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Untouchability Outside Hinduism

The caste system has permeated other religions in India, and untouchables exist in Christianity, Islam, and Sikhism, although without scriptural legitimacy. A movement among Dalit Christians for equal rights within the church is especially strong.

Many Dalits attended the 2001 United Nations conference on racism in Durban, contending that "descent-based" groups suffer the same discrimination as racial groups, a concept opposed by the government of India. Caste-like discrimination has been found in some other countries, with the Burakumin of Japan suffering in much the same way as Indian untouchables, although the rest of the caste hierarchy was not present.


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——. "The Untouchables." In Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, Writings and Speeches, edited by Vasant Moon, vol. 7. Bombay: Education Department, Government of Maharashtra, 1990.

Broken People: Caste Violence against India's Untouchables. New York: Human Rights Watch, 1999.

Chokhamela. On the Threshold: Songs of Chokhamela. Translated by Rohini Mokashi-Punekar. Delhi: Book Review Literary Trust, 2002.

Deliège, Robert. The Untouchables of India. Translated by Nora Scott. Oxford: Berg, 1999.

Dumont, Louis. Homo Hierarchicus: The Caste System and Its Implications. Translated by Mark Sainsbury, Louis Dumont, and Basia Gulati. Rev. ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980.

Jha, Vivekananda. "Stages in the History of Untouchables." Indian Historical Review 2 (1975): 14–31.

Mendelsohn, Oliver, and Marika Vicziany. The Untouchables: Subordination, Poverty, and the State in Modern India. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

Moon, Vasant. Growing Up Untouchable: A Dalit Autobiography. Translated by Gail Omvedt. Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, 2001.

Singh, K. S. The Scheduled Castes. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Valmiki, Omprakash. Joothan: An Untouchable's Life. Translated by Arun Prabha Mukherjee. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003.

Zelliot, Eleanor. From Untouchable to Dalit: Essays on the Ambedkar Movement. 3rd ed. New Delhi: Manohar, 2001.

Zelliot, Eleanor, and Rohini Mokashi-Punekar, eds. Untouchable Saints: An Indian Phenomenon. New Delhi: Manohar, 2004.

Eleanor Zelliot

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Two-envelope paradox to VenusUntouchability - The Origin Of Untouchability, The Voices Of Untouchables, The Beginnings Of "affirmative Action", The Contemporary Period