On the question of inter-caste marriage, Rajaji shared liberal reformist ideas with Patel and Prasad. He encouraged and arranged not only inter-caste marriage but also supported widow remarriage. As early as in 1910, Rajaji arranged a Saivaite and Vaisnavite match causing local uproar and opposition, since the bride was also a widow.” However, Rajaji had no faith in a two anna, two minute court marriage and felt that religious form brought ‘strength and durability in the marriage.”
Although regarded as a conservative leader by the Left, Rajaji with his moorings rooted in indigenous education and culture coupled with his subsequent exposures to Western education was much ahead of his time and adopted more revolutionary approach to various social issues than many of the Left leaders of the Congress. Rajaji believed that caste need not govern marriage.
My confirmed belief is that women as well as men must be free to marry whosoever they like…. I am not proposing that boys and girls may run away with each other. I only say that in marriages the choice of the young people should prevail…. We can be partners without distinction of caste, friends without distinction of castes and … marriage too need not be bound down by rules of caste.”
This statement of Rajaji disproved the allegations of the Left and reaffirmed the view of Rajendra Prasad that most of the so-called ‘conservatives were more progressive in their thinking than the so-called progressives’. About the Devadasi system, Rajaji said: “I detest the practice of attaching woman servants to temples pledged to celibacy, who have become by accepted practice prostitutes.”
Page 61 : Patel,Prasad and Rajaji: Myth of the Indian Right By NeeraSingh
C.R. gave his view that caste need not govern marriage:
My confirmed belief is that women as well as men must be free to marry whomsoever they like… I am not proposing that boys and girls may run away with each other. I only say that in marriages the choice of the young people should prevail…we can be partners without distinction of caste, friends without distinctions of caste, and … marriage too need not to bound down by rules of caste.
Inter-dining was not wrong: – I can cat whatever is cooked or touched by anybody…alongside of anybody and in the presence of anybody…There are these sweepers here. If you allow them to touch and mix with you there is hope of improvement in their manners and habits, but if you always exclude them there is no hope of it. Not talk but work was needed, including “dirty” work.
All should learn scavenging. He hoped for the day when the scavenger [is] able to do the work and have a bath and change of clothes. drive in a carriage and have a nice meal.”
Page 227 : The Rajaji Story I A Warrior From The South, Rajmohan Gandhi
And he prepared a prohibition manual for Congress and a drama on drink, censured a temple that had leased its trees for tapping toddy, attacked the devadasi custom (“I detest the practice of attaching woman servants to temples, pledged to, celibacy, who have become by accepted practice prostitutes”), and shot arrows at untouchability.
In June 1931 he joined in a demand that “at least … all streets, places of worship and sources of drinking water’ be opened to ‘the so-called untouchable castes.” And in December he went to Guruvayur in the Malayalam country to assist a non-violent bid to open for all the doors of its famed temple, closed for centuries to the ‘untouchables.’
To a proposal for a postponement of the battle against untouchability until freedom was achieved, C.R. replied:
I would like to know if any persons quarrelling over the ownership or enjoyment of any piece of land would postpone their suit until the Swaraj fight is finished.”
Rajaji : A Life – Rajmohan Gandhi
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