In modern times, Raja Ram Mohan Roy was the first person to raise his voice against social evils. It was at his instance that the evil practice of “Sati” was banned by Lord William Bentick, the then Governor-General of India. Mr. Roy had a modern outlook. He welcomed the introduction of English language in India because he thought that it gave Indians access to modern knowledge. He was in favour of women’s education. He wanted that widows should be free to remarry and lead a normal life.
Gandhiji, the Father of our Nation, worked for the removal of social evils throughout his life. He also preached Hindu-Muslim unity and laid down his life for it. Whenever there was an outbreak of communal violence, he undertook a ‘Padyatra’, addressed members of both communities and if necessary, went an indefinite fast.
Gandhiji also condemned untouchability among the Hindus. He regarded it as the worst evil. To set an example before others, he practised what he preached. Whenever he came to Delhi, he always lived in a Scheduled Caste Colony and addressed his daily prayers from there. He called the Scheduled Castes “Harijans” i.e., men of God. He wanted all Hindu temples to be thrown open to the Harijans. Gandhiji also preached removal of other social evils like child marriage, dowry, drinking, gambling, superstitions, etc.
In spite of the efforts made by these great men of the past and the present to rid the Indian society of the social evils, the evils continue to persist even after 63 years of Independence. In fact, the social evil of dowry has assumed gigantic proportions. Dowry deaths have become the order of the day.
The difficulty is that people do not seem to be sincere. They are hypocrites. They condemn social evils in public but they follow them in private. Unless we give up our hypocritical approach, we will not be able to fight social evils.
Our country is still suffering from many social evils like communalism, untouchability, superstitions, dowry, drinking, etc. Lavish lifestyle, discrimination against women and large families are the other evils. It is high time that we remove all these evils. In so far as social evils are concerned, the Government cannot do much. At best, it can pass laws. It is, therefore, up to the people themselves to give up these evils for good.