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

Gandhian Nonviolent Struggle and Untouchability in South India : The 1924 - 25 Vykom Satyagraha and the Mechanisms of Change (English, Hardcover, Mary Elizabeth King, Bhikhu Parekh)

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Gandhian Nonviolent Struggle and Untouchability in South India : The 1924 - 25 Vykom Satyagraha and the Mechanisms of Change  (English, Hardcover, Mary Elizabeth King, Bhikhu Parekh)

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    Highlights
    • Language: English
    • Binding: Hardcover
    • Publisher: Oxford
    • ISBN: 9780199452668, 0199452660
    • Edition: 2015
    • Pages: 368
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    Description
    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, Gandhi waged a satyagraha to put an end to this blatant discrimination.

    Gandhi believed that the Vykom struggle would eliminate severe practices of untouchability, unapproachability and unseeability, as the nonviolent activists would 'convert' the high castes 'by sheer force of character and suffering'. Within a decade of the Vykom campaign, a narrative emerged that corroborated Gandhi's beliefs and cited the success of the satyagraha as testimony to his methods. This mythic narrative has persisted to this day, yet fresh evidence presented by King shows that Gandhi's confidence was misguided and the volunteers' suffering was ineffective in 'converting' the upper-caste orthodoxy. This book for the first time explores what actually happened at Vykom, including its controversial settlement. Correcting misunderstandings, it addresses the rarity of conversion as a mechanism of change and evaluates shortcomings of Gandhi's leadership.

    About the Author

    Mary Elizabeth King is 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.
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    Book Details
    Publication Year
    • 2015 January
    Table of Contents
    • List of Figures and Maps         
      Foreword by Bhikhu Parekh       
      Preface               
      Acknowledgments           

      Introduction             

      Chapter 1: Travancore Society - Early Stirrings of Organized Opposition Against Caste    
      Chapter 2: The Ezhava Community Awakens 
      Chapter 3: The Satyagraha 
      Chapter 4: The Maharani Regent and Travancore Governmental Change
      Chapter 5: The Settlement     
      Chapter 6: The Vykom Compromise - Gandhi's Role and Broader Implications
      Chapter 7: Impact of Vykom on a Tool in International Theory
      Chapter 8: An Historic Campaign Holds Contemporary Lessons

      Conclusion     
      Glossary
      Appendix I: Timeline
      Appendix II: Mechanisms of Change
      Select Bibliography
      Index
      About the Author

    Contributors
    Authored By
    • Mary Elizabeth King
    Foreword By
    • Bhikhu Parekh
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