i am surprised that this point has come to the notice of people now whereas even in the early 1980s some dalit activists and groups had pointed this out. leaflets and pamphlets had mentioned this too. that was the time when, after some dalits converted to Christianity in meenakshipuram, Hindu organisations protested and riots took place.
that however does not detract from the significance of the point, that Hindus cannot convert because they wouldn't know what caste to ascribe to the converted. that is why Hinduism is said to be a non proselytising religion, which the Hindu fundamentalists have turned it to their advantage by saying they are better than the other religions because they don't go around converting people!
however there was araya samaj, and there could be such little known movements that i am unaware of, that did convert, in fact re-converted those who had embraced Islam, and were fairly 'caste -free'. this emerged as a response to conversions to Islam. reconverted people chose to either continue with the jati they had earlier belonged to or gave up belief in jati.
it is also a fact that this jati pratha of hinduism has infected other religions too. among Muslims you have the 'Brahman Muslims' like the shaikhs of banaras, who consider themselves superior to others. and among Christians too you will find jatis. not just untouchability, but caste.
untouchability is only one and the worst manifestation of caste division. and you find castes among Muslims and Christians too. with intermarriages among them frowned upon if not explicitly prohibited.
it is also dangerous to suggest that the parivar never takes up economic issues. it may. and it may give it a twist that can lead to a conflagaration that nobody will be able to control without losing thousands of lives. remember how the nazis blamed the jews for everything including unemployment? good that the parivar has not yet touched economic issues.
it is also time to ask those who organise around economic issues, the left in particular, why is it that they are confined to some pockets, why is it that despite major economic crisis they are not able to organise more people around vital issues that concern their lives? after all if the parivar is taking advantage of the situation there must be something in the situation that can be taken advantage of. so who is responsible for that 'something'? we must think of those shortcomings too.
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