The Dalits of India - Untouchables

A medieval ritual at Kukke Subramanya Temple in Dakshina Kannada, Made Snana is performed by people with skin and other diseases who roll on the leftovers food on banana leaves, eaten by the Brahmins.

In fact, it is the Dalits who roll in the food leftovers of the higher caste Brahmins.

The practice is condemned by many in India, while there are many who support the practice as a religious right and this has created a problem.

Kukke Subramanya Temple

Does religious freedom become more important than people’s rights to a dignified life?

The Dalits are the ‘untouchable class’ in India, they have won many rights, but are still subjugated by some sectors of the higher class Brahmins; and this outdated shameful ritual is seen as one of the ways in which Brahmins maintain their position in society.

A similar custom was observed by devotees at the 400-year-old Subrahmanya Swami Temple at Nagalamadike in Pavagada taluk.

The whole issue is a sensitive one as it is a centuries’ old ritual and involves public sentiment.

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India holy men urge ban on low-caste food rolling

A group of holy men in India’s Karnataka state are seeking to outlaw a century-old ritual in which low-caste Hindus roll in the remains of food eaten by members of a higher caste.

About 25 religious leaders threatened to take action if the government did not ban the practice, known as made snana.

Hundreds of people performed the ritual at temples in Karnataka in December.

Followers believe rolling in the food will cure them of skin conditions.

The ceremony involves rolling on plantain leaves that contain the leftovers of meals served to high-caste Brahmins.

The annual event is held at the Kukke Subramanya temple in the coastal district of Mangalore and at the Sri Krishna temple in Udupi town.

Lower-caste Dalit organisations have called the ritual “inhuman” and “unacceptable”.

Source: BBC News Read more

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