In this blog post, we are dealing with the topic, who are Dalits? What is Dalit Theology? If you want to know about Dalit Theology, then this post is for you.
Who are the Dalits?
When we ask, who are Dalits? Then we can say, those who are the broken, the torn, the rent, the burst, the split; those who are they opened, the expanded; the bisected. They have driven, asunder, the dispelled, the scattered; the downtrodden, the crushed, the destroyed, and they manifested.
What is Dalit theology?
This question-answer has given by Webster in three different ways:
- Firstly, It is a theology that has reflected upon the Christian responsibility to the depressed classes.
- Secondly, this is a theology for the depressed classes or the theology of the message addressed to the depressed classes and to which they seem to respond.
- Thirdly, it is a theology from the depressed classes which they themselves like to expound.
This query, according to Webster
The first solution may be that it’s miles a theology approximately the Dalits; or theological reflection upon the Christian obligation to the depressed instructions.
Secondly, the answer can be that it miles a theology for the depressed training; or the theology of the message addressed to the depressed instructions; and to which they appear to be responding.
Thirdly, the answer can be that it’s far a theology from the depressed classes; that is the theology, which they themselves would really like to expound.
Nirmal says that a Christian Dalit theology produces with the aid of Dalits. It bases totally on their very own Dalit reports, their own sufferings, their personal aspirations, and their personal hopes. It is going to narrate the story in their pathos; and their protest against the socio-monetary injustices.
They had been subjected to for the duration of history. It is expecting liberation which is meaningful to them. It constitutes a radical discontinuity with the classical Indian Christian theology of the Brahminic Subculture.
This Brahminic way of life within classical Indian theology desires to be challenged via the rising Dalit theology. This means that a Christian Dalit theology can be a counter-theology. Basically, it’s miles the commonplace Dalit enjoys of Christian Dalits; alongside the other Dalits in order to shape a Christian Dalit theology.
Historical Dalit consciousness
It is the primary datum of a Christian Dalit theology. The question of Dalit consciousness is really the question of Dalit identity, the question of their roots. Moreover, Deuteronomy 26: 5-12 is taken as one of the biblical foundations because it has tremendous implications for Dalit theology.
A creed, a confession, a faith affirmation must exercise in laying bare the roots of the believing community. ‘A wandering Aramean was my father’ recalls the nomadic consciousness. To confess that ‘once we were no people’ is also an integral part of a confession, before we come to the claims ‘now we are God’s people.’
It is only when we recognize one’s root, one’s identity, we become truly confessional. A truly confessional theology has to do with the question of the roots, identity, and consciousness. The historic Deuteronomy Creed has paradigmatic value for Dalit theological construct.
The Dalit needs an activist struggle for liberation, a movement informed by its action towards its theological reflection. Their pathos should give birth to their protest. Their protest should be so loud that the walls of Brahminism should come tumbling down. A Christian Dalit theology is a theology which has full of pathos, but not a passive theology.
The Question of God
The God whom Jesus Christ revealed and about whom the prophets of the OT spoke is a Dalit God. So, God is a servant God–who serves. Services for others have always been the privilege of Dalit communities in India. Unfortunately, the word ‘service’, ministry, or Diakonia has lost its cutting edge.
Originally the word Diakonia was associated with the waiting at the dining table. The ‘servant’ therefore, means a waiter. Our housemaid or the sweeper who cleans commodes and latrines are truly our servants.
In this sense say that servant God means our God. God is a server, a dhobi, all such services have been the lot of Dalits. This means we have participated in this servant-God’s ministries.
Therefore, Jesus Himself recognizes and identifies a servant of God as a truly Dalit deity. The gospel identified Jesus with the servant of God of Isaiah (Is. 53:2-8).
The Servant language here used to describe the full of pathos. This is the language used for God–the God of Dalits. This is also the language that mirrors the God of Dalits and Dalits themselves.
The Dalit proclaims and affirms that Jesus Christ whose followers we are was himself a Dalit – despite his being a Jew. The humanity and divinity of Jesus to be understood in terms of his Dalitness. So, the Dalitness of Jesus is the key to his mystery of divine-human unity.
a) Geneology (Mt. 1: 1-17):
Among Jesus’ ancestors, there are few names that should startle and shocked us.
Firstly, there is a name in the Bible, Tamar. Tamar is the daughter-in-law of Judah. She is conceiving with outwitted her father-in-law by sleeping.
Secondly, there is Rahab – the harlot who helped the Israelite spies.
Thirdly there is the king of Solomon. We should not forget that Solomon was the illegitimate child of David. These small ancestries of Jesus suggest his Dalit conditions.
b) The Son of Man
The title used in three different ways – it means a person ordinarily. Secondly, the Son of Man saying indicates Jesus’ present sufferings and imminent death. Thirdly, it is the eschatological Son of Man sayings.
The second group of Son of Man sayings is significant for developing a Dalit Christology. These sayings speak of the Son of Man as encountering rejection, mockery, contempt, suffering, and finally death.
Another feature of Jesus’ life is his total identification with the Dalits of his day. His identity as Dalit is eating and drinking with publicans, tax-collectors, and sinners of his day.
To say that we are Christian Dalits and not just Dalits has Christological implications, which must be faced boldly. It means first that we proclaim and affirm that Jesus Christ himself was a Dalit despite his being a Jew.
So, the terms humanity and divinity to be understood of Jesus’ dalitness. His Dalitness is the key to the mystery of his divine-human unity. His Dalitness can trace to his genealogy as given in Matthew (Mt. 1:1-17).
The Son of Man saying is indicative of Jesus’ present sufferings and imminent death which is also significant for developing a Dalit Christology. These sayings speak of the Son of Man as encountering rejection, mockery, contempt, suffering, and finally death.
Jesus suffered from the dominant religious tradition and the established religion. He underwent these Dalit experiences as the prototype of all Dalits.
Another feature of Jesus’ life is this total identification with the Dalits of his day. Jesus accused of eating and drinking with publicans, tax-collectors, and sinners of his day. The Nazareth Manifesto has tremendous significance for the Dalit.
Jesus made two illustrations that indicate that the liberation he talked about the Dalits and not for non-Dalits. The gospel that Jesus brought was the gospel for Dalits.
The whole situation change at Jesus’ explosive words and we read, ‘when they heard this all in the synagogue filled with wrath.’ (Luke. 4: 16-29). The Nazareth Manifesto is really a manifesto for Dalit.
c) Cleaning the Temple (Who are the Dalits)
In Mark 11: 15-19, we can see Jesus’ another ministry. Here in these verses significance for a Christian Dalit theology. The suggestion coming from Lightfoot maintains that the incident of the cleansing of the temple must be understood in terms of its implications for the Gentiles.
All the shopping for and promoting and cash replacing befell in the part of the temple precincts, which had reserved, for the gentile worship. It was the gentile courtroom.
The gentiles had no access to the internal precincts in which the Jewish worship right became conducted. The Bazar held inside the gentile court docket consequently successfully prevented them from undertaking their worship in a nonviolent and quiet manner. Jesus the messianic king for this reason restores to the gentiles their spiritual rights.
Lightfoot’s interpretation makes sense to the Indian Dalits who had to struggle for the temple entry rights and we know about temple entry legislation in the various states of India. We the Indian Dalits know what it means to be denied that entry to the temple; and to be denied the right to pray and worship.
Gentile rights to worship in Jesus’ act of restoration. So, we see a pre-figuration of the vindication of the Indian Dalit struggle for their prayer and worship rights.
Conclusion (Who are the Dalits)
Jesus’ Dalitness symbol is the Cross. Jesus broke, crushed, split, torn on Cross for the Dalit in the fullest possible meaning of that term. My God, why have you forsaken me? He cries aloud from the Cross.
The son of God feels that his God is forsaken. That feeling of being God-forsaken is on the coronary heart of our Dalit reports and Dalit focus in India. It is the Dalitness of the divinity and humanity that the cross of Jesus Symbolizes. You can read what is justice by clicking here.