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And you, what's your little name?

Today we celebrate in India Ambedkar’s birthday (you can google it ; to sum-up he was an untouchable who fought to suppress the cast system and finally converted to Buddhism when he understood it would not happen within Hinduism ; he later on participated to wirtting the Indian Constitution).


Talking about him to a colleague, I heard for the first time that “Ambedkar was a backward”. A what?? Translating in my language, it is just SO insulting!!

Nice to imagine the father seeing his baby for the first time: “you will be a backward my son”…


But that’s not all, the backwards have other nice pet names!


Actually, in India, there are the casts and the other (also called Lower castes).

The Lower castes are divided in 3 :


·         The « Scheduled Castes » (15% of the population) – the dictionary translates « Scheduled Castes » by «privileged classes » (maybe it’s some kind of humour ??). They used to be the untouchables – who call themselves « Dalit » (depressed) and were called by gandhians « Harijan » (children of God – and other people, there are children of whom, mind you?).


·         The « Scheduled Tribes » or « Adivasi » (which means aboriginals): people living in the jungle.


·         The « Backward Classes » (50% of the population) : « This category includes in it castes who belong to Sudra Varna and also former untouchables who converted from Hinduism to other religions. This category also includes in it nomads and tribes who made a living from criminal acts. »


Sometimes these three categories are defined together as Backward Classes.


Today,” untouchability or discriminating a person based on his caste is legally forbidden.”

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