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Dalits face isolation in villages

A good 65 years after Indian Independence, there is spatial isolation or exclusion of dalits in villages . Villages in Karnataka clearly provide this picture. The results of a study show that in most villages in the state, dalit families are located near the boundaries of a village or completely isolated from the main village.

The finding is mentioned in the executive summary report of Indian Council of Social Science Research study titled- Discrimination and Social Exclusion: A study on the development experience of dalits in Karnataka. It was carried out by Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy (CSEIP) of Mangalore University.

According to the study, only 4.2% of dalit houses are located in the middle of the villages. The remaining dalit families' houses are near the boundaries of the village.

While entering a village if one finds dalit families, it does not mean these families are located at the entrance of the village because all villages have more than one entry point as they are connected with other nearby villages by road. Overall, 95% of dalit families in the 'study villages' are located at margin of the village.

Across sub caste wise spatial exclusion in villages of Karnataka, nearly 5.9%of Holeya/Adi Karnataka caste households are in the middle of villages and living in between other touchable castes there. In the case of Madiga/Adi Dravida, it is only 2.3%, Bhovi/Lambani 3.6% and others 5.8%.

The spatial distance and living at the either end of the villages is common for dalit communities in the villages. A total of 2425 rural households in five sample districts of Karnataka were covered for the study.

About 42.4% of household respondents are females and 57.6 are males in the study area.

Most dalit families are nuclear families in Karnataka and joint family tradition is disappearing. Results shows that 86.2% of households are nuclear families and only 13.8% of them are joint families in selected villages. Only in some villages, some households from dalit communities are able to live closer by upper caste households.

Vice-chancellor TC Shivashankara Murthy told TOI that the full report of the study carried out by CSEIP will be released towards the end of December. "We intend to invite Sukhadeo Thorat, chairman, ICSSR, who during his tenure as head of UGC sanctioned funds to the university to carry out this research project." - Courtesy TOI

By Kancha Illaiah
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