Living as a ‘minority’: A case of Buddhist-Dalits in contemporary Uttar Pradesh
In this paper, I will deal with ‘converted-Buddhists’, Buddhist-Dalits, in western UttarPradesh, focusing on their religious-ritual practices and narratives. In previousstudies, scholars have studied whether Buddhist-Dalitscan distance themselves fromHindu beliefs and practices and, if so, the extent of their separation. This perspectiveis based on the idea of ‘discontinuity’. However, I would like to consider conversionnot from the viewpoint of ‘discontinuity’ but from that of ‘continuity’. On the onehand, Buddhist-Dalitsideologically adopt Buddhist practices; on the other hand,they selectively or syncretistically continue to follow certain Hindu traditions. This isbecause Buddhist-Dalits need to negotiate with Hindu relatives in determining theirstatus and position in society.
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