DALIT CHRISTIAN ISSUES
A SURVEY OF INDIAN RELIGIONS
At various times, various groups of Dalits converted to various non-Hindu religions. Some embraced Sikhism, Buddhism, Islam or Jainism. The Dalit Christians, of course , are those who embraced Christianity. Apart from the supernatural aspects of the Christian faith, one human factor may well have been the hope of rising to a measure of equality with others and of attaining some measure of human dignity in this world. In their transition to a new identity, this hope has been realised to some extent but not totally. The roots of casteism are deep: casteism pervades all walks of life, even the realm of religion. In practice, the Dalits remained 'Dalits' regardless of religion. A Dalit is a Dalit whether he is a Hindu or a Muslim or a Buddhist or a Christian. Even as members of various Christian communities, Christan Dalits suffer the same ancient segregation, oppression and unjust discrimination, the same social, educational and economic disabilities, only now at the hands of their fellow Christians of the upper castes. . Conversion into the new faith has not redeemed them from their 'dalitness', the stigma of 'Untouchablity'. Dalit and untouchable they have remained, even within the Christian communities. Among the 25 million Christians in India, 20 million are Dalits: the Dalits constitute the vast majority of the Christians .
A View of the Indian Religions
Percent of total population of India
Current Statistics of Dalits According to their Religion
20% of the Indian population is considered to be of Dalit origin. This means that there are 200 million people who belong to the Scheduled Castes. They practise different religions. In addition to this 20% who are in the Scheduled Castes, there is a further 10% of the Indian population who are categorized as the Scheduled Tribes , making a total of 30% who are outside the main stream of the population of India.
Religious groups as percentages of the total Dalit population of India