For the dalit movement in india pdf term, see Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Hindi, is a term mostly used for the castes in India that have been subjected to untouchability. Dalits were excluded from the four-fold varna system of Hinduism and thought of themselves as forming a fifth varna, describing themselves as Panchama.
Dalits now profess various religious beliefs, including Buddhism, Christianity and Sikhism. The term dalits was in use as a translation for the British Raj census classification of Depressed Classes prior to 1935. It was popularised by the economist and reformer B.
Dalit, and in the 1970s its use was invigorated when it was adopted by the Dalit Panthers activist group. Dalit has encompassed more communities than the official term of Scheduled Castes and is sometimes used to refer to all of India’s oppressed peoples.
A similar all-encompassing situation prevails in Nepal. 6 per cent of India’s population, according to the 2011 Census of India. Similar communities are found throughout the rest of South Asia, in Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
They have emigrated to countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Singapore and the Caribbean. In 1932, the British Raj recommended separate electorates to select leaders for Dalits in the Communal Award. This was favoured by Ambedkar but when Mahatma Gandhi opposed the proposal it resulted in the Poona Pact. That in turn influenced the Government of India Act, 1935, which introduced the reservation of seats for the Depressed Classes, now re-named as Scheduled Castes.