A Dalit community looks to escape the caste system by converting to Buddhism

Source: Religion News Service

AHMEDABAD, India (RNS) Dosa vendor Sunil Gagnath Sabkale watches over a fragile Buddhist temple across the street from a market where he sells his crepelike pancakes.

The temple consists of a small courtyard with a flimsy bamboo shelter built around a painted statue of the Buddha. But it is sacred to the hundreds of Buddhists whose parents converted to the faith from Hinduism decades ago.

Nearby, a flower garland is draped on a canvas depiction of B.R. Ambedkar, a prominent activist and signer of the country’s constitution.

Ambedkar, a victim of caste-based discrimination, is also known for converting from Hinduism, the country’s dominant faith, to Buddhism, a minority faith that represents less than 1 percent of the total Indian population, according to the 2011 census.

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