Dalits in India
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Dalit Atrocities

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......Although the modern day atrocities and violence against the Dalits is appalling, the Dalits have been through worse, as indicated by caste laws, which also provides an insight into the violent ethos that drives the excesses against the Dalits:

 “A once-born man (a Sudra), who insults a twice-born man with gross invective, shall have his tongue cut-out; for he is of low origin.

 If he mentions the names and castes (jati) of the (twice-born) with contempt, an iron nail, ten gingers long, shall be thrust red-hot into his mouth.”

 If he arrogantly teaches Brahminas their duty, the king shall cause hot oil to be poured into his mouth and into his ears”

While most of the ancient violence against the Dalits occurred due to violation of discriminatory caste rules, part of it also occurred because they were not only outcastes, but also became everybody’s scapegoat (akin to the experience of Jews in the countries they lived in as aliens).

This is adequately indicated by idioms such as “ Khet khaye gadaha, maar khaye Jolaha (Jolaha – one of the caste names for Dalits - should be beaten up if the donkey grazes in the fields)" and "Dom ghar khaibo, dhob ghar khaibo na (Eat at Dom's house but never at a Dhobi's - a washer man’s house), mentioned in Ali Anwar’s book ‘Maswat Ki Jang’. Many such idioms are used even today, inherited from generation to generation from days of old.

In addition, the violence perpetrated for violating caste order then was a public and state affair, carried out under orders and patronage of the ruler. The discrimination, violence and abuse were overt. It was theaccepted norm and the unquestionable law....more... Read the rest in the book.

More In This Chapter

4. Dalit Experience Of Pain
-Covert Slavery
-Modern Day Atrocities
-Increased Level Of Atrocities
-Role of State

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By Kancha Illaiah
By John Dayal
By Udit Raj
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