Dalits are at the bottom of the social hierarchy, and when they question their place, it upsets the entire set-up, Siddalingaiah, former MLC, said on Sunday.

He was delivering the Talakad Range Gowda Memorial Lecture on ‘A new dimension to Dalit problems’ here.

Over the ages, Dalits had been told by the ‘upper’ castes that they were at the bottom of the caste hierarchy, which they had accepted. The moment Dalits make an attempt to question their status, the stability of all the layers of caste above them gets threatened. He said, “If they (Dalits) move, they can cause a (social) revolution.”

Mr. Siddalingaiah said incidents of discrimination against Dalits continue to take place even to this day. Dalit literature reflected their status, he said. A Dalit litterateur who was barred from entering the Nanjundeshwara temple in Nanjangud wrote, “I did not have the fortune of seeing Nanjundeshwara. And, Nanjundeshwara did not have the fortune of seeing me.”

Mr. Siddalingaiah spoke about the role played by Kudmul Ranga Rao, Kaka Karkhanis, Gorur Ramaswamy Iyengar, the Arya Samaj and the Theosophical Society in the uplift of Dalits.

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