मेघ : काठियावाड़ के अछूतों का सामाजिक-आर्थिक सर्वेक्षण1923-1938
सन 1923 में अन्त्यज सेवा मंडल, गुजरात ने खेड़ा और सूरत के अन्त्यजों की हालातों का विस्तृत अध्ययन किया था। इस कड़ी में काठियावाड़ का अध्ययन भी किया गया। दोनों क्षेत्र रहन-सहन और कई मामलों में एक-दूसरे से अलग हैं, परन्तु दोनों ही क्षेत्रों के अन्त्यजों या अछूतों की समस्याएं और निर्योग्यतायें एक-सी ही मिलीं। (सामान्यकृत करते हुए कह सकते हैं कि समस्त भारत में अछूतों की समस्याएं एक-सी हैं)। बोम्बे विश्व विद्यालय के श्री के. बी. व्यास ने काठियावाड़ के भावनगर आदि के साथ 39 गांवों और दस्कोई महल आदि के इलाकों के गांवों/नगरों को मिलाकर कुल 50 गांवों का सर्वेक्षण व साक्षात्कार किया।
इस सर्वेक्षण के सार-संक्षेप (abstract) में दी गयी वस्तुस्थिति की कुछ महत्वपूर्ण जानकारी नीचे दी जा रही है-
"A detailed questionare was prepared for the enquiry of each of the village. In all author visited fifty (50) villages and collected detailed information from the main castes of the untouchables such as Vankars (275 families), Chamars (106 families), Bhangis (178 families), Garodas and Sadhs (18 families); consisting of 2855 persons (687 males, 780 females, 716 boys and 672 girls), which form the complete untouchable population of the Dadkroi Mahal."
"The thesis has been divided in 11 chapters"
"Chapter 3 deals with the general social conditions and their relations with other classes of society. The author has given detailed account of the social disabilities felt by them, how these restrictions have stifled the progress and well being of these classes. The process of segregation is very severe. It affects almost every phase of their life. They cannot avail themselves of the general facilities for education and transport. They cannot draw water from the common well of the village. They are compelled to render several compulsory service to the state officers. They cannot by reason of untouchablity, by or sell in an open market. The untouchable classes can never think of entering the Hindu temples. They cannot get full worth of their labour. Out of 817 common state schools, not a singal school admits the children of the untouchables for study. They are very meek and dumb people. According to jail statistics of the Bhavnagar Central Jail, the untouchables hardly ever commit any crime. They are thus meeker than the traditionally meek Baneas. Long period of servility have made them very humble and timid. They can never think of committing a crime. They are totally dependant on the goodwill of upper castes. The Author remarks: 'Should untouchables insist upon their rights and cast off the traditional bonds of untouchablity they would be faced with non-employment, and a severe social boycott.' And ends: 'This economic dependence of the untouchables upon the upper castes Hindus is a strong bulwark of untouchablity.'---"
"In the remaining chapters the author discusses the religious life of the untouchables, their marriage system, birth and death rate, their economic conditions, indebtedness, addiction, and concludes with a chapter on their prospects."
The main findings are as follows-
"They do not worship the chief Hindu deities like Shiva or Vishnu, but worship Ramdevji or Ramji Pir. They are more religious than the lower Hindu classes like Kunbis and the artisan classes. Behind all their religious activities, there lies a pious hope to be promoted to the upper Hindu castes in the next life."
And many more--------
(Reference: "The Untouchables of Kathiawar: A Socio-Economic Survey", By K. B. Vyas, Bombay, 1938. (Research in Sociology: Abstracts of M.A. and Ph.D Dissertations)