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

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Emerging New Social Status among Dalits in Bihar

The social status of Dalits in Bihar is undergoing change. A study based in a village and a town in East Champaran district of north Bihar reveals that Dalits are developing social consciousness, adopting Sanskritisation, and accessing constitutional provisions, and socio-religious movements, to change both their caste and class status.

Historically, the Scheduled Castes (SCs) or Dalits have been the most discriminated, exploited, subordinated, and physically segregated community in India in general and Bihar in particular. They have been a stigmatised people, suffering from numerous disabilities due to their low ascribed (caste) status, which has remained regulated by religious beliefs and practices. As a result, they have remained socio-economically, educationally, politically, and culturally backward compared to members of other castes and communities.

In this context, the present article tries to analyse how the ascribed status of the Dalits either contributes to or hinders the formation of their achieved status, including their interaction and social relations with non-Dalits in the existing social structure of Bihar. In addition, the article focuses on the role of social and religious reforms, Sanskritisation, and constitutional provisions in the formation of achieved status of Dalits in the studied areas. But, before doing that, it is necessary to briefly look at the term “status” as conceptualised in its sociological understanding.

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Updated On : 7th Jun, 2021
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