17 October 2017
AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook
Geographic areas

  • > Africa
  • > Central Asia
  • > Europe
  • > Middle East
  • > Nord America
  • > North Asia
  • > South Asia
  • > South East Asia
  • > South West Asia
  • > Sud America
  • > East Asia

  • » 05/10/2010, 00.00


    Census of castes underway, a hope for Dalit Christians

    Nirmala Carvalho

    The Church and human rights organizations support the tremendous task of collecting data that is beginning in the country. The government "will be forced to open their eyes to the reality of caste discrimination, and do something to resolve the situation."

    New Delhi (AsiaNews) - The census even based on caste “is a good idea. The last one we did in 1931, and it is important that the government knows the conditions in which all castes live. It is very useful also that it be underlined once and for all that changing religion does not in any way change the socio-economic status of a person”; Fr. Cosmon Arokiaraj, secretary of the Episcopal Commission for Scheduled Castes tells AsiaNews.  Dalits, the "untouchables" of Indian social system are a key sector for the Indian Church, counting for 70% of their faithful, a total of 16 million people.

    What is about to begin is the fifteenth census in the history of India: by next year, about 2 and a half million civil servants will visit about 7 thousand cities and 600 thousand villages in the country to ask for data on fifteen key parameters. Among these, age, sex, caste, literacy, religion and economic situation. Everything will be collected and presented by the end of 2011.

    According to Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi, human rights activist and winner of the prestigious Gwanju Prize, this endeavour will “force the government to open its eyes to the situation of the untouchables, and then implement the recommendations submitted by the Minorities Commission. We will have a picture of how Christians and Muslims of the lower classes live: the Government, based on data of 1931, pretends to ignore these people, and many are living without rights. "

    Until now, the activist continues, "these people are only employed by non-governmental organizations, Christian groups and those for minorities. Now the government will do something social discrimination based on caste is a reality in the country, which can no longer be ignored. We will finally have places reserved for lower castes, and a greater allocation of money to carry out development plans. "

    However, Raghuvanshi warns, "there is always the great risk of corruption: a survey like this could pave the way for the ambitious plan for a unique identity card, but there is the risk of further discriminate, with a semblance of legality, against religious minorities .

    e-mail this to a friend Printable version

    See also

    23/02/2016 14:34:00 INDIA
    Agreement reached between the government and Jama 10 million people still without water

    The state representatives have succumbed to the demands of the Jat community:  downgraded and included among quota for government jobs. The Jat are an influential caste, which has at least 10 elected chief minister in Haryana and controls a third of the state assembly. The protests have left  20 dead and more than 200 injured, with an estimated damage of 2.5 billion euro.

    26/05/2011 INDIA
    At least 2 thousand Dalits convert to Buddhism to escape marginalization
    According to the Scheduled Castes Order, only Dalit Hindus and Buddhists can enjoy the rights provided for their status. Christians and Muslims loose all rights, including the right to political representation. But even within Christianity, non Dalits alienate their outcast brothers and sisters.

    13/12/2016 18:28:00 INDIA
    Indian bishops approve action plan for Dalits

    Caste discrimination is still evident, even in the Church. A country-wide policy recognises Dalits in their intrinsic human value. Twelve of India’s 19 million Catholics are Dalits. The State does not recognise them the same rights and privileges as other Dalits.

    01/12/2009 INDIA
    World AIDS Day: Indian Catholics at the forefront in the care for the sick
    About 80% of centres that deal with HIV is run by the Catholic Church. 140 institutes across the country, for the treatment of disease and improvement in quality of life. More than one million children orphaned by HIV, discriminated against at school and abandoned by their family.

    19/04/2017 17:24:00 INDIA
    For Bihar nun, working for Dalit liberation is faith in action

    Sister Poonam belongs to the Congregation of Jesus, which was established by Mary Ward. She is part of a movement of consecrated people who are also social activists. In India 70 per cent of Catholics are Dalits. Nuns and priests "must be prophetic voices in the Church and society,” and raise awareness about the marginalised, identify leaders and educate them.

    Editor's choices

    Rohingya not only group persecuted in Myanmar, Christian minorities are as well

    Ethnic Kachin, Chin and Naga endure suffering. Religious discrimination is in some cases even institutionalised. Christians are seen as the expression of a foreign religion, outside of the nationalist view. For years the military regime has applied stringent discriminatory measures.

    The world is in urgent need of the Church's mission

    Bernardo Cervellera

    October is a month devoted to awakening the call to mission among Christians. In the world there is indifference or enmity towards God and the Church. Religions are considered the source of all wars. Christianity is the encounter with a Person who changes the life of the believer and places him at the service of the wounds of the world, torn by frustrations and fratricidal wars. The example of the Patriarch of Baghdad and of the President of South Korea.


    AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.


    News feed

    Canale RSScanale RSS 

    Add to Google


    IRAN 2016 Banner

    2003 © All rights reserved - AsiaNews C.F. e P.Iva: 00889190153 - GLACOM®