In Gujarat, 90 Dalits Embrace Buddhism In Order To Escape Discrimination

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In Gujarat, 90 Dalits Embrace Buddhism In Order To Escape Discrimination


COLUMNS / Religion Today   /   Oct 24, 2015

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Ahmedabad: On Thursday, 90 Dalits converted Buddhism to escape the increasing instances of violence the community is subjected to every now and then. The conversion took place at a programme organised by the Gujarat Buddhist Academy at the newly-built Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Hall in Sonar Kui, Dholka.

 

Most of the Dalits who took part in the ceremony were within the age group of 25-35 years, which also included nine women.

 

Although the ceremony was a simple one, it was attended by around 500 people. The Dalits took "diksha" from Bhikshu Pragnya Ratna, a Dhamma pracharak from The Great Ashoka Buddha Vihar in Porbandar, and general secretary of Gujarat region of Akhil Bharatiya Bhikshu Mahasangh. After the ceremony, the converts gave a short speech citing “inequality and unscientific and superstitious rituals” in Hinduism and while at the same time expressing admiration for their Dr Ambedkar’s ideals which prompted them to convert to Buddhism.

 

One of the new converts, 27-year-old Bhamini Delwadia, an MBA holder said: "I believe in equality for all and do not find it in Hinduism. And I believe in the ideals of Dr Ambedkar, who himself converted to Buddhism while shedding Hinduism. Following in his footsteps, we have adopted Buddhism".

 

Bhamini's IIM post-graduate husband Kunal, his parents - Abhilash and Hiraben - and brother Rahul also converted to Buddhism during the function.

 

"We organised this programme as these 90 persons wanted to embrace Buddhism. Hinduism is full of superstitions where there is a system of caste-based hierarchy in which some people are considered untouchables," said Ramesh Banker, Secretary of Gujarat Buddhist Academy.

 

Two years ago prior to this, around 5,000 Dalits had converted to Buddhism in Junagadh in Gujarat citing discrimination and inequality.

 

(image courtesy: http://goo.gl/onV7JA)

 


The views expressed here are those of the authors and doesn’t reflect the official policy of Janpratinidhi. The views expressed here are those of the authors and doesn’t reflect the official policy of Janpratinidhi.
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