How can we transform ourselves into Dalits?
Dalits (literally “broken ones”) call themselves the Indian casteless, who were also called untouchables or parias in the past. Caste-less means that they do not belong to any of the four main castes (Varnas = colors), but can certainly be assigned to the thousands of traditionally job-related sub-castes (Jati = from birth, origin). They are descended from the indigenous people of India.
In official parlance, they are referred to as “Scheduled Castes”, or S.C. for short. They make up 16.6% of the population in India (1) and are still excluded and oppressed in Indian society today. The percentage does not include Christian and Muslim Dalits. Including these, there are estimates that around a quarter of Indians are Dalits (1).
They regularly live in a settlement outside of the place where the cast members live, a separation that is reminiscent of South African apartheid.
In Hinduism, the predominant religion in India with 79.8% of the population in 2011 (2), the Dalits are at the bottom of the hierarchy. They would have received this place at birth because of misconduct in previous life and kept it until death. If you serve the caste members all your life, if they submit to them and if they adhere to the religious rules, they can be reborn at a higher caste level in the next life. A religious, Hindu Dalit cannot find a way out of this system. That is why it is so difficult to do away with caste discrimination. Even for the many Christian Dalits, subordination to the caste system remains.
Diverse forms of so-called untouchability are still practiced in daily life, although the latter was abolished with the 1950 constitution. Because they have not been among those since the 2nd millennium BC, they are Aryans (3) who have immigrated from or via Iran belong to, work “dirty” jobs and eat meat, regarded as “unclean” in the religious sense. Dalits, to name just a few examples, are denied access to temples and fountains. In the tea house, they are given separate glasses or disposable cups.
Hindu Dalits who convert to other religions nonetheless retain their status as casteless untouchables. If they officially convert to Christianity, they lose the constitutional rights to special state funding to which the registered castes are entitled.
1) 2011 census:
2) 2011 census:
Aryans (Arya) in Hinduism: "noble spirit"
Iran: Land of the Aryans
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