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Modern Indian Religions - Research Paper Example

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Modern Indian Religions

Ambedkar, emphasizes the role of God in religion and its influence in bringing social changes and hence laying the foundation for an egalitarian society. B.R. Ambedkar, pioneered and demanded for a revolutionary change in the caste system by fighting for equal rights for India's lower classes - known as the untouchables. Post independence he drafted the Indian Constitution and defended the ethnic and religious minorities by advocating their rights and reserving a secure place for them in the society through quotas, ensuring them government jobs and thus laying a foundation of social equality. He inspired the Dalit Buddhism movement in India with a view to eradicate the biased treatment meted out to the social outcasts on the basis of their religion. It led to mass conversions among the lower classes who converted to Buddhism. He spearheaded the first Dalit movement in the Indian state of Maharashtra and launched efforts and programs to eradicate illiteracy among the Dalits, by setting up newspapers and establishing political parties to support the cause. He also contributed in campaigning for acquiring religious rights for the Dalits and played a key role in lifting the ban which prohibited the Dalits from entering Hindu places of worship. This paper on modern Indian religions discusses the impact and influence of Dalit Buddhism in bridging the gap between the higher castes and the lower castes / the untouchables i.e. the Dalits....
Although Dalit Buddhism was a new religion introduced by Ambedkar the fundamental principles were borrowed and based on Buddha's preaching. According to Ambedkar the Dalits were not Hindus, and hence he embraced Buddhism which is silent on the existence of god. Dalit Buddhism is based on this lack of denial or acknowledgement of the concept of god, since it is perceived as an attempt to rationalize the concept of god. Thus, Buddhism is often described as a theist religion rather than an atheist one. The Tibetans view the Dalai Lama as a reincarnation of Buddha - the god, and in the same vein, the Dalits in India view Ambedkar - their savior as reincarnation of god (Karunyakara, 2002). Dalit Buddhism was founded as a means of liberating the oppressed and socially outcast people in India from the clutches of Hinduism. Buddhism as a religion offers the freedom to the modern Indian society to embrace equality and respond to the challenges posed by a highly hegemonic Hindu - Brahmin society. In a society where casteism is rampant and there is an apparent bias / prejudice against the Dalits, Buddhism offers an opportunity to the Dalits to reconstruct their own cultural world, which reinstates the values, beliefs, and ideals relevant to the Dalits in a Hindu dominated society (Ambedkar, 1980). Impact of religion in building an egalitarian society: Religion plays a key role in social and political aspects in India. Hindu Brahmins assume positions of greater significance in the socio-cultural spheres of life while teh Dalits are treated as outcasts and suffer great injustice across various sectors in the society. Dr. Ambedkar, through the introduction of Dalit Buddhism ...Show more

Summary

The caste system among the Hindus is one of the oldest and widely prevalent norms in the Indian social hierarchy, which has contributed to wide scale disparities between the Hindu Brahmins and the Dalits…
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