“Our struggle does not end so long as there is a single human being considered untouchable by his birth.”
–Gandhi (Mahatma, Vol. 3, p.239)
If anyone still thought that Gandhi was only a strategist wanting political freedom from the British, these words of the Mahatma should put that idea to rest. Hi didn’t say ‘our struggle ends when the majority gets what they want.’ No; “so long as there is one single human being considered untouchable by birth,” the struggle would continue. All human beings are human beings, endowed with nobility, with innate dignity, and entitled to basic human rights. As long as these are denied, nonviolence still has work to do.
Remember that night that he was thrown off of the train in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, and sat on the platform fuming: he got up the next day, a man resolved to confront the entire colonial system head-on. It was not to redress what happened to him. That he could have done easily enough; he could have sued the railway company and been done with it. But no. He wanted to address the conditions that created inequality itself. He wanted to expose and transform dehumanization, the desensitization to life. And he invites us to join him in this great experiment in conscious evolution – that as he says is still going on.
Experiment in nonviolence:
Explain in your own words why Gandhi felt that no human being, wherever they live or in whatever religion, should be considered “untouchable.”