ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Comparative Contexts of Discrimination: Caste and Untouchability in South Asia

Based on empirical studies carried out in Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka during 2007-08, this paper offers a brief introduction to the prevailing dalit situation in the four countries and identifies specific problems of social inequality, discrimination and deprivation of the groups in these countries. The four studies clearly bring out the fact that even when the meaning of untouchability and its sources (religion or tradition) varies across south Asia, as also its forms (from physical touch and residential segregation to taboos and restrictions on inter-dining), physical movement and pursuing occupations of one's choice, its effects on those placed at the bottom are quite similar, i e, economic deprivation, social exclusion and a life of humiliation.

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Comparative Contexts of Discrimination: Caste and Untouchability in South Asia

Surinder S Jodhka, Ghanshyam Shah

Based on empirical studies carried out in Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka during 2007-08, this paper offers a brief introduction to the prevailing dalit situation in the four countries and identifies specific problems of social inequality, discrimination and deprivation of the groups in these countries. The four studies clearly bring out the fact that even when the meaning of untouchability and its sources (religion or tradition) varies across south Asia, as also its forms (from physical touch and residential segregation to taboos and restrictions on inter-dining), physical movement and pursuing occupations of one’s choice, its effects on those placed at the bottom are quite similar, i e, economic deprivation, social exclusion and a life of humiliation.

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