Forty people from eight Dalit communities in Dombicheri Village, Tamil Nadu, India, recently embraced Islam after discovering that life among the upper caste Hindus was a nightmare, and that Islam is a religion of peace and equality for all, regardless of caste, race, colouror gender.
In India, the caste system is defined as an “old historical legacy” associated with Hinduism (Policy Perspectives 30 June 2011). Dalits are the lowest caste members of India’s Hindu caste system, literally meaning “broken people” or “oppressed” in Hindi. The caste system is made up of Brahmins (priests), Ksyatriyas (warriors), Vaisyas (farmers), Shudras (laborer-artisans), and Dalits, who are regarded so contaminated that they are casteless, despite the fact that their population numbers in millions in India’s major states.Dalits, or “Untouchables,” continue to face terrible caste prejudice and are victims of physical and sexual assault in Indian society. Dalits are frequently forced to eat and drink from separate containers at restaurants, attend separate religious ceremonies, walk long distances for water, and work in deplorable conditions.
The 40 Dalits who embraced Islam reveal that they are constantly harassed by upper caste Hindus as they are not being allowed to drink tea or coffee in local eateries or roadside tea shops because of their lower caste rank. They also claimed that when walking down the street, their men were beaten up, their ladies were teased, and sexual words and gestures were directed at them.
For Dalits, the caste system has historically meant a life of deprivation. Dalits, for example, performed tasks that the rest of Indian culture deemed ritually filthy, such as handling carcasses, disposing of human waste (also known as manual scavenging), sweeping streets, or cobbling (considered degrading because of its association with feet and leather). Dalits were also treated badly by members of upper castes, particularly Brahmins. For example, if a Dalit’s shadow fell on them, they would have to bathe, they would not consume Dalit food, and they would not drink from the same wells as Dalits. Dalit women were frequently compelled to work as sexual slaves for upper-caste men. Those who dared to defy the caste system were beaten, raped, tortured, hanged, and burned.
Furthermore, according to an Oxfam research from 2020, the wealthiest 10% of India’s population owns 74.3 percent of the country’s total wealth, while the middle 40% and bottom 50% hold 22.9 percent and 2.8 percent, respectively. Despite the fact that the Indian government rejects the problem of Dalit mistreatment, multiple stories of violence and discrimination show that Dalits are still India’s “broken people.”
In terms of Islam, the notion of equality or equity is a fundamental component of the Islamic value system. Islam declares that all people are equal, regardless of their religion, skin colour, language, gender, or ethnic heritage. Muslims are brothers to one another, and by spreading the idea of equality, Muslims form one brotherhood and humanity.
Islamic history shows that slaves and outcasts of the community have been lifted up by Islam. The entire world can see that no seat in the mosque is reserved for any dignitary or VIP. Rich and poor, white and black, educated and laypeople all stand together during prayer. Muslims from all around the world congregate in Mecca for the yearly pilgrimage. They speak different languages, yet they all execute the same ceremonies. As far as Allah is concerned, the stock of man, the colour of his skin, the quantity of riches he possesses, and the level of reputation he enjoys have no influence on the character and personality of the individual. The only distinction that Allah acknowledges is that of piety and the only criteria that Allah applies is that of righteousness and spiritual quality.
This is to say that no nation is founded in Islam with the intention of becoming superior to or rising over others. Race, colour, and social position distinctions are purely coincidental. Allah is not prejudiced against anyone because of their ethnicity, age, or religion. His Dominion encompasses the entire universe, and all humans are Allah’s creations.
Dalits accepting Islam is just one example; adherents of various religions around the world are also willingly joining Islam, indicating that they recognise Islam’s openness and peaceful lifestyle. Islam, as the real religion, is rapidly spreading over the world. It is writing on the wall that not only Dalits but also other minorities in India are fed up with rising radicalism, especially as a result of PM Modi’s RSS-backed policies. Human rights organisations working under the auspices of the United Nations or international peacekeeping organisations should raise their voices, pushing India to cease supporting extremist groups and to preserve the human rights of ordinary citizens in the country.
Disclaimer: Disdained Indians are happily embracing Islam being a true religion - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view