Saturday, June 27, 2015

Dalits as Hindus

Recently, there have been discussions of caste and Hinduism in some circles following the IITM fracas and Mumford's letter. Here is point which Kancha Ilaiah made long ago that has not come up in the discussions.
 ".. until the twentieth century, Dalits were regarded not as Hindus but as a separate and subordinate element throughout India. They were defined as Hindu only in the context of a demographic struggle during which Hindu nationalists realized that counting them as such was critical to the project of redefining the country in Hindu-majority terms." 

Earlier I quoted from "The Telangana Movement 1944-51" by Barry Pavier. "On page 69, he quotes from Census of India 1941, Hyderabad, Vol.2, 672-674. The numbers given (rounding off, in millions)Hindus 10, Untouchables 3, Muslims 2, Tribals .7" 
The above quote is from From Village to City: Hinduism and the "Hindu Caste System" by Nathaniel Roberts.

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