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The Dalit Tag Still Sticks Despite Converting To Sikhism

source: The Dalit tag still sticks despite converting to Sikhism .:. NewKerala - India 's Top Online Newspaper

The Dalit tag still sticks despite converting to Sikhism

By Imran Khan, Patna, June 9 : It is a centuries-old ignominy they wanted to escape by converting to Sikhism in Punjab and found new respect there. But back home in Bihar, the tag of Dalit refused to leave them.

Many Dalit labourers who migrated to Punjab for work years ago and converted toduring their stay there are upset that they are still being categorised as Scheduled Caste in government records after they returned to their native villages in Bihar.

Sanjay Singh, who converted to Sikhism during his years-long stay in Punjab and sports a colourful turban and a long beard, says local and district administration officials in Bihar are not ready to accept him as a Sikh. Guru the founder of Sikhism, preached against discrimination and prejudices on the basis of caste, class and status.

"The government officials are still treating us as Rishideo of the Musahar caste (the poorest Dalit community known as rat eaters), not as Sikhs, despite our efforts to convince them," Singh told IANS, adding that he was yet to be termed a Sikh in the government records despite repeated requests.

Singh said that about two decades ago his close relative Naren Rishideo left for Punjab to earn a livelihood and converted to the Sikh religion, becoming Naren Singh. His example was followed by most of those of his caste men working there.

"We tasted dignity, respect and equality after we converted. Before that, we were treated as low caste, sometimes even inferior to animals, by the upper caste and backward caste people in the village," Sanjay Singh said.

He said most of the women members of their families have now started using the Kaur surname.

Rup Singh and Manish Singh, who also converted to Sikhism, are no longer keen to be known as Rishideos and want that they should be treated as Sikhs in government records.

"We changed our religion to get rid of the stigma of untouchablity and to live a life with pride. We were happy to return to our village. Local people, barring a few, accepted us as Sikh, but in the government records and caste certificates we have the same old Dalit tag," Rup Singh told IANS.

Soon after they returned to their village Halhalia in Araria district, nearly 400 km from Patna, they were shocked to learn that despite the change of religion they would have to fight another battle to upgrade their social status in official records.

"All the Dalits who converted to the Sikh religion are still Dalits in the caste certificate and we are being denied the status of the Sikhs," Rup Singh said.

Manish Singh, another convert, says that they are no longer Dalits after embracing the Sikh religion and they should instead be treated as minorities as Sikhs are a minority community in the country.

A large number of migrant labourers from Bihar who converted to Sikhism in Punjab and stayed back there hardly face any identity problem, but the converts who returned to their native villages in Bihar are facing a different discrimination, Manish Singh said.

Araria district magistrate Anjani Kumar Verma, when asked about the problem, told IANS over telephone that he was not aware of the matter.

"So far no such complaint has come to my notice. If there is anything like it, the district administration will do justice with them," Verma said.

Over 200 Dalit villagers of half a dozen villages including Kamta Balia, Gurumuhi, and Parmanpur under the Khwaspur panchayat (village council) have already converted to Sikhism. They have set up a gurdwara with support of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), while some Sikhs from New Delhi are helping them to maintain it.

--- IANS

Gyani Jarnail Singh

Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
Guru Piayare Jios,

I am not sure who is "sticking" to who....the Caste to the Dalit..or the Dalit to the Caste ??
And there is another very strong factor in this equation... ECONOMIC ADVANTAGES guaranteed by the Indian Constitution to so called Backward Castes/Scheduled Castes/Dalits..RESERVATION and et al..

The "Authorities" very cleverly....imposed that a Backward class/Dalit/Scheduled Caste class gets these PRIVILEGES/RESERVATIONS...ONLY IF he/she remains a HINDU. Becoem a SIKH/MUSLIM/CHRISTIAN..and YOU LOSE all those GOODIES..... so many changed their minds about converting...a PLUS point for the Hindu Chavanists...RETAIN these LOW CASTES and keep number of HINDUS SAFE...
BUT then the SC/BC etc already converted to Sikhism etc also began to clamour for these Pribeleges...and they GOT them...provided they DECLARED THEIR BC/SC/ STATUS and got it VERIFIED via a DECLARATION. I have seen this declaration...a sort of CARD CARRYING Backward Class/Scheduled Caste Class Membership Card and it si issued by the GOVT.

Elsewhere recently we had the GUJJARS burning busses and govt protperties to force the Govt to DRAG THEM BACKWARDS>>>LOWER>>>TO be declared SCHEDULED CASTE....thye wnat LOWER CASTE..due to the Privileges...

I know few High Caste Brahmins and Jatts....who had FALSE DECLARATIONS as LOW CASTE SC/BC Cards issued so that their children can get RESERVATION SEATS..etc...Everyone knows they are Jatts/Brahmins..but on Paper they are SC...

So its not as simple as it sounds...many Dalits wouldnt want to LEAVE their low caste status behind..NOT until they are so RICH...that they can afford to..Its all ECONOMICS...anyone knows HOW Filthy RICH Communists like Harkishen Singh Surjit were...their children married in posh hotels...and they stay in posh residences...the "poor" label..equality for teh graib..etc is a SHAM..for VOTES only...REALITY is far different...:eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek:
A complaint to the Patna based State Minority Cell will do the needful for these Sikh brotherns. Let them put their papers to the cell, rest they will take care with the errand officials.

If nothing happens even them, advice them to forward their application's copy to the Dass, I will take up the matter with the authorties.


The "Authorities" very cleverly....imposed that a Backward class/Dalit/Scheduled Caste class gets these PRIVILEGES/RESERVATIONS...ONLY IF he/she remains a HINDU. Becoem a Sikh/MUSLIM/CHRISTIAN

Sikh SCs are entitled for reservation and economic benefits.Recently Budhists are also included in it.Only Christian and muslims are excluded.Master Tara singh forced the Indian Government to include Sikh lower caste in reservations

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