‘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

Seniors-documentary-Parents

Stricken by her mom’s death, Sikh filmmaker learns ‘to keep moving forward’

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI When Vancouver filmmaker Baljit Sangra’s mother suddenly died after being struck by a car, Sangra was so devastated that she wanted…
Continue Reading »

Parliament hill

Dosanjh: We must criminalize glorification, encouragement of terrorism

UJJAL DOSANJH SPECIAL TO VANCOUVER DESI Canada is no stranger to terrorism. Nonetheless what has happened in the heart of our capital on the heels…
Continue Reading »

Royal Wedding

Aga Khan’s eldest son Prince Rahim and his wife Kendra Salwa Spears expecting their first child

VANCOUVER DESI The Aga Khan’s eldest son Prince Rahim and his wife Princess Salwa (Kendra Salwa Spears) are expecting their first child, the spiritual leader…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Seniors-documentary-Parents

Stricken by her mom’s death, Sikh filmmaker learns ‘to keep moving forward’

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI When Vancouver filmmaker Baljit Sangra’s mother suddenly died after being struck by a car, Sangra was so devastated that she wanted…
Continue Reading »

CIVIC ELECTIONS

Surrey mayoral candidates share city visions at first meeting

AMY REID VANCOUVER DESI SURREY — Surrey mayoral candidates met for the city’s first all-candidates meeting Thursday night at SFU. Six of the seven candidates…
Continue Reading »

OTTAWA

Surrey MP Nina Grewal’s account of the shootout in Ottawa

NINA GREWAL SPECIAL TO IANS  When Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was speaking at about 9.30 a.m. Wednesday in a caucus room of parliament, we…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

student dead

Two dead, including gunman, in school shooting north of Seattle

DOUG ESSER THE ASSOCIATED PRESS MARYSVILLE, Wash. — A student opened fire in a high school cafeteria north of Seattle on Friday, killing at least…
Continue Reading »

attack on Parliament Hill

Ottawa shooter kicked out of Burnaby mosque two years ago

Zehaf-Bibeau was asked to leave the mosque, because he had “gotten a hold of keys and stuff from the mosque, and when he got out…
Continue Reading »

labour laws violation

U.S. company penalized for mistreatment of Indian employees working 122 hours in a week

MICHAEL LIEDTKE THE ASSOCIATED PRESS SAN FRANCISCO – A Silicon Valley company is paying more than $43,000 in back wages and penalties after labour regulators…
Continue Reading »

DESI-SOCCER

Surrey soccer captain played the U-18 national club championship using only one foot

KYLE BENNING SURREY NOW SOUTH SURREY – Kyle Sohi’s perseverance and performance in the 2014 Sport Chek National Club Championships U-18 Cup Final might go…
Continue Reading »

SURREY-FIELD HOCKEY

Barinder Rasode announces plan to develop field hockey pitch in Surrey

Third field at Tamanawis Park would cost approximately $3 million KYLE BENNING SURREY NOW NEWTON – Barinder Rasode and the One Surrey team were at…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Stan Lee-Bollywood

Stan Lee plans Bollywood film on his first Indian superhero

VANCOUVER DESI Stan Lee, the legendary ‘Spiderman’ creator, is reportedly planning his Bollywood entry with a film on his Indian superhero character ‘Chakra: the Invincible’….
Continue Reading »

KANGANA RANAUT

Even my parents think I am weird, says Bollywood ‘Queen’ Kangana Ranaut

HINDUSTAN TIMES Kangana Ranaut has always made unconventional choices, be it her movies or the way she dresses. And the actor says she’s happy the…
Continue Reading »

Happy New Year-Bollywood

Happy New Year: Mandatory ‘formula’ and all those old Bollywood references

HINDUSTAN TIMES Film: Happy New Year Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Abhishek Bachchan, Boman Irani, Sonu Sood, Vivaan Shah, Jackie Shroff Director: Farah Khan…
Continue Reading »