By Abdul Hannan, IDMV

One question is sticking me concerning Dalit Muslims. Can Muslim be a Dalit? Is describing Muslim as Dalit will be good justification with Muslim community? Is any group in Muslim community, had passed with tragic situation by their own people because of being from backward or because of low caste or because of their other religious identity as low castes faced or are facing in Hinduism or in any other religions. Is Islamic teaching is based on discrimination policy? Is Islam gives the superiority to white over black or to rich over poor? What is the real fact? What is the reality behind word Dalit and behind the movements carried out in various part of world by Dalit people? What Islam says on caste and creed? To know the historical fact of this one, we should have to study history and return back to old books to see the fact of society.

Dalit’s mean suppressed and torched people. It is a self designated word selected by the forcefully deprived and shattered community to keeping alive in society and in history as well.
The word Dalit came from Sanskrit, means broken into pieces, crushed, split, destroyed, thrashed etc. Mr. Jyotirao Phule is the first person who used this term in the nineteenth century for twice-born Hindus. Word dalit has a historical and social back ground. It used only for a community which is bearing atrocities and social boycotts by upper class community. Dalit’s mean a community which had lost its social and historical identity due to long restrictions, illiteracy and for atrocities did it by upper class.

Mahatma Ghandi termed Harijan (son of God) for Dalits. In modern India schedule caste (SC) and schedule tribe (ST) are being used in political articles and in government documentations to describe former untouchable people.

Interestingly, terms transformation from Dalit to Harijan and to ST, SC is changeless for this community on ground level and shower us that political leaders and government have the faith on exiting of untouchable people. Expressing the reason to calling Harijan instead of Dalit, Gandhi said that all people are not untouchable; means he was also believe that an untouchable community is exits in this society.

Those who were untouchable or were suppressed community in nineteenth century, they are still untouchable, only words changed, and ground’s situation is still same.

Mayawati is very powerful political leader in UP. She is now Chief Minister of Utter Pradesh. In past, she was in government with Mulaym Singh Yadav and with BJP also. Her power and her popularity in ordinary people, particularly in Dalit community, which sees her Massiha not help her to change the label which reminds her place in society and where she is known and called daughter of Dalits.

Conversion of Bhim Rao Ambedkar didn’t bring any changes in this community. He was fully aware that he can’t win this war, and instead to come out on road against upper castes for their inhuman attitude towards low caste people, he preferred to change his religion.

India’s independent age is 61 years. It is a developing country. Its name has been registered into nuclear a country. It helped Afghanistan. Its forces are on peace missions in various countries across the world. India is a largest democratic country in the world. In the field of films, in entertainments, in games, in innovations and in educational and technical fields, India has a special place and it named very respectively.

It crushed terrorism from Punjab and ruined people’s voice in Kashmir. It introduced doctrine laws to defeat attackers. Many laws are made to stop humiliation of Dalits but on ground level, Dalit is only Dalit. Their presentations in government offices and in private educational institutions are very low.

The truth can’t be turned wrong. Is any state or central government rejected this idea that Dalit is not Dalit. Dalits are from us and are human being as we are. Their presence in society, in films, in Media and in other educational field is very less. They are not allowed in many universities due to absence of reservation in those Universities. They can take admission in the schools where reservation facilities are provided but reservation percentage is not much which is delvering negative impacts in this community.

Revising horror full history of Dalits, listen what Mr. Melliyal Annamalai says “They have been oppressed throughout the recorded history of India, relegated to doing toiling and ‘polluting’ tasks like agricultural labor, disposing dead bodies, working with leather, cleaning toilets and sewage etc. They have been stripped of their dignity and denied basic human rights. They were "untouchables" -– others would be polluted by their touch, even bf their shadows. To avoid such "pollution" dalits were segregated and denied access to many other community facilities - schools, temples, water tanks, etc. To this day thousands of villages have a separate area fo dalit houses (including houses built for them by the government), separate wells for dalits, class rooms where dalit children sit separately, tea shops with separate glasses for dalits. Such discrimination occurs despite laws against such practices.”

This is the reality of Dalits in Indian society, whether they are dalits, or Harijan, or SC/ST, the fact and picture of society tells real history. Government can’t deny it.

This time, in UP daughter of dalit, is governing there. Dalit votes played a huge role to reach her to chief ministerial ship. Is this daughter of dalit return the smiles on lips of dalit women and girls? Is this daughter proves that dalit is not untouchable community? I don’t know political game, what Mayawati does and what not in her state. Dalits want to know from her that what she is going to do for Dalits.

Now we come to Muslims. Muslim community is also divided. Shaikh, Quraishi, Sayed, Sunni, Shia and so many others groups can be seen in this community. Deobandi, Brailvi, Ahle-Hadith and various other religious schools can be found there. The difference among these communities, is only ideological and theological. Some times these ideological and theological ups and downs go on violent which is seen many times in India and in other Muslim countries. All these differences and existence of such factions never remained till long times, as can be seen in Dalit, where a particular class always push them back by force and by any thing else.

It is also noted and news come from different areas of India that a particular faction in Muslim community is deprived on burial in other Muslim community’s graveyard. Such as stopping them to offering Namaz and others Islamic rituals, but all are theological and ideological differences which are governing in Muslim community due to lack of education, lack of correct Islamic teachings, and the lack of educated and well-known Islamic scholars in Muslim society.

There is no doubt that if Muslim community and educated Islamic and modern scholars pay their role and have the ability to address and fix the problems as it occurs, surely a wide spread changes can be seen in this community.

Sadly, so-called welfare organizations, mini-political parties and various unfamiliar leaders are wasting their time to convince people that which kind of rehabilitation work will be started if they voted to power, although truth is that even they are don’t know that which kind of assistance has started by the government for the community.

I am sure to say that any faction in Muslim community throughout the history of Islam which is escalated on 14-hundred years; never experienced such situation by their own people as Dalits are facing in Hindu community. Islam as a religion and Ulemas as Islamic scholars dislike caste based society. Fourteen-hundred years ago, Islam ruined such culture and on farewell Hajj, Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) declared and announced that no superiority of white over black or poor over rich or Arab over none-Arab in Muslim society, all are equal and creature of Allah, so how it possible for us or for any Muslim to call a particular backward Muslim community with the name of “Dalit”, when Islam stops us to call any Muslim with a name which is known for bad manners so how Islam will allow calling backward Muslim community with the terms which have very dangerous and sorrowful history behind it.

India is a multi-cultural, multi-language, and multi-religion society. Here are Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Janis, Buddhists and various kind of culture and strata can be viewed, each culture and each religion every day and every time exchange and share their ideas and views with each others. If a Muazin give the Azan in Mosque, same time the ring of a temple can be heard there. If Muslims seek power and help from their Allah by reading the Qura’an and by five times prayers, on the other hand, believers of various religion can be found to seek help with Allah according teaching of their religion. Sometimes, both communities go on rampage with these differences which cannot be ignored in multi-cultural society. So there are some cultures, strata and thoughts have been entered into Muslims also. It is also seen, people from Dalit community or from any community entered into Islam, but they didn’t change social and their old religious cultures which were believed in later a part of Islam, although Islam has never courage any difference because of community or because of castes.

After all, there are some similarities between Dalits and Muslims. Both communities are victim and deprived from their basic needs and rights. Upper castes have superiority in government and in government-run institutions, but Dalits and Muslims is only show peace. They all are powerlessness, so this is need of hour that all low castes, backward classes and ignored communities should have to come on one platform to face the challenges posed by upper castes and revert the systems for a society where every class of society whether have different religion, to live freely without any discriminations and without any fair of upper castes or oppressors.

This is a message to all to come and unite their hands for a better future and for a generation who will build India on correct path, not on separate paths as modern political leaders are building.

[Abdul Hannan is a senior journalist. He wrote this article from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He could be contacted at abdul_hannan_hannan@yahoo.co.in ]


  1. Salaam alaikum,
    As we know Islam does not recognize race or caste. We are all brothers in Islam regardless of where we come from. However the needs of the dalits are such that they would have nothing unless their "caste" ancestry were recognized. I would suggest to accept caste no long as caste but as TRIBE, similar to Muslims Rajput, Muslim Rao, Minhas etc. However to not stop their. To eventually phase out the dalit label whenever and if ever it is at all possible.


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