Friday, 31 May 2013

Empowering The Tamil Dalits

Dalits are the most marginalized community in India

The total population of India is 1,210,569,573. According to the Indian census of 2011, 16.6% of Indians are Dalits. The total number of Dalits in India is 200,954,549.

7.2% of the Dalits in India live in Tamil Nadu. Their population in Tamil Nadu is 14,468,727. Total population of Tamil Nadu is 72,138,958. That means only 20% of Tamil Nadu people are Dalits. This includes Dalits of non-Tamil origin who live in that state.

Dalits cannot be empowered by simply demanding the other castes to drop their surnames or identity. Because these non-Dalit communities form 80% of Tamil population.

Why would the 80% give up on their identities when they have already established themselves? Logically speaking, they will not do it.

Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
Instead of asking the 80% of the population to discard their identities, it is probably better for the Dalits of Tamil Nadu to merge as a single community with their own unique surnames.

They need to setup cooperative units and business chambers to empower the community.

This is what the Nadars did. They were known as Shanar in the past. They re-branded themselves as Nadars in the early 20th century.

They then created business cooperative units and formed the Nadar Bank in 1921. It is today known as the Tamilnad Mercantile Bank Limited. The Nadars who were mostly toddy tappers in ancient times have become a respected business community today.

If the Tamil Dalits do this, they too can become a force to be reckoned with. This is my personal opinion on how the Tamil Dalits can be empowered.
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