Still untouchable

The politics of religious conversion
In their long struggle for equality, India’s dalits, or “untouchables,” have often exchanged their Hinduism for Islam, Christianity, Sikhism or Buddhism, believing that they will better their lives by doing so. They have been persuaded that Hinduism, with its varna ashramas (caste distinctions), has been solely responsible for all their ills. But when they switch to other religious faiths and experience the same distinctions—albeit in different forms—they realize that such a change neither improves their social status nor remedies their economic problems of unemployment and poverty—the real source of their social discrimination.

 

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