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[children of God], in India, individuals who are at the bottom of or outside the Hindu caste system. They were traditionally sweepers, washers of clothes, leatherworkers, and those whose occupation it was to kill animals.
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- in India, a member of a low CASTE (see HINDUISM) or ‘untouchable’group, thus subject to ritual and social exclusion.
- by analogy, any social outcast, or stigmatized individual or group.
a member of an untouchable caste in southern India, rather numerous in the state of Tamil Nadu. In the past it was virtually forbidden for pariahs to have social relations with members of higher castes. Because of the tyranny of the caste system, pariahs lived in separate settlements and were used by cooperative landowners mainly in land cultivation. They were often reduced to the level of serfs and slaves. Pariahs and other low castes in the Republic of India are struggling for social and legal equality and fair land distribution. In European languages “pariah” has come to mean an outcast.