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Untouchability

(3,316 words)

Author(s): Mikael Aktor
In the more narrow sense, untouchability in a Hindu context is typically articulated as a need of purification after having been in physical contact with certain persons. Normally a bath is required in order to regain purity. An early example of such rules can be found in the Gautamadharmasūtra: "When a man touches an outcaste [i.e. a grievous sinner], a Caṇḍāla [i.e. a person from an untouchable caste], a woman who has just given birth or is menstruating, a corpse, or someone who has touched any of these, he becomes purified by bathing with…