Essay On Dalit

2243 Words 9 Pages
INTRODUCTION
“The term 'Dalit' is derived from the Hebrew root 'Dal' meaning 'broken' or 'crushed'. In Sanskrit it means 'downtrodden', certain Hindi versions explain the term as 'oppressed' or exploited.” The meaning of the term Dalit can be explained through the example of flower petals. While the broken petals are symbolic of Dalits, the petals which are joined to the calyx signify the rest of the society. The term is used to signify a broken down and downtrodden section of the society. Dalits have been accorded a backward and lowly position in the society, right from the days of Manusmriti. People were divided into different categories based upon their occupations. The most menial tasks were left to the dalits and the sudras. To overcome
…show more content…
In 1928, the Hindu Mahasabha’s manifesto was to give equal rights and protection to all untouchables. However, B.R. Ambedkar was opposed to this idea and at the First Round Table Conference in 1931, he demanded that the Depressed Classes be given a separate identity as Reformist Hindus and that they shouldn’t be forcibly engulfed in the fold of Hinduism. Ambedkar was shrewd in recognizing that in order to secure separate rights and privileges for the Depressed Classes, their separate identity needed to be maintained and safeguarded. Mahatma Gandhi gave birth to the term ‘Harijans’ in the 1930s. The term ‘Harijan’ literally means God’s children. It was said that in order to unite the whole of India against the common oppressor, this move was adopted by Gandhi as a part of his political strategy. However, Ambedkar did not subscribe to the notion of the Hindu majority representing the common interests of both the Hindus and the Depressed Classes. His demand was respected by the British and the Communal Award was awarded to Indians in 1932. The term ‘Harijan’ was resented to by the Depresses Classes since it did not give them any separate and novel identity. Everyone knew that the untouchables or the ‘achuts’ only were called ‘Harijans’ and this labeling was also equally demeaning. Also the Harijans did not want to be pitied and this term entailed with itself a …show more content…
Ambedkar was extremely dissatisfied with the Hindu religion and at the All India Depressed Classes Meet in 1935 announced that he would like to break away from Hinduism and adopt Buddhism. Exactly twenty years after this speech, Ambedkar adopted Buddhism in 1956. Taking cue from his conversion, a lot of Mahars adopted Buddhism. The Neo Buddhists retained their Scheduled Caste identity in order to avail of all the benefits of reservation provided by the Constitution. For doing this they had to separate themselves from mainstream Buddhism and call themselves Neo Buddhists. Ambedkar had envisaged a classless and casteless society but this proved to be a failure as Neo Buddhists did not renounce their stake in

Related Documents