The story is about the origin of untouchability in India which started during the Vedic period. This social discrimination continued during the Buddha, Mauryan, Mughal and British period. Though, the untouchables did good things for the society like cleaning the human faeces of others to protect their health and environment, but the society in lieu thereof, humiliated, insulted and discriminated against them. The lives of untouchables were lower than the animals, and they had to face all sorts of drudgery and discrimination at the hands of the society.
Mahatma Gandhi was the first person, whose attention was drawn towards the plight of the scavengers, and he in his own way tried to restore human rights and dignity of untouchables to bring them on a par with others.
In 1968, Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, a sociologist and social reformer came on the scene. He invented the technology of Sulabh Shauchalaya during Gandhi Centenary Celebration period, and this Sulabh Shauchalaya became a tool of social change. The scavengers got liberated from the demeaning and health hazardous practice of cleaning human excreta. After being liberated, they were given education, vocational training like making pappadam, noodles, pickles, stitching, tailoring, embroidery, as well as facial and beauty parlour training etc. so that they could earn their livelihood. The scavengers from Alwar & Tonk from Rajasthan, were helped to perform all the rites, rituals and ceremonies of upper class people to come on a par with them. These liberated scavengers were also taken for an audience with former Presidents of India, Hon’ble Shri R. Venkataraman, Hon’ble Shri Shankar Dayal Sharma and Hon’ble Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil, the then Prime Minister of India, Hon’ble Shri Rajiv Gandhi, Hon’ble Smt. Sonia Gandhi, Member of Parliament and Chairperson, United Progressive Alliance (UPA), Hon’ble Smt. Meira Kumar, Speaker, Lok Sabha, Hon’ble Shri Rahul Gandhi, Member of Parliament and Vice-President, Indian National Congress and others. They also went to the United Nations to attend the Conference in the General Assembly, where they walked the ramp in front of the dignitaries from all over the world. They went to visit the Statue of Liberty to declare they were no longer untouchables. Finally, they went to Durban, to see the Phoenix Ashram of Mahatma Gandhi, where he lived and started the movement and said, “ Oh Bapu, because of you we are free from 5000 years of bondage and shackles of untouchability and social discrimination ”. So in this way, their human rights and dignity have been restored, and they are living like upper caste people, and thus the dream of Mahatma Gandhi has been fulfilled. So this is the story of untouchables depicted in the play
“Dream of Mahatma Gandhi: Serfdom to Freedom”.