What is Sanskritization?

Sanskritization is a process by which scheduled castes, tribes and other low Hindu castes changes their way of life, customs and rituals in the direction of upper castes. Sanskritization gained more momentum during the British rule. Caste census fueled anger among the many lower castes in hierarchy. Educationally and economically mobile lower castes didn’t accept their inferior position in the society and claimed higher status in the caste census by sanskritising their way of life.

Sanskritic beliefs and values were mediated to the scheduled castes by socio-economic reformers like Kabir Panth, Sri Narayana Guru etc. Many scheduled castes and tribes changed their dressing style and eating habits in the similar way of upper castes. But they had to face a lot of violence by upper castes for following their way of life.

Sanskritization continued in the post-independence period. Some scheduled castes adopted upper caste names, discovered myths about their origin and changed their traditional occupations. Though the process is followed by many, only those that are politically or economically powerful succeeded in the process.

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