radicalism (the trend representing the desire of the rural Maratha peasants to
do away with the evils of the caste system itself).
Mahar Movement It was the movement of the untouchable Mahars of
Maharashtra, under the leadership of Dr B.R. Ambedkar (their first graduate),
which gained momentum in the 1920’s. Their demands included the right to
use public drinking water tanks and enter temples, abolition of the mahar
watan (traditional services to village chiefs), and separate representation in
the legislative councils. From 1927, some of them even started burning the
Manu Smriti as a symbol of a sharper break with Hinduism.
Northern and Eastern India
Kaivartas Kaivartas of Midnapur in Bengal belonged to a lower caste but
were economically well off. They began calling themselves ‘Mahishyas’, and
started a ‘Jati Nirdharani Sabha’ (1897) and a ‘Mahishya Samiti’ (1901),
which later played a prominent role in the nationalist movement.
Namshudras Namshudras of Faridpur in Bengal, forming an untouchable
caste of poor peasants, started developing associations after 1901 at the
initiative of a tiny elite of educated men and some missionary
encouragement.
Kayasthas Kayasthas of northern and eastern India, having interprovincial
professional connections, started the All-India Kayastha Association and a
newspaper, the Allahabad based Kayastha Samachar in 1919. But on the
whole, in northern and eastern India, Brahmin domination was less clearcut,
with other high-caste groups (like Rajputs and Kayasthas in Uttar Pradesh
and Bihar, and Vaidyas and Kayasthas in Bengal) serving as buffers. Hence,
mobilisation along caste lines came much later in these regions than in
western and southern India. Further, movements of the lower and
intermediate castes in these regions were not as prominent and powerful as
those in western and southern India.
                    B R AMBEDKAR (1891–1956)