‘We Are All Untouchables’ formed to oppose injustice of caste-based discrimination

Published: January 31, 2013

GURPREET SINGH
RADIO INDIA

Dalits

A supporter of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) waits during a political rally in Palwal, India in this file photo. The BSP was founded in 1984 to represent the Dalits, also regarded as ‘untouchables’ or of low caste. Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

As social justice activists gear up for the Community March Against Racism on March 23, 2013, I have launched a group on Facebook called “We Are All Untouchables!!!” in solidarity with Dalits, or the oppressed classes of India who continue to be treated as “untouchables” by the so-called upper caste peoples in the world’s largest secular democracy.

Despite all the progress and development in India, Dalits not only continue to face social boycott but are also forced to indulge in manual scavenging for living. It is shocking that Dalits still face segregation at public places, especially in rural India, in accordance with the age old caste structure that bars Dalits from visiting temples or even take food or water from community kitchens or public wells. In many parts of India, Dalits are not served at barber shops or allowed to ride motorbikes or walk in shoes in the presence of the upper caste people.

In spite of a ban on untouchability and manual scavenging by Indian laws, these practices go on due to lack of political will to end this menace for caste considerations. Thousands of Dalits who are forced to indulge in manual scavenging are currently marching in India seeking an end to this inhuman trade. It’s difficult for them to get out of it due to lack of work opportunities for those considered untouchables by potential employers offering other dignified jobs.

This all reflects very badly on a state that is supposed to be secular. It is pertinent to mention that this caste-based oppression is rooted in Hindu religion. Yet it is accepted in a secular society. Even other modern religious groups have accepted it as a social reality.

The hypocrisy of this principle is also reflected by the fact that sexual violence against Dalit women by rich and influential upper caste men is very common. In a nutshell, the attitude of treating Dalits as pests or those born to serve those who consider themselves as culturally superior is at the root of this problem.

“We Are All Untouchables” was formed with the consensus of Dalit activist friends on the 64th Republic Day of India. It was felt that the Indian establishment, too, has been indifferent towards caste-based oppression, which is as brutal as racism. To break this silence it is important for everyone to speak up against this injustice. The members of the group have resolved to join the march and take placards and signs bearing the slogan “We Are All Untouchables.”

Tags: , , ,




Featured

kid

Devastating, monthlong heatwave in India has killed hundreds, as temperatures surge close to 50 C

Heatwave ◄ Back Next ► Picture 1 of 12 An Indian child cools off under a fountain at a water park in Hyderabad on May…
Continue Reading »

pioneers

Ossie Kaur Thandi’s family was just one of seven Indo-Canadian families living in New West in 1934

SPECIAL TO VANCOUVER DESI Ossie Kaur was 16 years old when she left her childhood home in the Lower Mainland to travel alone to India….
Continue Reading »

football-100year journey

B.C.’s South Asian pioneer Ranjit Mattu mentored many football stars

SPECIAL TO VANCOUVER DESI Even as a child, Ranjit Mattu knew he had game. From his first play on the field of Mount Pleasant Elementary,…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

pioneers

Ossie Kaur Thandi’s family was just one of seven Indo-Canadian families living in New West in 1934

SPECIAL TO VANCOUVER DESI Ossie Kaur was 16 years old when she left her childhood home in the Lower Mainland to travel alone to India….
Continue Reading »

A look at Alberta Premier Rachel Notley’s first cabinet

THE CANADIAN PRESS EDMONTON — A look at Alberta’s NDP cabinet sworn in Sunday: Rachel Notley (Edmonton Strathcona) Premier, minister of intergovernmental affairs. Notley, 51,…
Continue Reading »

Japan-Canada trade talks stalled with no meetings in sight

By Mike Blanchfield THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA — Trade talks have stalled between Canada and Japan — one of the Harper government’s priority countries for…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

weight-loss

Do we need to exercise more or eat less?

JILL BARKER MONTREAL GAZETTE A battle is waging in the scientific journals between several prominent health and fitness experts. In one corner are physicians Aseem Malhotra,…
Continue Reading »

exam scores

Identical twins’ mark sheets almost as identical and the story of a courageous young achiever

HINDUSTAN TIMES AND VANCOUVER DESI They are identical twins and, interestingly, even their mark sheets look almost the same. Ranchi twins Aporupa and Anorupa Chattopadhyay …
Continue Reading »

India-pharma-under scanner

U.S. lawsuit puts generic drug imports from India under scanner

IANS Washington – A U.S. class action lawsuit accusing India’s Ranbaxy of large-scale deception on its generic drug applications puts a question mark on drug…
Continue Reading »

100 year journey

Apart from the overwhelming cold, Sucha Singh Bagri has fond memories of his first few days in B.C.

SPECIAL TO VANCOUVER DESI Sucha Singh Bagri arrived in Canada with his father Harnam Singh Bagri on Feb 2, 1935, on the Empress of Russia,…
Continue Reading »

swimsuits

Who wants to be a Princess? Beauty pageant contestants undergo rigorous training

VANCOUVER DESI Divas aspiring to become Indian Princesses are undergoing rigorous training before the grand finale of the beauty pageant in Mumbai. Indian princess pageant 2015 ◄…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

SALMAN KHAN

Is Salman Khan going to join Sylvester Stallone’s Expendables?

IANS Mumbai — Sylvester Stallone and Salman Khan seem to have a mutual admiration. The Hollywood star is all praise for the “super talented Indian…
Continue Reading »

Items of clothing are displayed in room 331 of the Martinez Hotel, where Parisian fashion house Elie Saab provides sartorial services to celebrities attending the 68th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 21, 2015. During the Cannes Film Festival, room 331 is radically transformed into a red carpet emergency room - where celebrities like Naomi Watts and Nicole Kidman can rush to if they pop out of a dress, or a zipper breaks. Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP

‘Nip slips’ and broken zippers: Red carpet Emergency Room for Cannes wardrobe malfunctions always full of drama

THOMAS ADAMSON THE ASSOCIATED PRESS CANNES, France – For most of the year, room 331 of the Martinez Hotel is just your run-of-the mill luxury…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood

Bollywood beauty Aishwarya Rai doesn’t leave her daughter alone even for a night

HINDUSTAN TIMES Apart from walking the red carpet at Cannes Film Festival, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is also screening footage from her upcoming film, Jazbaa. The first…
Continue Reading »