, also called Outcaste
, is a self-designation for a group of people traditionally regarded as Untouchables
. Dalits are a mixed population of numerous caste groups all over South Asia, and speak various languages.
While the caste system
has been abolished under the Indian constitution
, Since Indian independence, significant steps have been taken to provide opportunities in jobs and education. Many social organizations have encouraged proactive provisions to better the conditions of Dalits through improved education, health and employment.
There are many different names proposed for defining this group of people like 'Panchamas' (5<sup>th</sup> varna), 'Ashprush' (untouchables), 'Harijans
' (Children of God), 'Dalits' (Broken People) etc. The constitution of India recognizes them as Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
The word "Dalit" comes from the Sanskrit
, and means "ground", "suppressed", "crushed", or "broken to pieces" (Urdu-speakers, reference word 'dalya', ground grains turned into a paste). It was first used by Jyotirao Phule
in the nineteenth century, in the context of the oppression faced by the erstwhile "untouchable" castes of the twice-born
Hindus.Oliver Mendelsohn, Marika Vicziany. The untouchables:......