CONVERSION TO BUDDISM -
I earlier used to think that conversion of Dalits to Buddhism is somewhere linked to their fight for success, recognition & justice. Something the upper communities had deprived them of. Even if they had the ability, talent & courage, they were oppressed & bullied.
But my views were limited, if not wrong. Because when a successful person converts, it underlines much more than just a fight for success. It’s like throwing off the chains of the social structure that caused all the sufferings and exploitation of their community.
Many of the successful people who converted to Buddhism would have had thought that way. But for many ,I think, That this is the "escape" Path. May people get converted so that they can enjoy the benefit of being a part of the minority caste too.
If we look deeper, conversion into any religion should be a result of proper study of the same so that it is not just a formality. Proper understanding of the underlying values and principles as well as rituals, prayers, etc, will not only bring a greater sense of digity ,it would also bring respect for that particular religion also. If we are to talk of Buddhism, most of the converted ones were previously Dalits and they converted bacause they could not face the tag of being a dalit. Understanding or respecting the values of The Buddha or practising the same were not a part of the process. Even after conversion, when they get that recognition of being a buddhist, they still do not aspire to practise atleast the basic Panchsheel. They still follow the rituals and principles of the previous religion that they used follow. So conversion becomes a namesake.
Honestly speaking, conversion to Budhhism alone is not the solution to break free of the bondage of the dalit tag. Upliftment of a community will be possible only and only by education(I am Not speaking of being literate) and honest labour. Whoever was a dalit had reached some higher level in the social ladder has had to put in very hard labour. So people have to understand the fact.