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October 15, 2009
53 years ago on October 14th, 1956, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar converted to Buddhism along with an estimated 500,000 followers in Nagpur.
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I don't think so immediately Arun. It seems like another caste. And they lose some benefits like reservations in jobs and schools (affirmative action programs) if they are part of a scheduled or backward caste or tribe to begin with. But many do change their caste name and this can provide upward mobility in the emerging class system that is developing along side the caste system and in a few more generations will mostly replace the caste system except among Hindutva fundamentalists, but these fundamentalists are a minority already.
But I wonder if the socio-economic situation changes at all for people from the scheduled class, after they become affiliated with Buddhism.
And every Dussera in India Ambedkar's group holds a ceremony where more come to Buddhism. This year there were over 10,000.
(Dussera is a Hindu festival that occurs in the fall and celebrates the triumph of good as depicted in the Hindu epic Ramayana.)
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I hope so.
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