Jat-Pat-Todak Mandal

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Caste Destruction Society. For more information about this group and Dr. Ambedkar's dealings with it, see the prologue and Shri Sant Ram's letter to Gandhi in Appendix I.

The Jat-Pat-Todak Mandal was founded in Lahore in 1922, as an offshoot of the more militantly anti-caste wing of the Arya Samaj. Members pledged themselves to a program of anti-caste propaganda, coupled with interdining and intermarriage. Except for their more radical opposition to caste, they did not differ greatly from the Arya Samaj's position on most issues. However, in 1924 their activities brought them into conflict with the Arya Samaj, and the Mandal eventually broke with the Arya Samaj. The Mandal's need to rely on upper-caste Arya Samajis was a persistent problem. An early (1926) and sympathetic report on their progress is illustrative:

"The Mandal has been able to enlist about 500 members from nearly all the provinces of India. In addition to numerous unimportant intercaste marriages there have been celebrated about a dozen and a half intercaste marriages of note among persons of the so-called high castes. To break caste is not an ordinary thing. Even the greatest social reformers have been able to do very little practical work in this direction. Therefore the work which the Mandal has been able to do through intercaste marriages is not so little as it appears from the surface. The Mandal has distributed tracts and pamphlets in Hindi and Urdu in large numbers and written many articles in papers on this baneful system. It has performed the marriages of many newly converted girls [i.e., untouchable-caste girls who had been through a special 'shuddhi' or purification ritual to make them part of the caste system] with Hindu young men. Every Hindu who takes a vow to marry himself or his sons and daughters out of his caste can be a member of the Mandal on paying rupees two as annual subscription."

In the census of 1931, the Mandal campaigned vigorously, and with some success, to have Hindus refuse to declare their caste on the census form. The Mandal's membership and activity were still on the increase at the time of its encounter with Dr. Ambedkar.

(The above information has been drawn from a report in the Indian School Reformer quoted in James Reid Graham's "The Arya Samaj as a Reformation in Hinduism with Special Reference to Caste" (Yale University Department of Religion, unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, 1943), 537-42; and from Mark Juergensmeyer, Religion as Social Vision: The Movement Against Untouchability in 20th-Century Punjab (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982), 39.)