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Harijans

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Harijans

For the village in Iran, see Harijan, Iran.

Harijan (Hindustani: हरिजन (Devanagari), ہریجن (Nastaleeq); translation: "Child of God") was a term used by Mohandas Gandhi for Dalits. Gandhi said it was wrong to call people "untouchable," and instead called them Harijans, which means children of God. It is still in wide use, especially in Gandhi's home state of Gujarat.

The term can also be attributed to Dalits of Pakistan called the haris, who are a group of pucca house builders.

Harijan was also a newspaper first pubished on 11 February 1933, brought out by Gandhi from Yerwada Jail during the British rule in India.

Although Gandhi popularized the term harijan, he was not the first person to use it. The female Bhakti writer Gangasati used the term to refer to herself during the Bhakti movement, a period in India that gave greater status and voice to women while challenging the legitimacy of caste. This period started in the 4th century BC but is a living force in India today, flourishing particularly during India's Middle Ages. Gangasati lived around the 12th-14th centuries and wrote in the Gujurati language.[1]

Mohandas Gandhi's publications

Harijans were also several weekly newspapers published by Mohandas Gandhi. He created three publications: Harijan in English (from 1933 to 1948), Harijan Bandu in Gujarati, and Harijan Sevak in Hindi. These newspapers found Gandhi concentrating on social and economic problems, much as his earlier English newspaper, Young India, had done from 1919 to 1932.[2]

In connection with harijan upliftment work, Mohandas Gandhi visited Hyderabad on 9 March 1934.

References


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