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Establishment Of Buddhist Sacred Space In Contemporary India: The Ambedkarite Buddhism, Dalit Civil Religion And The Struggle Against Social Exclusion

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Chapter Summary

Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar created a new form for Buddhism often called as Ambedkarite Buddhism. The first characteristic of the Ambedkarite Buddhist movement is that it is a product and expression of modern Buddhism. The second characteristic of Ambedkarite Buddhism is that Buddhism has become a religious identity for groups and persons in India that are identified as scheduled castes, Untouchables, Harijans, and Dalits. Another characteristic of the Ambedkarite Buddhist movement is the erection of Ambedkar statues and monuments. A main characteristic of the Dalits is that they have been an excluded group, and the conversion to Buddhism and the conversion of sacred places, are efforts at attaining social inclusion. The construction of monuments and the establishment of Buddhist Dalit space in contemporary India is an attempt to move the Dalits to the centre of the Indian civilization by using the civil religion that was created by Ambedkar.

Keywords: Ambedkarite Buddhism; contemporary India; Dalit civil religion; sacred space; social exclusion



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