Originally published in India under the title Apartheid in India, V.T. Rajshekar’s passionate work on the plight of the Indian Dalits was first introduced to North American readers through the publication of DALIT: The Black Untouchables of India in 1987. This book is the first to provide a Dalit view of the roots and continuing factors of the gross oppression of the world’s largest minority (over 150 million people) through a 3,000 year history of conquest, slavery, apartheid and worse. Rajshekar offers a penetrating, often startling overview of the role of Brahminism and the Indian caste system in embedding the notion of “untouchability” in Hindu culture, tracing the origins of the caste system to an elaborate system of political control in the guise of religion, imposed by Aryan invaders from the north on a conquered aboriginal/Dravidian civilization of African descent. He exposes the almost unimaginable social indignities which continue to be imposed upon so-called untouchables to this very day, with the complicity of the political, criminal justice, media and education systems. Under Rajshekar’s incisive critique, the much-vaunted image of Indian nonviolence shatters. Even India’s world-celebrated apostle of pacificsm emerges in less saintly guise; in seeking to ensure Hindu numerical domination in India’s new political democracy, Mahatma Gandhi advocated assimilating those whom Hindu scriptures defined as outcastes (untouchables) into the lowest Hindu caste, rather than accede to their demand for a separate electorate. Rajshekar further questions whether the Brahminist socio-political concepts so developed in turn influenced the formation of the modern Nazi doctrine of Aryan supremacy, placing the roots of Nazism deep in Indian history.
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