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  • Who are Dalits? — Welcome to Navsarjan
    the Sanskrit syllabus of graduation studies in Gujarat even today preach the sanctity of the varnas and uphold the principles of gradation and rank They refer to the impurity and servility of the outcastes while affirming the dominance and total impunity of Brahmins Those from the lowest castes are told that their place in the caste hierarchy is due to their sins in a past life Vivid punishments of torture and death are assigned for crimes such as gaining literacy or insulting a member of a dominant caste Among the writings of Hindu religious texts the Manusmitri is undoubtedly the most authoritative one legitimizing social exclusion and introducing absolute inequality as the guiding principle of social relations Forced exclusion and constant oppression Today Dalits make up 16 2 of the total Indian population but their control over resources of the country is marginal less than 5 Close to half of the Dalit population lives under the Poverty Line and even more 62 are illiterate Among the Dalits most of those engaged in agricultural work are landless or nearly landless agricultural laborers The average household income for Dalits was of Rs 17 465 in 1998 just 68 of the national average Less than 10 of Dalit households can afford safe drinking water electricity and toilets which is indicative of their deplorable social condition Moreover Dalits are daily victims of the worst crimes and atrocities far outnumbering other sections of society in that respect as well The vast majority of these crimes remain unreported due to omnipresent fear and those that are reported are often ignored by police or end up languishing in the backlogged court system Between 1992 and 2000 a total of 334 459 cases were registered nation wide with the police as cognisable crimes against SCs More than 60 years after gaining Independence India is still very much afflicted by the cancer of the caste system Dalits remain the most vulnerable marginalized and brutalised community in the country Dalits in Gujarat If compared to states like Punjab Himachal Pradesh or West Bengal where Dalits constitute more than 20 per cent of the population Gujarat counts a fairly low proportion of Dalits According to the 2001 Census there are approximately 3 6 million members of Scheduled Castes in Gujarat which represents 7 1 of the state s total population This relatively low figure is however inversely indicative of their miserable condition More than 80 per cent of the Dalits in Gujarat are daily labourers the majority of which are in the agricultural sector Half of the SC population is landless or owns less than one acre of land which forces them to work on dominant castes land in order to survive Because of this dependence and the quasi inexistence of labour welfare in Gujarat Dalits are subject to immense pressure and utter discrimination Atrocities committed against them are a daily reality with more than 4 000 cases reported in the span of 3 years in just 14 districts Manual scavenging

    Original URL path: http://navsarjan.org/dalits/whoaredalits (2016-04-30)
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  • Who are Dalits? — Welcome to Navsarjan
    Programmes Impact on the Ground Documents Reports Our Staff Dalits Who are Dalits What is Untouchability Atrocities and Interventions The Dalit Movement Today Send this page to somebody Fill in the email address of your friend to send an email with the address Address info Send to Required The e mail address to send this link to From Required Your email address Comment A comment about this link Navsarjan is

    Original URL path: http://navsarjan.org/dalits/whoaredalits/sendto_form (2016-04-30)
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  • DALITS: An agenda for social transformation — Welcome to Navsarjan
    the Ground Documents Reports Our Staff Dalits Who are Dalits What is Untouchability Atrocities and Interventions The Dalit Movement Today Document Actions DALITS An agenda for social transformation Written by Martin Macwan Navsarjan s founder this article describes the past and current conditions of Dalits in South Asia along with the way forward for the Dalit movement Click here to get the file Size 24 3 kB File type application

    Original URL path: http://navsarjan.org/dalits/DALIT_social_transformation.pdf/view (2016-04-30)
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  • What is "Untouchability"? — Welcome to Navsarjan
    every sphere of life and practiced in an infinite number of forms At the village level Dalits are barred from using wells used by non Dalits forbidden from going to the barber shop and entering temples while at the level of job recruitment and employment Dalits are systematically paid less ordered to do the most menial work and rarely promoted Even at school Dalit children may be asked to clean toilets and to eat separately As an instrument of casteism Untouchability also serves to instill caste status to Dalit children from the moment they are born Kachro filth Melo dirty Dhudiyo dusty Gandy mad Ghelo stupid Punjo waste are just some of the names given to Dalit boys in Gujarat Of course names with similar meanings are given to Dalit girls too This shows the debilitating effect of Untouchability as it becomes a conscious act of cooperation between two individuals of distinct caste or sub caste identity The person treated as untouchable submits himself or herself to untouchability practices because of a generational integrated belief that it is right justified religious and natural Untouchability is in this sense a corollary of the caste system and the only way to get rid of it seems to be to get rid of the caste system itself Focusing on Untouchability ignores the root cause of the problem all the more so as Article 17 of the Indian Constitution which bans Untouchability confines its definition to individual discrimination against certain classes of persons not easily identifiable The 1950 national constitution of India legally abolishes the practice of untouchability and there are constitutional reservations in both educational institutions and public services for Dalits Unfortunately these measures have not changed the reality of daily life for most Dalits as the Indian government frequently tolerates oppression and

    Original URL path: http://navsarjan.org/dalits/WhatIsUntouchability (2016-04-30)
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  • What is "Untouchability"? — Welcome to Navsarjan
    Programmes Impact on the Ground Documents Reports Our Staff Dalits Who are Dalits What is Untouchability Atrocities and Interventions The Dalit Movement Today Send this page to somebody Fill in the email address of your friend to send an email with the address Address info Send to Required The e mail address to send this link to From Required Your email address Comment A comment about this link Navsarjan is

    Original URL path: http://navsarjan.org/dalits/WhatIsUntouchability/sendto_form (2016-04-30)
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  • Atrocities and Interventions — Welcome to Navsarjan
    the Brahmins only in 7 of the cases Violence is further aggravated as guilty persons are rarely immediately arrested and by the time they are punished people generally have forgotten the crime The unbearably slow legal procedures and the lengthy and costly processes only add insult to injury victims and their relatives often live in proximity to the culprits who often threaten them further Despite the 1989 Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe Prevention of Atrocities Act which provides for appointments of Special Courts and Government Prosecutors for expediting proceedings these situations have not changed In practice the Act is often not properly implemented by the Police In 11 surveyed Districts of Gujarat it was found that the percentage of application of the Atrocity Act by the Police was only slightly more than 60 Moreover because the Police often prefer certain sections of the Act to others and because at other times only a very vague reference to the Act is made there has been a growing general impression that Dalits have been abusing this Act The truth is that the Police constables are generally not familiar with the provisions of the Atrocity Act and are also susceptible to both caste allegiance and bribery Atrocities against Dalits The term atrocity is a legal one Atrocity cases against Dalits vary in severity and form including the following 1 Causing injury insult or annoynance to a Dalit 2 Assaulting raping or using force of any kind against a Dalit woman or a Dalit girl 3 Physically injuring or murdering a Dalit 4 Occupying or cultivating any land owned by or alloted to a Dalit 5 Forcing a Dalit to leave his her house village or other place of residence 6 Interfering with a Dalit s legal rights to land premises or water 7 Compelling or enticing a Dalit to do begar or similar forms of forced or bonded labour 8 Intentionally insulting or intimidating a Dalit with the intent to humiliate him Acts of atrocity against Dalits continue to occur at alarming rates in Gujarat In 1998 Gujarat ranked second highest among all Indian states in the volume of crimes committed against the Scheduled Castes at 62 cases per one lakh of population While this is high it is important to note that underreporting is very common thus this number conceals the extent to which these atrocities occur A recent study conducted by Navsarjan demonstrated that of all of the atrocity cases that occurred across four districts in Gujarat 36 6 were not registered under the Atrocity Act and that of the cases where the Act was applied 84 4 were registered under the wrong provisions thus concealing the intensity of the violence in the cases The police and the legal system are also often very slow in responding to cases filed under the SC ST Prevention of Atrocities Act 1989 In 2000 in Gujarat there were 13 293 cases registered in courts under the SC ST Prevention of Atrocities Act 1989 all

    Original URL path: http://navsarjan.org/dalits/atrocitiesandinterventions (2016-04-30)
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  • Atrocities and Interventions — Welcome to Navsarjan
    Programmes Impact on the Ground Documents Reports Our Staff Dalits Who are Dalits What is Untouchability Atrocities and Interventions The Dalit Movement Today Send this page to somebody Fill in the email address of your friend to send an email with the address Address info Send to Required The e mail address to send this link to From Required Your email address Comment A comment about this link Navsarjan is

    Original URL path: http://navsarjan.org/dalits/atrocitiesandinterventions/sendto_form (2016-04-30)
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  • The Dalit Movement Today — Welcome to Navsarjan
    backgrounds Dalits who have converted to a different religion but still suffer discrimination and allows for the inclusion of people who are not from the untouchable castes but still believe in values of equality A past passive participle of the Sanskrit root dal that means to crack or split the word Dalit is today common across most Indian languages meaning poor and oppressed people As it refers to those who have been broken ground down by those above them in a deliberate way there is also clearly an inherent denial of pollution karma and justified caste hierarchy to the word itself Though use of the term Dalit in public discourse is of relatively recent origin the 1960s it is supposed to have been used first by Jotirao Phule 1827 1890 in his attempt to work for dalituthan that is the uplifting of the exploited sections of society While Dr Ambedkar did not popularize the word Dalit his philosophy has remained a key source in its emergence and popularity Marathi literary figures and neo Buddhists began to use the word in their writings and contributed to the literary initiatives in replacing Harijan man of God and achchuta untouchable with Dalit in the 1970s They expressed their anger protest and aspiration through this new word rejecting the Hindu caste system and objecting to Gandhi s belief that caste Hindus charitable spirit would be enough to overcome Untouchability While the word Dalit stems from opposition to terms bestowed upon Dalits by the non Dalits terms that legitimised their discrimination and deprivation it has today essentially emerged as a political category Dalits in legal parlance are called Scheduled Castes SCs and are identified as such by the President of India under Article 341 of the Constitution This constitutional identity however is exclusive and fails

    Original URL path: http://navsarjan.org/dalits/dalitmovement (2016-04-30)
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