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Glossary Of Dalit And Caste Related Terms



Caste Related Terms which used in daily life

Aryan The name by which the Vedic people called themselves. The tern became to mean noble later on.

Adwiji – Only one Aryan parent (once –born)

Backward Caste Castes which are not untouchables but are higher in status than Dalits. These can range from castes which are the major dominant castes in the Indian countryside to castes which may be financially less better off than some Dalits.

Bahujan – Many people or communities

Brahminism – Brahminic Religion, Hindu Religion, Hinduism

Brahmin – The priestly class that is at the top of the caste system. Purportedly emanating from the Head of the Hindu god 'Brahma'

Caste Hindu – From among the four castes

Chamar – Member of a pan North Indian caste who because of their tradition of leather working are considered by the upper castes to to be permanently polluted.

Chaturvarna – Four varnas. See Varna. According to this arrangement is no fifth varna designated as untouchables as the Vedas only mention four varnas.

Dalit – 'Broken', 'crushed', 'pounded' 'downtrodden' or 'oppressed' - a term the untouchables use to describe themselves sine the 1970s.

Dalitbahujan – Includes the Dalits as well as all the lower castes and tribes; used interchangeably for Dalits in the context of this website

Dharam Sastras – Religious Scriptures

Dwiji – Both parents Aryan (twice-born)

Hinduism – Brahminism, Brahminic Religion, Hindu Religion

Hindutva – Hindu principles

Gurudwara – Sikh temple

Lok Sabha – Upper house Of Parliament

Outcaste – Out of the caste system; Untouchable

Kshatriya – The second upper caste in the four caste system, emanating from the chest and torso of 'Brahma.'

Manusmriti – Manu’ tradition (caste laws)

Manuwadi – A die-hard casteist

Panchayat – Village administrative body

Rig Veda – One of the Hindu religious scripture

Rajya SabhaLower house of Parliament

Saffron Brigade – The entire group of Hindu right wing organizations

Samaj – Society

Sudra – The fourth strata in the caste system whose role is to serve the upper three castes.

Vaishya – The third upper caste in the caste system, emanating from the thighs and legs of Brhama.

Varna – Division of classes according to the Hindu religious scriptures, namely Rig Veda. Also means color. There are four Varnas (castes): Brahmins (priests), Kshtriyas (warriors), Vaisyas (Farmer/Merchants) and Sudras (Servants)

Vidhan Sabha – State Legislature

Vihara – Buddhist temple

‘Vyas Smriti’ – Vyas’(name of a sage) Tradition

Untouchables – Generally means Outcastes, Dalits

Untouchability – Practice of Segregation/Exclusion of the Outcastes (Dalits).

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