Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Dalits converted to Buddhism in Bangalore

Bangalore, October 14: Coinciding with this day in 1956, when the architect of Indian Constitution, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar embraced Buddhism, hundreds of Dalits from various parts of karnataka, on Tuesday converted to the same religion, after taking a pledge to renounce Hinduism.

They took the 22-point oath that Ambedkar administered at "dharma" initiation to embrace Buddhism at Nagpur in 1956, at the function organised by the Boudha dharma deeksha committee, including different Dalit bodies and international Buddhist youth organisation.

In their oath, they renounced Hinduism and said that they "firmly believe that Dharma of Buddha is the only true religion".

The number of conversions fell very much short of the claims of the organisers who had projected that 50,000 would embrace Buddhism.

The exact number of people who embraced Buddhism at the gathering, where there were participants from various districts of karnataka, was not available. Organisers said that they were in the process of compiling the number of registrations.

Speakers at the function claimed that Dalits were suffering because of the caste hierarchy in Hinduism and Tuesday's move was to restore their self-respect.

Source: The Indian Express, October 14, 2003


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