Navigating Identity: The World of Dalit Christians

  Aug 16, 2023

Dalit Christians

Q1: What was the purpose of the commission headed by K.G. Balakrishnan?

A1: The commission, headed by former Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan, was constituted by the Union Government to study the possibility of granting Scheduled Caste (SC) status to Dalit Christians.

Q2: What recent development has taken place in this regard?

A2: The Tamil Nadu Assembly recently adopted a resolution to amend the 1950 Presidential (SC) order to grant SC status to Dalit Christians.

Q3: What were the recommendations of the Justice Ranganath Misra Commission (2007) and Deshpande and Bapna (2008) regarding this issue?

A3: The Justice Ranganath Misra Commission recommended allowing Dalits who converted to Christianity to avail of reservation benefits under the SC quota. Deshpande and Bapna's findings stated that there is no compelling evidence to deny Dalit Christians SC status.

Q4: What was B.R. Ambedkar's perspective on Hinduism and conversion?

A4: B.R. Ambedkar characterized Hinduism as a "chamber of horror" for the "Untouchables" and believed that millions of Hindu Dalits converted to more egalitarian religions like Christianity to escape caste-based discrimination.

Q5: What is the main argument of this article?

A5: The central argument of the article is that the hope for equality, which led many Hindu Dalits to convert to Christianity, has not been fully realized. This has led to contradictions and ambiguities in their identity, and their expected upward social mobility has not materialized due to various factors, including the continuation of untouchability practices within the church.

Q6: How does the "Theory of Intersectionality" relate to the Dalit Christian situation?

A6: The "Theory of Intersectionality" helps understand the complex challenges faced by Dalit Christians by considering their caste identity alongside their religious minority status. It highlights the inadequacy of a "single-axis framework" that doesn't account for the intersection of various forms of oppression, such as caste, religion, race, gender, etc.

Q7: How does intersectionality impact the discrimination faced by Dalit Christians?

A7: Intersectionality reveals the unique discrimination faced by Dalit Christians due to the intersection of their Dalit identity and their religious minority identity. This discrimination affects their experiences in society, the church, and the state.

Q8: How has the legal framework contributed to the challenges faced by Dalit Christians?

8: The legal framework's "single-axis framework" approach has excluded Dalit Christians from SC status, despite their continued experiences of caste-based discrimination after conversion. This has led to an "intersectional invisibility" where their specific challenges are not adequately addressed.

Q9: What is the suggested way forward to address the issue of Dalit Christians' status?

A9: The article suggests amending the 1950 Presidential (SC) order to include Dalit Christians in the SC list. This would require a change in the legal framework to address the specific challenges faced by Dalit Christians.
(This is a one sided piece. Read our textbook for a rounded view)


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