check
Many issues like untouchability and casteism exist in the Indian social system. The discrimination among humans on the basis of birth is given preference over the other. Even in the language and dialect, this is clearly visible. It is being claimed by users on social media sites that untouchability and the caste system originated in the rules of Mughals and British times.
A page on Facebook with the name of “ऐतिहासिक तथ्य” has written a lengthy post of 700 words. They claimed in this post, “Since the Mughal era, the filth arrived in the country and things like purdah system, slave system, child marriage started. From 1800-1947 there was British rule and from there casteism started. Which they did under the policy of divide and rule.”
This post has been liked by more than 53 thousand people, shared by 33 thousand users and have more than 6.6 thousand comments.
To investigate this claim of untouchability and whether the caste system originated during the reign of Mughals and British, we did a simple search on the internet with the help of certain keywords. We got many articles from different sources. An article published on the website yourarticlelibrary.com states that the origins of untouchability can be traced back to the time when the Aryans invaded India around 1500 BCE. They considered indigenous people to be culturally and racially inferior. While some indigenous people fled to the forests, the rest were subjugated and incorporated into the Arya Samaj as lower castes.
On the other hand, after doing a simple search by writing the word untouchability on Google, we found that the Wikipedia page of untouchability quoted Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, Writings and Speeches, Volume 7 as saying that the origin of untouchability and its historicity are still debated. BR Ambedkar believed that untouchability has existed since at least 400 AD.
Babasaheb Ambedkar himself was a victim of the oppression of untouchability and caste system. He has written in the ‘Abolition of caste system’ that if any Hindu was coming on the road under the Peshwa rule in the Maratha state, then an untouchable was not allowed to walk on that road because that Hindu would be impure by his shadow. It was necessary for the untouchable to tie a black thread around his wrist or neck as a token, so that the Hindu would avoid becoming impure by accidentally touching him. In Poona, the capital of the Peshwas, it was necessary for an untouchable to walk with a broom around his waist, so that the dust behind him would be cleaned by his walk and lest any Hindu walking on that path should become impure by it.
In Poona it was necessary for the untouchables to carry an earthen pot hanging around their neck to spit on. If incase any Hindu pass by that spit and become impure. (Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, Writings and Speeches, Volume 1, pages 45-46)
The Hindu Varna system is openly mentioned in the Manusmriti, according to which Brahmins are first and then Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras. Shudras are untouchables.
In a report published by the BBC, historian Narhar Kurundkar has been quoted as saying that – “The creation of this (Manusmriti) book began two-three hundred years before the birth of Christ. The first chapter covers the creation of nature, four eras, four Varnas, their professions, greatness of brahmins.”
It is clear from this fact check of DFRAC that the claim made on the Facebook page of “ऐतिहासिक तथ्य” that untouchability and caste system originated during the rule of Mughals and British is baseless, misleading and false because untouchability and caste system were present in India for thousands of years even before the times of Mughals and Britishers.
Claim: Untouchability and caste system originated during the rule of Mughals and British
Claimed by: ऐतिहासिक तथ्य on Facebook
Fact Check: Misleading and Fake