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Dalits should mention Buddhism as religion in Census 2021, say experts

Experts said that both Adi-Dharm and Raviddassia are castes classified under Schedule Castes and religion should be mentioned as Buddhism. The webinar was organised by Ambedkarite International Co-ordination Society (AICS) Canada.

Written by Anju Agnihotri Chaba | Chandigarh | Updated: July 27, 2020 8:54:52 pm
Buddhism as caste, Census 2021, Dalits, Adi-Dharm, Raviddassia, Punjab news, indian express news At Dera Sachk Kand Ballan in Jalandhar. (Express photo)

Experts on Sunday expressed concern over the issue of Census-2021 at a time when when the leaders of the same community (Adi-Dharmi and Ravidassia or Ramdasia) from the Scheduled Castes appear to be divided into two groups.

The experts who participated in this webinar on ‘Importance of Census-2021 for Dalits’, said ‘Dalits’ should get registered under ‘Buddhist’ religion column, which is already a separate religion mentioned on the Census form, while additionally mentioning their respective castes namely Ravidassia and Adhi-Dharmi instead of demanding separate religion columns for these two.

They said that both Adi-Dharm and Raviddassia are castes classified under Schedule Castes and religion should be mentioned as Buddhism. The webinar was organised by Ambedkarite International Co-ordination Society (AICS) Canada.

In the recent past, leaders of the groups have been asking the people of the community to mention their religion as Ad-Dharmi or Ravidassia. There is no separate column for mentioning these two religions in the census form so far.

Speaking in the Webinar, expert on the subject, thinker and scholar Dr GC Kaul, said, “Baba Saheb (Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar) is considered one of the six greatest intellectuals in the world. In his research books, ‘Who were the Shudra? How they came to be the fourth varna (Classification by profession) in the Indo Aryan Society’ and ‘The Untouchables-Who were they and why they became untouchables’, Baba Sahib has proved that the Buddhists were made untouchables by the Aryans”.

“After 21 years of an in-depth study of all religions, he (Ambedkar) did not create a new religion but preferred to choose Buddhism because it had the moral foundations of equality, justice, and the broader basis of humanism. Now you can understand that Adi-Dharma i.e. the original religion is none other than Buddhism” argued Dr Kaul.

He also said that Ambedkar inscribed his book, ‘The Untouchables’ to the memory of Nandnar, Ravidas, and Chokhamela, the three renowned saints who were born among the untouchables and who by their piety and virtue won the esteem of all.

AICS founder member Chanchal Mall also said that till the time Dalits are not getting a separate religion column they should get registered under the Buddhist column with their castes mentioned in it.

Khushwinder Kumar Billa, president Dr Ambedkar Memorial Committee of Great Britain UK, and Paramjit Kainth and Anand Bali, founder member and general secretary, AICS Canada, respectively, said that at the moment getting registered under Buddhism is the right decision as it will let us know the real number of Ravidassias and Adhi-Dharmis.

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