Much has been written and discussed about the untouchables in contemporary India but almost nothing about their emergence, visibility and eventual degradation in society. The present study undertakes the ardous task of finding out from hitherto unexplored bibliographical sources the relevant questions like, who were the most powerful people; when, why, and how could they bring others under their control?
It starts with the rgveda, the earlier written materials regarding India and attempts to describe the emergence, crystallization and ultimate discrimination of untouchables in India. The study continues upto c. AD 200 when the exact Sanskrit word asprsya appeared for untouchables replacing other words like "unclean", "impure", etc.
In this edition several topics have been discussed with more details. Comparison has also been made with similar phenomena in other countaries to show that untouchability in India was not unusual. What however was unusual is that with untouchability becoming a taboo it became viable and therefore more difficult to eradicate from society.