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Mahad Satyagraha

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Date  20 March 1927
Location  Mahad
Mahad Satyagraha 20th March in Dalit History Mahad Satyagraha Dr B R

17 dr ambedkar launches mahad satyagraha in 1927

Mahad Satyagraha was a satyagraha led by B. R. Ambedkar on 20 March 1927 to allow untouchables to use water in a public tank in Mahad (currently in Raigad district), Maharashtra, India. The day (20 March) observed as Social Empowerment day in India.


Mahad Satyagraha Mahad Satyagraha Wikipedia

Mahad satyagraha french revolution ambedkar and his movement


Mahad Satyagraha 20th March in Dalit History Mahad Satyagraha Dr B R

By the Indian caste system, untouchables (Dalits) were segregated from the caste Hindus. They were banned from using water bodies and roads which were used by caste Hindus. On August 1923, Bombay Legislative Council passed a resolution that people from the depressed classes should be allowed to use places which were built and maintained by the Government. In January 1924, Mahad which was part of the Bombay Province passed the resolution in its municipal council to enforce the act. But it was failed to implement because of the protest from the caste Hindus.


Mahad Satyagraha Revisiting Mahad Satyagraha in Twentyfirst Century in Modern India

In 1927, Ambedkar decided to launch a satyagraha (nonviolent resistance) to assert their rights to use water in the public places. His Bahishkrit Hitakarini Sabha arranged a conference on Holi 19-20 March 1927 in Mahad, in which more than thousand people were gathered. At the end of the conference, they marched to the Chavdar Tale (tasty water lake), the main tank of the town and they drank water from the tank.

Mahad Satyagraha 20th March in Dalit History Mahad Satyagraha Dr B R

A riot broke out following a rumour that Ambedkar and his followers were planning to enter a Hindu temple in the town. And the caste Hindus purified the tank by performing puja, argued that untouchables polluted the tank by taking water from it.

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Ambedkar decided to hold the second conference in Mahad on 26-27 December 1927. But caste Hindus filed a case against him that tank as a private property. He was not able to continue his satyagraha as the case was sub judice. On 25 December (Manusmriti Dahan Din), he burnt Manusmriti, a Hindu law book, as a protest. In December 1937, the Bombay High Court ruled that untouchables have the right to use water from the tank.


Mahad Satyagraha Mahad Satyagraha Dr B R Ambedkar39s Caravan

There were many poems of struggle. Following poem is written by Arjun Dangle, one of the founding members of the Dalit Panther Party.

Mahad Satyagraha Haat

In the motionless alleys

Outside the village gates

You came and thundered

Everyone started

Brushed of the dust and woke up

You walked forward

Holding flaming urn

All the merchants of darkness were fear struck

You kept on walking

With everyone following

You stopped at the bank of the pond

And gave us life …

‘Haat’ in Marathi means ‘hands’.


Mahad Satyagraha Wikipedia