Saturday, January 24, 2004

Message of Dalit Voice Summarized

Dear Editor,

I receive a lot of letters suggesting that minority religions should 'unite' with Dalits and low castes of India and become a permanent majority. I answer individually but since my response might be of interest to many more, I am making a public response.

It is true that five per cent Brahmins plus ten per cent other high castes rule India. The remaining eighty five per cent are the victims of the most vicious form of apartheid that ever existed any where. But the caste structure of India is more complex than those lving outside India understand. I have been reading Dalit Voice for several years and I understand a bit more. There are three planks to Dalit efforts to fight oppression and exploitation.

1. To assert that Dalits are not Hindus; they are the original inhabitants of India that populated the land before the Aryan immigration into the sub-continent and imposition of the caste system by them.

2. Dalits have been denied nourishment (by imposition of vegetarianism) and education (restricted by Brahmins to themselves) for so long that in multilingual India their jati (ethnic identity) is their only political identity. Since they constitute majority in many states of India, Dalits can secure their rights by jati solidarity in politics (elections) and in social activism.

3. The Brahmins and high caste rule India by their control over the press, education, judiciary, administration and national politics and popularise a view of history in which some foreign force is the villain and they the vanguard of resistance. This is the same methodology that was used by the Nazis to rule Germany and now by Zionists to rule America. Dalits in India would never escape the Brahmin stranglehold without internationalising their problem. They would get redress more readily by aligning themselves against all the present day Nazis - high castes in India, and racist Neo-Conservatives in America.

Unity can never be brought about without clear objectives. Dalits have a clear objective now. They want to rule the states in India in which they are in majority. To sustain their position in power they seek to ally themselves with all the oppressed of India including religious minorities - Muslims, Christians and Sikhs.

I am impressed with the clarity of thinking and mounting self confidence of Dalits. The Editor of Dalit Voice - V.T.Rajshekar - is now the most articulate and effective voice of Dalits of India whose advice and political line carries weight not merely with Dalit political parties but with oppressed all over the world. I suggest that Muslims and Christians in India should form chapters and vote en bloc for Dalit parties in their states.


Usman Khalid
Director London Institute of South Asia

Source:, January 24, 2004


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