Message to the Members of the Interim Government (1946)



Members of the interim government outside the Council Room in the Viceroy’s House, New Delhi, shortly before their swearing-in ceremony. From left to right: Sarat Chandra Bose, Jagjivan Ram, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Asaf Ali, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Syed Ali Zaheer.

Source : Wikipedia

Since after the prayer I have been thinking only about you people.

Abolish salt tax, remember Dandi March,

bring together Hindus and Muslims,

remove untouchability,

adopt khadi.

September 2, 1946

The addressees had gone to seek Gandhiji’s blessings before they went to the Viceroy’s House for the swearing-in ceremony. It being Gandhiji’s Silence Day he wrote this note


Tuesday, the 29th April, 1947 – The Constituent Assembly of India


6. “Untouchability” in any form is abolished and the imposition of any disability on that account shall be an offence.


Constituent Assembly Debate On 29 November, 1948

Dr. Monomohon Das (West Bengal: General): I think, Sir, that today the 29th November 1948 is a great and memorable day for us the untouchables. This day will go down in history as the day of deliverance, as the day of resurrection of the 5 crores of Indian people who live in the length and breadth of this country. Standing on the threshold of this new era, at least for us, the untouchables, I hear distinctly the words of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of our nation, words that came out from an agonized heart, full of love and full of sympathy for these down-trodden masses. Gandhiji said: “I donot want to be reborn, but if I am reborn, I wish that I should be born as a Harijan, as an untouchable, so that I may lead a continuous struggle, a life-long struggle against the oppressions and indignities that have been heaped upon these classes of people.” The word Swaraj will be meaningless to us if one-fifth of India’s population is kept under perpetual subjugation. Mahatma Gandhi is no more among us in the land of the living. Had he been alive today, no mortal on earth would be more pleased, more happy, more satisfied than him………………………………..

Mr. Vice-President: I now put amendment No. 372 to vote.

The question is:

“That for article 11, the following article be substituted:–

“11. No one shall on account of his religion or caste be treated or regarded as an `untouchable’; and its observance in any form may be made punishable by law.'”

The amendment was negatived.

Mr. Vice-President: I now put article No. 11.

The question is:

“That article 11 stand part of the Constitution.”

The motion was adopted.

Article 11 was added to the Constitution.
Honorable Members: “Mahatma Gandhi ki Jai“.

Source : Indiankanoon

Article 17 in The Constitution Of India 1949

Abolition of Untouchability :: Untouchability is abolished and its practice in any form is forbidden The enforcement of any disability arising out of Untouchability shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law

Source : Indiankanoon


November 11, 1932

Rajbhoj :: Do you feel the necessity of incorporating the question of removal of untouchability as one of the Fundamental Rights in the new constitution of India? That is to say, will it be proper to consider it a criminal offence if any Hindu is treated as an untouchable at any public place and, further, will it be proper to punish him under a law for wounding his religious susceptibilities? If time comes, will the Indian National Congress be prepared and try to embody this principle in the constitution ?

Gandhiji : Removal of untouchability should undoubtedly be one of the Fundamental Rights in the new constitution of India. Yes. It should be considered a criminal offence to treat any Hindu as an untouchable. The Congress will certainly be prepared to embody this principle in the constitution.

They should see that violence is not resorted to in furtherance of their objects. I don’t think that the untouchables only are supposed to do the work of sweepers, of carrying carcases, mending shoes, etc. Cases of ill-treatment because of the so-called untouchables refusing to do any work of this sort should be referred to the local agent of the League.


4 thoughts on “Message to the Members of the Interim Government (1946)

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