Dalits in India: From Marginalisation to Inclusion

16 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2013

Date Written: September 10, 2013


It is said that that India is at the threshold of a Dalit Revolution, dalits being the most marginalised people in India. This paper opens a debate on participation and poverty of dalits in India’s social and economic spheres by introducing the lens of ‘inclusion’ to arrive at a more nuanced understanding of the issue. It highlights and discusses the present conditions and challenges of India’s 167 million of oppressed and marginalised sections of society who – by and large – have for thousands of years – remained neglected and ignored in the social milieu. The dalits have suffered cumulative domination, protested several sources of deprivation, political powerlessness, exploitation and poverty. These protests and movements have no doubt given organisational shape and resulted in social awareness and political consciousness to develop self-respect and feelings of power-sharing. Economic and social “welfare measures”, along with political reforms have tried to address vital issues in dalit resurgence. There is some transformation in this sense. The revival of ‘Ambedkarism’ and dalit movement should be assessed in this context. Despite political empowerment dalits live in situations of social discrimination, physical violence and abject poverty. Around 50 per cent of the quantum of welfare measures is still unfulfilled. We need to explore social, cultural, political and economic factors (e.g. caste, class, gender, education, state, etc) in the context of dalit people’s access to rights, resources, employment and security. The focus now needs to be on dalit emancipation, rights and inclusive growth, both within ‘dalitology’ and the new pedagogy of inclusive growth. Political reality – whether in case of agitations or administration – must admit social equality within caste dynamics. This indeed is a challenge.

Keywords: Ambedkar, caste, dalit, India, marginalisation, transformation

JEL Classification: I38, J15, J71, Z12, Z13

Suggested Citation

Hans, V. Basil, Dalits in India: From Marginalisation to Inclusion (September 10, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2323268 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2323268

V. Basil Hans (Contact Author)

Srinivas University ( email )


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