A mother (or mum/mom) is a woman who has raised a child, given birth to a child, and/or supplied the ovum that united with a sperm which grew into a child. Because of the complexity and differences of a mother's social, cultural, and religious definitions and roles, it is challenging to specify a universally acceptable definition for the term. The male equivalent is a father.
Dalit is a designation for a group of people traditionally regarded as untouchable. Dalits are a mixed population, consisting of numerous social groups from all over South Asia; they speak a variety of languages and practice a multitude of religions. There are many different names proposed for defining this group of people, including Panchamas ("fifth varna"), and Asprushya ("untouchables").
In 2001, the proportion of Dalit population was 16.2 percent of India's total population. The Dalit population is broadly distributed across Indian states and districts. In 2001, the state of Punjab had the highest proportion of its population as Dalit, at about 29 percent, and the state of Mizoram had the lowest at nearly zero. The government of India recognises and protects them as Scheduled Castes. The term Dalit has been interchangeably used with term Scheduled Castes, and these terms include all historically discriminated communities of India out-caste and Untouchables.
While discrimination based on caste has been prohibited and untouchability abolished under the Constitution of India, discrimination and prejudice against Dalits in South Asia remains. Since its independence in 1947, India has implemented an affirmative policy of reservation, the scope of which was further expanded in 1974, to set aside and provide jobs and education opportunities to Dalits. By 1995, of all jobs in India, 17.2 percent of the jobs were held by Dalits, greater than their proportion in Indian population. In 1997, India democratically elected K. R. Narayanan, a Dalit, as the nation's President. Many social organisations too have proactively promoted better conditions for Dalits through improved education, health and employment.