• Short Summary

    MR JAGJIVAN RAM, INDIAN MINISTER OF FOOD, IS ONE OF THE POSSIBLE CANDIDATES FOR ELECTION AS INDIA'S FOURTH PRESIDENT.

  • Description

    MR JAGJIVAN RAM, INDIAN MINISTER OF FOOD, IS ONE OF THE POSSIBLE CANDIDATES FOR ELECTION AS INDIA'S FOURTH PRESIDENT.

    HIS CANDIDACY, AND EVEN MORE SO HIS ELECTION, COULD HAVE THE SAME IMPACT ON INDIAN POLITICS AS A NEGRO RUNNING FOR AND GAINING THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY MIGHT HAVE IN THE UNITED STATES. FOR MR RAM IS A HARIJAN - AN 'UNTOUCHABLE'.

    THE UNTOUCHABLES ARE THE LOWEST STRATA OF INDIA'S CASTE SYSTEM. THEY WERE, UNTIL RECENTLY CONSIDERED SO LOW IN THE ESTEEM OF OTHER INDIANS AS TO BE VIRTUALLY OUTSIDE THE CASTE SYSTEM ALTOGETHER.

    MAHATMA GANDHI, AS PART OF HIS EFFORT TO UNITE THE DIVIDED FACTIONS OF INDIA, RENAMED THE HARIJANS 'GOD'S PEOPLE'. UNDER HIS INFLUENCE LAWS WERE PASSED WHICH FORBID THE PRACTICE OF UNTOUCHABILITY. BUT SOCIAL PREJUDICE STILL OPERATED AGAINST THEM.

    A RECENT INDIAN LABOUR COMMITTEE REPORT REVEALED THAT THE MAJORITY OF THE 5,000,000 UNTOUCHABLES LIVE IN APPALLING CONDITIONS. NEARLY 1,000,000 HARIJANS STILL WORK AS SWEEPERS, GARBAGE CARRIERS, LATRINE-CLEANERS, REMOVERS OF CORPSES AND CARCASSES, AND SKINNERS OF ANIMALS. MOST ARE EMPLOYED BY CIVIC BODIES.

    EVEN HARIJANS WHO HAVE RISEN ECONOMICALLY FIND IT DIFFICULT TO MERGE SOCIALLY. DISCRIMINATION STILL OPERATES TO FORCE THEM TO PERFORM HARIJAN TASKS AND OBSERVE HARIJAN TABOOS.

    THE CONSTITUTION TRIES TO PROTEST THE INTEREST OF UNTOUCHABLES BY RESERVING SEATS FOR THEM IN PARLIAMENT AND LOCAL LEGISLATURES, RESERVING POSTS FOR THEM IN THE CIVIL SERVICE, AND MAKING SPECIAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR THEIR EDUCATION.

    SEVERAL MEMBERS OF THE RULING CONGRESS PARTY HAVE ALREADY EXPRESSED SUPPORT FOR MR RAM. HIS CANDIDACY MAY ALSO WIN BACKING FROM THE COMMUNISTS AND THE SOUTH INDIAN DRAVIDA MUNNETRA KAZHAGAM, THE RULING PARTY IN TAMILNADU.

    THE ELECTION MUST TAKE PLACE WITHIN SIX MONTHS, AND THE CHOICE WILL BE MADE WITH THE REALISATION THAT THE PRESIDENT HOLDS EXECUTIVE POWERS WHICH COULD BE OF EXTREME IMPORTANCE IF THE CONGRESS PARTY FAILS TO GAIN A CLEAR MAJORITY IN THE 1972 GENERAL ELECTIONS.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVAADAN8OYAFKJ5KSJRV2R3A0JDD
    Media URN:
    VLVAADAN8OYAFKJ5KSJRV2R3A0JDD
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    25/05/1969
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:01:41:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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