Sunday, May 27, 2007

Dalit's and Conversion

I know that people here mostly do believe me when I say a given thing, even though I don't do too many links. (I decided not to because, really, I'd just cherry pick the links, anyway, which I find to be slightly dishonest. I fully expect -- indeed, encourage -- people who doubt what I say to check for themselves!) But recently I mentioned Hinduism as being of a piece with Christianity and Islam in terms of backwardsness.

It seems that today the the BBC has a story about that very backwardsness, and people's attempts to get out from under it. What you've got is a bunch of Dalits -- casteless Hindus -- that are about to convert en masse to Buddhism to try to escape the oppression of the caste system.

The article mentions a few things I will bring up here without too much comment. The first is that right-wing Hindus want to make laws to restrict conversion (and have in several states that are controlled by the BJP, which is basically the Hindu Nazi Party, and I say that full well knowing what I say). The second is that conversion doesn't really protect former Dalits -- Hindus still regard them as Dalits, even after the conversion. And, three, Christians trying to convert people in India face the real possibility of physical violence.


Krystalline Apostate said...

Yeah, India is an ass-backwards country all right.
Dan Simmons, in his novel Song of Kali (not his best, not his worst), says something to the effect that, 'Here's a country that has had 1000's of years of civilization, but still can't master indoor plumbing.' (para)
To be fair, though, there have been some efforts made to get rid of the 'untouchability' caste (not the people, the concept).

Chris Bradley said...

There have been some attempts to get rid of the untouchability of the Dalits, yeah, but in many places it's still considered legitimate for upper caste people to literally murder Dalits. So, the success that has been achieved in urban areas much be, I think, balanced by the savagery of the rural ones.

I suspect I'm preaching to the choir, tho', hehe.