Harijan; Children of God; Scheduled Castes; Dalit

Grant Barrett grant.barrett at VERIZON.NET
Fri Dec 7 02:22:33 UTC 2001

I'm curious: we have representatives or experts on this list of many of the
Anglophone populations in the world, but is there someone who specializes in
the English spoken in India?

This little tidbit interested me:


"Gandhiji called the downtrodden people of India as Harijans, or Children of
God. Then the word Harijan became a derogatory word, and the downtrodden
people asked to be referred to as the Scheduled Castes. Now, apparently the
word scheduled caste is considered offensive."

This page offers a bit more:


"Possibly the most substantial percentage of Asia's Africans can be
identified among India's 160 million "Untouchables" or "Dalits".  India's
Untouchables number more than the combined population of England, France,
Belgium and Spain. Frequently they are called "outcasts".  The official name
given to them in India's Constitution (1947) is "Scheduled - Castes".
Indian nationalist leader, devout Hindu and social reformer Mohandas K.
Ghandi, called them "Harijans", meaning "children of God".  "Dalit", meaning
"crushed and broken" is a name that has come into prominence only within the
last three decades.  "Dalit" reflects a radically different response to


Grant Barrett
gbarrett at worldnewyork.org
New York Loves You Back

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