Describe the position of untouchables in ancient society.
The position of untouchables in ancient society is explained below:
a. The Brahmanas developed a sharper social divide by suggesting the ideal occupations of the ideal varnas in society.
b. They classified certain social categories as untouchables.
c. According to the brahmins, the Chandalas were considered as untouchables.
d. It was based on the concept that some activities especially those that are connected with the performance of rituals were sacred and pure.
e. The duties were laid down in ‘Manusmriti’ for the Chandalas.
f. Chandalas or untouchables were kept at the bottom of the hierarchy.
g. They had to live outside the village, use discarded utensils and wear clothes of the dead and ornaments of iron.
h. They were not allowed to walk in villages and cities at night.
i. They served as executioners and had to dispose of the bodies of those who had no relatives.
j. They had to sound a clapper on the street so that people could avoid seeing them.
k. Their touch and in some cases even seeing them was regarded as polluting by those who claimed to be at the top of the social order.
l. Those who considered themselves as pure avoided taking food from the so-called untouchables.