From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Harijans literally means ‘people of God’

This word was coined by Mahātmā Gāndhī (A. D. 1869-1948) with regard to those people in the society who had been treated for centuries as untouchables. Even if the society disowned them, God did not, since they belonged to God. This seems to be the idea behind the word.


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore