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  • Ishita Pathak

How is the Dalit society living in India? - Abhinav Agrawal

Updated: a day ago


From 1856, The British imperial government used to call Dalits by the name of the suppressed class. In our society, they are largely discriminated against and deprived of their rights. If we look closely, they are the mirror of Hindu society divided into high and low status. The seeds of the Dalit system go back to the lineages of the caste system in Hindu Religion. For centuries they are involved in the menial polluting works and work in subhuman conditions such as manual scavenging and trash collectors, and sweepers of the streets.

Our Constitution has does not recognize untouchability in law. Today, Dalit politics largely cores on the dissemination of Education, Employment, and Health Benefits which is granted to them under the Indian Constitution. Keeping this in mind, various Acts have been enacted by our Parliament. But due to a lack of proper mechanisms, they remain ineffective.[1]

Surging of atrocities across the world

During this time of pandemic where everyone around the world is facing difficulties, it is really inhuman for the public to discriminate between the people based on their caste and color. The demise of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man has triggered violent unrest in Minneapolis. This happening brought the fore interest over law imposition against the African-American minority[2]. The purpose of the powerful slogan like 'Black Lives Matter' which is reverberating across the US has also taken place in India in a form of 'Dalit Lives Matters' which directly targets the Indian state and Police for the atrocities and brutality committed by them to the specific communities.

According to the report collected by NDMJ- NCSPA-NCDHR, ‘92 cases of atrocities have been reported across India during the lockdown period. This includes Caste discrimination, the practice of untouchability, physical and sexual assaults, police atrocities, the plight of migrant workers, Murder, death due to hunger, death in Shramik special trains, etc’. However, despite the rising of such cases, the indifference shown by the media houses in covering the issues against the marginalized communities is a great matter of concern.[3]

Minorities Rights under the Indian Constitution


Indian constitution has granted us numerous prerequisites to protect the right of minorities from exploitation. Article 15 and 16 of the Indian Constitution talk about the forbidding of the discrimination against any citizen on the grounds of Race, Religion, Caste, and so on and provides an equal chance in the circumstance relating to public employment [4]. Article 17 has abolished Untouchability[5]. Article 25 allows the equality of freedom of conscience with the right to willingly profess, practice, and procreate any religion[6]. Article 29 provides the preservation of the interest of minorities. It says, that every person can preserve the diverse language, script or culture of its own and no citizen shall be discriminated on the ground of race, religion, caste, language or any of them.[7]

Article 30 talks about minorities to create and regulate the educational institutions of their choice. That doesn’t matter whether such a minority is on the rationale of language or religion. This article uses the term minority but the Indian constitution has not given any definition for the same. but whenever the need arose judiciary has delivered various judgments that have cleared the definition and scope of minorities.[8]

The case of D.A.V. College v. the State of Punjab, It was carried that notwithstanding the fact that the Hindus are in preponderance in the nation, they can be treated as a minority in the state of Punjab for the with the objective of preserving their language under Article 29 of the Indian Constitution [9]

The case, Arya Samaj Education Trust, Delhi and Others v Director of Education, Delhi Administration, Delhi, and Others was argued for the determination of minority status. It was held that Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs were regarded as a separate religious community from the Hindus Therefore they are the minority under Article 30(1) of the Indian Constitution. Not every religious congregation can be considered as a minority.[10]

In T.M.A. Pai Foundation and others v State of Karnataka and Others, it was held that since India has diversified culture and it is largely divided into the linguistic lines so minorities will be deduced on the rationale of the state as a unit, not the whole of India. Moreover, it was also observed that any law or rule or legislation would be struck down if it put the educational establishments run by the minorities at an impediment [11].

Conclusion

Notwithstanding the provision in our constitution, Dalits continues to persist in the most impoverished class of our civilization. It is a custom in many places that a Dalit while going from one place to another will tie broom around his waist so that his footsteps are cleared on the earth. The untouchability malady monopolized the upper Hindu caste intellect even at this time of human predicament. Dalit women confront dual intolerance on the basis of both cast and gender and they are deprived of sanitization and wellness program which is the need of every woman. They continue to debarred from holy places and the temples.

The safety of minorities that can be achieved through proper implementation of the government mechanisms and solidarity between all the classes of the community. There is no need to argue for change, even a solitary person can bring a change like Savitri Phule Ji Lai Tha and Ram Ambedkar Ji.


References

[1] World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples, World Directory of minorities and indigenous people Rights (July 5, 2020), https://minorityrights.org/minorities/dalits/

[2] Explained: Why George Floyd’s death sparked violent protests across the United States, Indian Express (July 5, 2020), https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/george-floyd-death-violent-protests-explained-6434207/

[3] Surge in atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis under COVID-19 lockdown in India reported, International Dalit Society Network (July 5, 2020), https://idsn.org/surge-in-atrocities-against-dalits-and-adivasis-under-covid-19-lockdown-in-india-reported/


[4] INDIA CONST. art 16.

[5] INDIA CONST. art 17.

[6] INDIA CONST. art 25.

[7] INDIA CONST. art 29.

[8] INDIA CONST. art 30.

[9] D.A.V. COLLEGE, BHATINDA, ETC. VERSUS THE STATE OF PUNJAB AND OTHERS - LNIND 1971 SC 284 (1971) 2 SCC 261AIR 1971 SC 1731AIR 1971 SC 1737[1971] Supp SCR 677[1971] Supp SCR 688LNIND 1971 SC 284

[10] Arya Samaj Education Trust, Delhi and Others v Director of Education, Delhi Administration, Delhi, and Others, 1975 Indlaw DEL 122

[11] T.M.A. Pai Foundation and others v State of Karnataka and Others,2002 Indlaw SC 1375

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