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A member of the lowest class in traditional Indian society, falling altogether outside the Hindu caste categories and subject to extensive social restrictions.

[Hindi dalit, crushed, oppressed, from Sanskrit dalita-, past passive participle of dalayati, to cause to burst, variant of darayati, he splits, derived form (probably a denominative of -daraḥ, smasher, as in puraṃdaraḥ, citadel-smasher, an epithet of Indra) of darati, he splits; see der- in Indo-European roots.]

Da′lit adj.


(Hinduism) a member of the lowest class in India, whom those of the four main castes were formerly forbidden to touch. Formerly called (offensive): untouchable
[from Hindi, from Sanskrit dalita, literally: oppressed]
References in periodicals archive ?
The polls are a major step toward implementing the new constitution, which aims to empower marginalised communities, including women and Dalits - members of the so-called untouchable caste - by ensuring greater representation in state institutions.
Yulia Egorova and Shahid Perwez have produced an absorbing, comprehensive and theoretically-informed, anthropological study of a community which since the late 1980s has emerged out of the Madiga, an untouchable caste in Andhra Pradesh, as the Bene Ephraim, asserting descent from ancient Israelites, and thereby a Jewish identity.
It was here in 1917 that Gandhi invited those from the untouchable caste to join in the work of the Ashram.
But what has the international community achieved in helping the tiny bonded labourers in India, the daljits and harijans of the untouchable caste, whose little children work chained to work benches as they embroider saris for the wealthy?
His way was blocked by a candala, a member of the untouchable caste.
The young man belonged to Jatava, an untouchable caste, and the woman to the Jats, the so-called backward caste.
He scored some outstanding firsts for a member of a Hindu untouchable caste, in high school graduation, colleges and university degrees in Bombay, London and Columbia, achievements considered impossible for a member of an oppressed caste.
All are from Sofi's 700 Dalit families, India's Untouchable caste who are looked down upon by the rest of the population.
Her novel is set in a small town in Kerala where the police inspector taps the breasts of a divorced, upper-class woman, in front of her small children, when she comes to inquire after her jailed lover, a Communist worker from an untouchable caste.
On the other hand, Sunstein's view is also narrower because he limits his definition of caste to visible characteristics--a definition that might paradoxically exclude the Indian untouchable caste.
On the other hand, [Epsilon] varies directly with k, a parameter intended to capture the degree of ideological and social control wielded by the Peasant caste over the Untouchable caste or, equivalently, the degree of socially determined compliance and submissiveness of the workforce.
In Japan, a whole detective industry is based on finding out whether otherwise-respectable citizens are actually members of the untouchable caste known as burakumin.