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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 December 2006, 15:01 GMT
In pictures: Escaping caste

Bhimrao Ambedkar, one of the founders of modern India

Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar was a member of the lowest Hindu caste, the Dalits or untouchables, but he was also one of the main authors of India's post-independence constitution

A Buddhist monk from Taiwan leads the mass conversion ceremony in Hyderabad, central India

Fifty years after Dr Ambedkar converted to Buddhism, millions of Dalits have followed his example as they seek to escape their lowly position in the Hindu caste system

Dalit girls attending a special school in Nagpur

One of the central features of Dr Ambedkar's teachings was that Dalits, particularly girls, should have the right to education

The Dalit community in Nagpur

Dr Ambedkar argued for his followers to leave their Hindu gods behind and convert, preferably, to Buddhism; the Dalit community in Nagpur has all converted to Buddhism

One of Dr Ambedkar's fervent followers

Following his teachings, Dalits like this old woman have moved to the city to try to improve their lot in life

Dalit girls peer out of their window in Nagpur

Dr Ambedkar called for equal rights for Dalits and successfully argued for quotas in higher education and the civil service that guaranteed places for them

The Ambedkarite Dalit community in Nagpur

A statue of Dr Ambedkar has pride of place and stands next to a statue of Buddha in Nagpur's Dalit community

Escaping caste
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