*This infographic covers all Dalits in a certain district, but this isn’t a rep sample of all India. Still.
Dalits were Indian outcastes or untouchables. Over years (with support from the government) they’ve slowly been moving on up. In Tamil Nadu ‘lower’ castes have done especially well in business, but their lot has improved nationwide. This infographic covers the sitch of all Dalits in one district of Uttar Pradesh – Bulandshahar. It’s from the Center For Advanced Study Of India. The improvements from 1990 to 2007 are striking.
Note that this is only one table from the paper by Devesh Kapur, Chandra Bhan Prasad, Lant Pritchett, and D. Shyam Babu. There’s a lot more. I’ll just go over what’s in this infographic.
Basically, Dalits have a lot more stuff in their house. Assets if you will. While 37% of people having a chair in the house is not good, it’s deffa better than 1.1%. More people have mobile phones, TVs, and fans. More assets. Stuff not shown here are pressure cookers, bicycles, motorbikes, all up. I actually heard about these stats in an Economist article:
There are more hopeful studies, though. One of them, designed and run by dalit researchers including Chandra Bhan Prasad, who works for the University of Pennsylvania, suggests “huge” changes in dalit social life in UP. The researchers tracked stark new consumer, dietary, grooming and work habits among dalits in two districts. In one, where only 3% of dalits had used toothpaste in 1990, 82% did so by 2007. Those who ate tomatoes rose from 3% to 57%. In another area only 23% of dalits reported sitting with guests of other castes at weddings in 1990, but, by 2007, 91% did so. The studies are now being repeated in five more areas,
Seemingly trivial, such trends in fact describe a rapid weakening of caste identity, says Mr Prasad. He praises the arrival of “caste-neutral” jobs such as delivering pizzas, and says visible consumerism that shows wealth is quickly becoming more important as a sign of status than caste. “You can be any caste you like, but if you don’t have a mobile phone you are nobody”, he says. If so, pink elephants and bronze statues may prove less effective in getting out the dalit vote. (Touchable)
Of course, they don’t link to the study, here it is. And here’s the dataset I used. They had two districts and I didn’t want to recalc to sum the percentages. So I just picked one. Also, the sizes of various household items are relative across years (the 2007 TV is 44% bigger than the 1990), not relative to each other.
Table 2: Changes in asset ownership, 1990 to 2007
|1990 (%)||2007 (%)||Change||1990 (%)||2007 (%)||Change|
|Live in a Pakka house||18.1||64.4||46.3||38.4||94.6||56.2|
|Have a TV set||0.9||22.2||21.1||0.7||45.0||44.3|
|Use firewood for fuel||98.7||97.0||-1.7||98.9||98.5||-0.4|
Tables break the formatting so I have to put something here. So, yeah. More forthcoming. Hat tip for the Economist link, my dad at LIRNEasia.