Harijan (son of God) was a term coined by Gandhi for Dalits, which is now considered patronizing. The term can also be attributed to Dalits of Pakistan called the haris, who are a group of mud-hut builders. Neo-Buddhist Dalits try to make 'Harijan' appear as a disgrace to all Dalits as it comes from a Hindu name. This term had already been used, in a different form, by the medieval philosopher Ramanuja who uplifted many backward caste peoples: as Thirukulattar, or People of Holy Clan. The term Harijan is considered a bad and weak word by many of the 'lower' caste people of India, as the name implies that the section is weak and should be taken care of. They prefer the word 'Dalit' (meaning Oppressed) instead of harijan. Recently there was a Dalit conference in Kerala which demanded the use of 'harijan' to be banned in media and political circles.

Gandhi's publications

Harijans was also several weekly newspapers published by Mahatma Gandhi. He created three publications, Harijan in English, Harijan Bandu in Gujarati and Harijan Sevak in Hindi. These newspapers found the Mahatma concentrating on social and economic problems.


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