This beautiful article written by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, appeared in the Hindustan Times: http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_1930245,00120001.htm. Key points in the article with my notes:

  • Every morning the Puja in Tirupati temple is first offered by the Scheduled Caste Banjara community
  • Dalits have to assert their rights rather than turning their back on Hinduism; It isn’t solving anything otherwise
  • Dalits have remained dalits even after conversion […to Islam, Christianity and Buddhism. I have witnessed posters in Leh to stop the practice of casteism in Buddhism; Dalit Muslims are recognised by the government of India as the most oppressed. Even Pakistan has Dalit Muslims. There are even Dalit Sikhs in India. More on this point: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalit_(outcaste)]
  • Hinduism has seen several reformers who have fought casteism
  • The author of Ramayana was a Dalit [More on this point: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backward-caste_Hindu_Saints]
  • Hinduism without a top central command cannot dictate a change; the change must come by assertion by the practitioners of the religion itself

Art of Living Foundation of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, is organising a Dalit Swarn Sammelan to put forward a 7 point action plan and take the message to rural India. These Seven points are:

  • Temple entry for Dalits
  • Collective celebration including community feasts
  • Abolition of separate utensils for Dalits
  • Empowerment of women from economically weaker sections of society
  • Providing educational facilities especially to weaker sections of society
  • Providing spiritual and religious education to Dalit children, which they have been deprived of for hundreds of years
  • Equality and justice for one and all without any discrimination.
A time to heal

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