_________________________________________ Dalits are those groups of people who have faced social discrimination includingthe untouchability. They largely belong to the economically disadvantaged groupsof our society. They are placed in the Scheduled Caste categories in our constitution. The category of dalits was first used by Jyotiba Phule in thenineteenth century. It was first popularly used by the Dalit Panther in the 1970s.But it has come in currency quite recently – from the 1980s onwards. It hasalmost replaced the category of harijans used for the dalits or Scheduled Castes.The term Scheduled Castes was in common use till the term of dalit became more popular from the 1980s onwards. There are special provisions for the protectionof their interests in our constitution – reservation in the public jobs, scholarships,legislative bodies, etc. Universal adult franchise and other constitutional rightshave enabled them to participate in political activities.Dalit movement raises issues of caste-based discrimination and economicinequality. It is a struggle for social justice. The issues on which dalit movementis launched are: self – respect, harassment of women, payment of wages, forced labour or begar, disputes over land, implementation of the reservation policy, promotion in the job, denial of democratic rights like casting of votes, disrespectto Dr. B.R. Amebedkar/his statue, etc. Dalits protest and agitate on these issuesin various ways which include mainly informal ways, at individual basis, throughthe organised ways, satyagraha and litigation, by getting these raised either in the parliament or in the legislative assemblies. Dalit movement/agitation is alsoexpressed through collective action like demonstration, rallies, procession;through signature campaign, protest literature, etc. Some times their agitationresult in the clashes between dalits, police and the those elements in the societywho are inimical to the interests of dalits.
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