Dalits in India
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Dalit Religion

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One of the of the ongoing debates in modern Indian society is whether the Dalits are really Hindus by religion. This debate has become particularly relevant in light of the ongoing mass conversions of Dalits to Buddhism, and the assertion of the Hindu right wing that they are Hindus.

Commonly, the religion that postulates the caste system is known as ‘Hinduism’. However, strictly speaking, the religion is not Hinduism, but ‘Brahminism’. Hinduism is a way of life, not a religion, as averred by even the Supreme Court of India.

Factually, the word ‘Hindu’ is Persian for river Indus, around which the Indus valley civilization developed and spread into the sub-continent, and the inhabitants of the civilization are referred to as ‘Hindus.’ The Hindu way of life before the Aryans was not the caste system. Rather, it was a casteless, horizontal society. Brahminic religion imposed upon this horizontal society the vertical caste system.

Further, since Aryans and mixed-Aryans (Sudras), who form a majority of the Hindu population, adhere to Brahminic religion in the Hindu (Indus) land, Hinduism can be construed as the ‘caste system way of life,’ in which Brahminic religion or Brahminism is practiced.

However, while Hinduism is construable as a ...more.. Read the rest in the ebook

More In This Chapter

3. Hindus By Cooption
- Never Were Hindus
- Nothing In Common With Hindu Gods
- Expedient Hindus
- Dalits And Proselytization
- Dalitbahujans Must Take Their Leap Of Faith
By Kancha Illaiah
By John Dayal
By Udit Raj
By Others


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