Dalits in India: Untouchable and Oppressed

The journalists Leila Knüppel and Nicole Scherschun witnessed the liberation festival of the Dalits in Nagpur. Through Karuna Deutschland e.V. they met participants and leaders of our projects in India. Here you can read their contribution for Deutschlandfunk:

Liberated by Buddhism (German)

“On October 14, 1956, Indian politician Bhimrao Ambedkar and half a million Dalits converted from Hinduism to Buddhism in protest against the discrimination of the untouchable. This movement of conversion continues until today – as does the oppression of the Dalits.

The Hindu castes should no longer exist in India, all people should be treated equally – that is what the constitution says. But in everyday life the aversion towards the Dalits, the members of the lowest caste, is still noticeable.

Many people do not want to have anything to do with them, because they are still considered unclean: the Dalits, members of the lowest Hindu caste. Even though the caste system has long been officially abolished and the former untouchables have a job quota, prejudices are omnipresent in Indian society.

But once a year the former Dalits celebrate themselves and their struggle against social discrimination as well as their national hero: Bhimrao Ambedkar. He is a Dalit himself and is opposed to discrimination by the caste system. Today he is the second most famous Indian after Gandhi.”

Here is another article on caste discrimination:

Why "Untouchables" convert to Buddhism (German)

By Antje Stiebitz at Deutschlandfunk Kultur on 25.02.2018.

Video: Rebellion of the Dalits (German)

01/28/28 | 06:48 Min.

Although the Indian constitution abolished the caste system almost 70 years ago, the Dalits are still at the lowest social level of society today. Now they are finally demanding equality.

The ARD's “Weltspiegel” report (German)

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