INDIA: Advance

" 'Untouchability' is abolished and its practice in any form is forbidden," the Indian constitution promised in November 1949. But through much of Nehru's emergent country, the 50-million Hindu untouchables continued to live their menial lives, scorned and ignored by caste-conscious Hindus. Last week Nehru introduced, and the lower House of the People quickly passed, India's first bill to make discrimination against untouchables an offense—punishable with a six-month jail term and a fine of 500 rupees ($105). Henceforth, untouchables will have the law on their side in demanding undisturbed access to shops and restaurants, public wells, tanks and bathing ghats.


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