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The Solution Being, Change in Religion. Really?

Posted by on in Humanities & Social Sciences

The conversion of Dalits to Christianity proved to be a misery for the 70 % of the converted Christians. These are the people whose very touch is considered polluting and who are treated as untouchables by upper caste. Christianity, as a religion has no casteism but because these converted Christians were in India from the 16th century they couldn’t escape the social structure of India and therefore had to follow the hierarchy of caste. Conversion to Christianity has not redeemed the Dalit Christians from social discrimination and untouchability.

The Indian churches are mostly Dalit churches, because out of the 25 million Christians 70% of them belong to the Dalit community. Even though the majority Christians belongs to the Dalit community, the 70% has to go through intolerance imposed on them by the remaining 30% non- Dalit Christians. The administrative jobs and the leadership in the Dalit churches in controlled by the 30% of the upper class Christians. This strongly felt discrimination is leading the Dalit Christians to be pushed aside and reducing their insignificance in their own homeland.

In 1950 Indian constitution abolished untouchability and therefore converted these people to SC/ST. In doing so it provided a reservation policy whereby 22.5% seats of all government and semi- government, schools and colleges were reserved for them. This facility was only available to the Dalits who followed to Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism. Christian Dalits should also enjoy the benefits of reservation. The Dalit Christians suffer the same socio educational and economic disabilities like the Dalits of the other faith. Change in faith does not change their social, educational and economical status in the society. They are oppressed in the society and they face all the problems that any other Dalit faces. This segregation adds on to their existing problem, of being a Dalit.

India is a secular state and every individual has a right to practice any faith as per their wish. This does not stand true for India. The Dalit Christians suffer discrimination, just because they choose what religion they want to follow and believe in. the Dalit Christians are going through crisis. On one hand the B.J.P categorically has stated that the government will not extend any constitutional rights of reservation for the Dalit Christians and on the other the government says that no requests for any amendments will be entertained. The only solution to this can be that the Dalit Christians should go back to following Hinduism, in order to gain back all their constitutional rights; or by being Christians and tolerating the torture and paying the price for their faith.

It is evident that the Dalit Christians are subject to atrocities, violence and disabilities solely because they suffer the sigma of the Untouchability. The evil system of caste continues to exist even after the conversion. In fact, conversion is more disadvantageous, for it deprives the Christian Dalits from seeking benefits under SC and ST quota, making their life more miserable.

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