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Gandhian Nonviolent Struggle and Untouchability in South India
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Gandhian Nonviolent Struggle and Untouchability in South India: The 1924–25 Vykom Satyagraha and Mechanisms of Change

Mary Elizabeth King


In the 1920s, in the south Indian village of Vykom, a nonviolent struggle sought to open to everyone the roads surrounding the Brahmin temple there. For centuries, any person or animal could walk those roads but not the so-called untouchable Hindus, whose use of the roads would “pollute” the high castes. From April 1924 to November 1925, Mohandas K. Gandhi waged a satyagraha to gain access for excluded groups to these routes encircling the temple compound. (From Sanskrit satya [truth] and agraha [insistence], satyagraha has come to mean a campaign of nonviolent civil resistance.) As the 604-da ... More

Keywords: nonviolent struggle, nonviolent civil resistance, Brahmins, untouchability, unapproachability, unseeability, satyagraha, conversion, suffering, mechanisms of change, Gandhi, Vykom, temple roads, untouchable Hindus

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2015 Print ISBN-13: 9780199452668
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199452668.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Mary Elizabeth King, author
Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies for the UN-affiliated University for Peace, main campus, Costa Rica, and Distinguished Fellow of the Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford, UK