Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online

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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 …

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Aktor, Mikael, “Untouchability”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online, Editor-in-Chief Associate Editors Knut A. Jacobsen, Helene Basu, Angelika Malinar, Vasudha Narayanan. Consulted online on 01 June 2023 <>
First published online: 2018

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