Sri Aurobindo on the treatment of outcastes


Apart from all phenomena of decline or deterioration,
we should recognise without any sophistical denial
those things in our creeds of life and social institutions which are
in themselves mistaken and some of them indefensible, things
weakening to our national life, degrading to our civilisation,
dishonouring to our culture. A flagrant example can be found
in the treatment of our outcastes. There are those who would
excuse it as an unavoidable error in the circumstances of the
past; there are others who contend that it was the best possible
solution then available. There are still others who would justify
90 “Is India Civilised?”
it and, with whatever modifications, prolong it as necessary to
our social synthesis. The contention is highly disputable. The
excuse was there, but it is no justification for continuance. A
solution which condemns by segregation one sixth of the nation
to permanent ignominy, continued filth, uncleanliness of
the inner and outer life and a brutal animal existence instead
of lifting them out of it is no solution but rather an acceptance
of weakness and a constant wound to the social body and to
its collective spiritual, intellectual, moral and material welfare.
A social synthesis which can only live by making a permanent
rule of the degradation of our fellowmen and countrymen stands
condemned and foredoomed to decay and disturbance. The evil
effects may be kept under for a long time and work only by
the subtler unobserved action of the law of Karma; but once
the light of Truth is let in on these dark spots, to perpetuate
them is to maintain a seed of disruption and ruin our chances of
eventual survival.



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