DH Exclusive | 53 castes in Karnataka on the verge of extinction: Panel report – Deccan Herald

Karnataka has 53 castes that are on the verge of extinction, a High-Level Committee has said in its report, revealing the plight of these “invisible” people who do not enjoy government benefits. 


These marginalised Scheduled Castes live in “highly pathetic” conditions, the committee headed by retired High Court Justice Subhash Adi said in its October 7 report to the government, a copy of which is with DH.
The committee was tasked with examining the modalities of implementing Justice H N Nagamohan Das Commission’s recommendation on hiking SC/ST reservations.
“These communities are extremely small in number and most deprived classes. Even the names of these castes have remained invisible and they are depending only on traditional occupations and professions,” the report said. “…most of these small castes have not gained any place in the mainstream of national life, they either have become invisible or at the verge of extinction (sic).”
Also Read | Karnataka Governor gives assent to ordinance hiking SC/ST reservation
Of the 53, the total population of 47 communities is less than one lakh, according to the report.
For example, the population of Dakkaligas — traditionally beggars who sing folk songs — does not cross 1,000. The population of Dasari is less than 500. The Pambada (musicians at religious functions) is estimated to be 614, whereas the Bandi community is numbered 608 and Adiyas (agricultural labourers) are just 811.
Castes such as Masti, Mastikaru and Manne (they are into religious beggary, singing and collecting alms) do not exceed 100. 
The report further added, by citing an NLSIU study, that 74 per cent of the nomadic and semi-nomadic tribal communities have remained invisible, with their population not exceeding 10,000 and literacy level as low as 3 per cent.
These deprived classes “have not seen the fruits of reservation till today”, the report said. Citing public employment data, the report concluded that the fruits of reservation were confined to only a few castes out of 101 SCs.
The report also underlined the living conditions of slum dwellers in urban areas and tribal women as “far from satisfactory”.
“The level of educational condition of communities such as Devdasis, Safai Karmacharis is highly deplorable. These communities have not got the benefits of reservation in government jobs or higher education, though reservation has existed since independence,” the report said.
“About 50 per cent of the slum dwellers are SC/ST but they are not getting any benefits from even government programs or reservations. The living standard of this community in various slums of cities and towns in the state is highly pathetic,” the report stated.
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