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Dalit Poverty

Dalit Poverty

Indian Economy

Poverty of Dalits in India cannot be treated as a snap shot at a given instant of time. The role played by the 1000-year Islamic rule, 200-year Christian rule and 60 year Socialist- Marxist rule must be considered.  A second factor is the economy of the UK itself that resulted in the utter impoverishment of Indian people. Furthermore, one must look at countries like Canada and the US to see if Christianity was blamed for the poverty of nonwhites in these countries. In general, the blame is attributed to the governments and to the religions that propped up these governments. Hinduism never was in power in these 1260 years.

The table shows Angus Maddison data plotted below where the x-axis is telescoped at the end.

Year CE







































Notice the following factors from the table:

  1. From 32% of world GDP in 1 CE India’s share fell to 24% in 1700 UNDER MUSLIM RULE.
  2. From this figure, it fell to 4.2% in 1950 under Christian British rule.
  3. It fell further to 3.1% in 1973 under Socialist/Marxist economy of Nehru/Indira Gandhi
  4. UK rose from 0.3% in 1 CE to 2.9% in 1700.
  5. UK continues to rise to 9% in 1870 and falls to 5.6 in 1950 and 4.2 in 1973.
  6. After this UK CONTINUES TO FALL.
  8. Indian Economy fell under Muslim, British rule and socialism of Nehru – Gandhi family.
  9. Muslims in 1000 years, Christians in 200 years and Socialists - Marxists in 60 years didn’t better the living conditions of Dalits.

Maddison says on Page 117:

“about three quarters of domestic demand for luxury handicrafts was destroyed. This was a shattering blow to manufacturers of fine muslins, jewelry, luxury clothing and footwear, decorative swords and weapons.’

“The second blow came from massive imports of cheap textiles from England. Home spinning which was a part-time activity of village women, was greatly reduced.”

He does not mention the destruction of steel mills and shipping industry.

After PM Rao introduced economic reforms Indian economy picked up. Dalits who took advantage of free enterprise flourished producing many millionaires in their community.

Sonia Gandhi replaced Mr. Rao with Singh to head a coalition of Congress with Marxist parties that prompted Mr. S. Gurumurthy to coin the phrase “ten-year hiatus of slow growth.”

Sonia Gandhi, a Christian crusader, knew poverty of Dalits was crucial factor in conversions.

Sonia Gandhi invited a Pope who incanted: “First millennium for Europe, second millennium for Americas and Oceania and third millennium for India.”

Dalits Respond Magnificently as Business Beckons

The Dalits faced social and income problems for 1260 years. Independent India’s attempts through reservations in jobs to improve their lot achieved limited success.  Empowerment through democracy and economic opportunities over 20 years saw the emergence of a class - “Dalit millionaires”.

“They have now established a Dalit Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Mumbai. It is no more than a start. But at long last, some Dalits have ceased to be objects of pity, and become objects of envy.” (TOI).

Economic problems of Dalits are not the doings of Hinduism.

Meet the Dalit millionaires, a list that will grow with time.

  • Ashok Khade    -  The tree that keeps growing
  • Kalpana Saroj   -   Unlimited Imagination
  • Ratilal Makwana -  Beating the Boycott
  • Malkit Chand      -   Money grows on Trees
  • Savitaben Parmar -   Coal changed my Fortunes
  • Bhagavan Bawai   -   Rags to Riches
  • Harsh Bhaskar      -    The Science of Success
  • Devjibhai Makwana -   The Threads of Success
  • Harikrishan Pippal    -   Left Home to Conquer the World
  • Atul Paswar              -    Made in Japan
  • Devikanandan Son   -    Gobar Chowki to Taj Plaza
  • Jisi Phulia                 -     Ambition Takes Flight
  • Sarath Babu             -     Engineering an Idli
  • Sanjay Kshirsagar     -     From Chawl to Skyscraper
  • Swwapinal Bhingardevay  -  I had a dream too
  • Read their inspiring stories to learn how they overcame societal and business pressures to become highly successful. Meet Ashok Khade who did not have four annas to replace the nib of a pen, Kalpana Saroj a child bride, or Sanjay Kshirsagar who lived in a 120-foot tenement, who became multi-millionaires.  “The only common thread through these stories is the spirit that if you can imagine it, you can do it.” (Book review)

Dalits answer resoundingly to Political Opportunities

In the Governance, the Dalits seized the opportunities to become a Founding Father of modern India, a President of India, a Chief Justice of India, several Chief Ministers of States, Ministers at Centre and in States and several MLAs and MPs.

This list by no means is exhaustive. In Telugu language, a Dalit Gurram Joshua became extremely popular as writer and poet and won many awards.

In all spheres of life Dalits progressed and occupied highest positions.

Comparison to Other Jurisdictions:

The genocide of First Nation peoples in Canada and US and eradication of tribes in Australia and New Zealand along with murders, rapes, banishments and other heinous crimes were wrought by Christians. The Residential Schools in Canada are the biggest blot on civilization but we don’t hear criticism of Christianity. Yet any problem with Dalits is thrown at Hinduism.

We know as religions go Christians are better organized and financed than Hindus. The structure works top down and easy to manipulate. There is no central authority in Hinduism from which orders are issued. In any corner of India at any time, a new Swami may crop up and build a group of followers.

There are laws in modern India under which social practices such as untouchability are punishable.

Hindus never governed India since 8th century.

To blame Hinduism under these circumstances for the poverty of Dalits is disingenuous.

Further Reading:

  1. Angus Maddison, The World Economy, 2007.
  2.    Little Graph, World Economy 1-2000 AD, DEREK THOMPSON, June19,2012, ATLANTIC 

Author: Dr. Nellutla Naveena Chandra

Published: March 23, 2017

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