Dalit Poverty

By Dr. Nellutla Naveena Chandra


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.

  1. Ashok Khade – The tree that keeps growing
  2. Kalpana Saroj – Unlimited Imagination
  3. Ratilal Makwana – Beating the Boycott
  4. Malkit Chand – Money grows on Trees
  5. Savitaben Parmar – Coal changed my Fortunes
  6. Bhagavan Bawai – Rags to Riches
  7. Harsh Bhaskar – The Science of Success
  8. Devjibhai Makwana – The Threads of Success
  9. Harikrishan Pippal – Left Home to Conquer the World
  10. Atul Paswar – Made in Japan
  11. Devikanandan Son – Gobar Chowki to Taj Plaza
  12. Jisi Phulia – Ambition Takes Flight
  13. Sarath Babu – Engineering an Idli
  14. Sanjay Kshirsagar – From Chawl to Skyscraper
  15. 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. https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/06/the-economic-history-of-the-last-2-000-years-in-1-little-graph/258676/ Little Graph, World Economy 1-2000 AD, DEREK THOMPSON, June19,2012, ATLANTIC
  3. https://hinduworldvision.wordpress.com/2011/04/11/are-we-heading-towards-a-christian-india-by-francois-gautier/
  4. http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Swaminomics/the-unexpected-rise-of-dalit-millionaires
  5. https://www.amazon.com/Dalit-Millionaires-15-Inspiring-Stories-ebook/dp/B00GZQDIQ6
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Dalits



4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Santanu Dey
    Mar 22, 2017 @ 00:20:34

    Christianity is a bundle of hypocrisy well wrapped in bright and shiny packaging of eloquence mingled with tonnes of crocodile-tear-shedding at the sufferings of the downtroddens of the world, but they will quietly do away with their own contribution to these extreme human sufferings. Like for example the notorious famine of Bengal in British India was simply the result of British Govt plundering all the food grains from Indian agricultural fields for use of their Army fighting their own war in Europe. But try one may as much – he or she won’t find any mention of this fact; maybe there also fingers will be pointed at Hinduism and the deadly caste system prevalent in it. Post WWII when the power center shifted to the other side of Atlantic, not much changed in this finger-pointing at Hinduism for all the ills prevailing in South Asian societies because one of the principal forces behind both the exercises was religious in nature – establishment of Christianity as the single path toward emancipation of human race. Both Hinduism as a religion and India as a country suited their purpose nicely because both religiously as well as nationally we have always been disciplined followers of sermons by outside masters even at the cost of conceding our own drawback in everything that is ailing in our midst. Hope things will take a turn for better with the advent of the ‘Karmayogi’ we have got as our present Prime Minister. But to expect everything to be done by others for us won’t achieve anything – it’s the people at the end of the line who will need to be awakened, which thankfully has already slowly started.

    Liked by 1 person


  2. Ram Jagessar
    Mar 23, 2017 @ 13:05:39

    I find several things about the whole discussion about dalits very baffling.
    1. I understand the use of the word dalit has been officially banned in India. Wikipedia says “Use of the word “dalit’ for a person or group has been outlawed, and India’s National Commission for Scheduled Castes considers public use of the label unconstitutional.” Yet I see the word being freely used everywhere.
    2. I have seen in several places representatives of this group blaming other Hindus for their poverty and problems, even though they must know that the Muslims, Christians and Nehru’s socialists are the root cause of their problems. These representatives insist that the other Hindus must remove unfavourable references in the Hindu scriptures to untouchables. This is nonsense, and will never happen. We Hindus can ignore sections of our scriptures that we find unacceptable today, but we don’t edit those scriptures written thousands of years ago.
    3. These so called dalits make huge demands for an end to discrimination, for equal treatment in the economy, and for empowerment in work and society, but have no idea how this could be done and where the money and organizations to so such will come from. Do they want all dalits to get good jobs, decent housing, access to free education, proper water, roads, electricity, telephones and such? Apparently yes.
    But dalits are only about 260 million at best in India. What about the other poor people in India, who could make up at least 300 million? Don’t they want these fine jobs and facilities too? There are close to another billion Indians who would like to get good jobs and the other goodies as well. You can see the implications of these nonsensical calls to fix the dalit problem and forget about the rest of India. Let me repeat this: dalits are a minority group in India.
    4. The demands of the dalits appear to ignore the vast amount of work that has been done over the last 70 years in helping them. India has banned caste discrimination. India has reserved jobs, places in schools, seats in parliament, and spent huge sums in trying to uplift the dalits, along with similar work for the tribals and other scheduled castes. Yes, the other Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and Marxists too have all agreed to massive efforts to bring dalits and other groups out of poverty and discrimination.
    5. Even though discrimination against dalits is illegal, and punishable in law, the dalits continue to blame the rest of the Hindu society for their plight. They don’t blame the Muslims, the Cristisnas, Sikhs or people of no religion, but only the so called higher caste Hindus. This is ridiculous.
    6. The dalits appear to be calling for massive and immediate empowerment of their huge community of 260 million, but can quote no model to follow, no example where such an empowerment has taken place. They are calling for pie in the sky, whichis why so many just ignore them. With the best will in the world, and even loads of money, taking people out of poverty takes time and organization. Take a group of 20,000 dalits in a large city, living in poverty and working at collecting garbage, working as servants, cleaning the sewers etc. You want to help them. What good jobs will you give these 20,000? They are not qualified to be civil servants, teachers, clerks, workers in business etc, and will fail at these jobs if they are placed there. What proper housing, utilities and schools will you build for them and their children, and how long will it take to bring them up to the level of the rest of the city? How about just giving each dalit a large amount of money like 500,000 rupees? That should fix the problem, right? Wrong. They will waste that money and in less than a year, most of them will be back in the same condition as before.
    7. There seems to be no proper developed and financed plan to deal with the dalit issue, from the dalits themselves or from any other party. Obviously, bringing dalits out of poverty and discrimination has to be done as part of an overall effort to bring the other 300 million poor Indians out of their poverty, and the general upliftment of the rest of the society. After all, the dalits don’t have much money or expertise, we all agree. Why should the rest of India who contribute the majority of the taxes agree to spend a disproportionate amount of their money on dalits, and not on other poor groups or themselves?
    In short, having dalits screaming and waling about their poverty and discrimination and demanding somebody help them is NOT a plan. Having non dalits saying we should help these poor depressed people is NOT a plan. This is a very big and complex issue and must be handled seriously by people who know what they are doing. I will remind all that India has plenty of other problems, like climatic problems like flood and drought, energy supplies, failures in agriculture, rural development, education for the technology age, infrastructure repairs, terrorism, the war with Pakistan, millions of unwanted refugees from Bangladesh, medical care for all, and plenty plenty more. This is serious business, which is not amenable to slogans and screaming.

    Liked by 1 person


  3. cherlas
    Mar 24, 2017 @ 21:02:38

    Naveen, Ram and Shantanu have done an excellent job of covering a very sensitive topic. Kudos and congratulations to you guys.



    Apr 17, 2017 @ 09:21:32

    Focused on Dalits, article is well-researched and comprehensive. Deliberate policy of Sonia Congress to force them into poverty is a well known fact. Modi has blasted their nefarious designs very well.
    Now the time has come, Dalits must renounce reservations on their own volition. Reservation destroys dignity and self-respect. Casteism CANNOT be dissolved so long as reservations are there as reservation is State sponsored casteism. So long as reservations are there, dalits should not complain about casteism. Free education for poor / Dalits students, then they should compete like all others.
    Finally, Dalits MUST STOP calling themselves Dalits. It is as important as abolition of reservations. Also, so-called Dalits must boycott caste based parties / politics like that of Mayawati / Mulayam etc.
    Now is the time for some so-called Dalit leader / group of leaders to raise a national party, all inclusive, as an alternative to Congress / BJP etc.



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