In Dilwara, Rajasthan, Dalits are being treated in a more humane way by the 'upper castes'
Despite having been abolished at the time of Independence, untouchability is still widely practiced across India, with Dalits (the 'lowest caste') being looked down upon and discriminated, and prevented from joining mainstream society. Until recently, this was also the case in Dilwara village but change has started to happen in the last decade. Shambhu, our community correspondent in Rajasthan, decided to make a video to show that this kind of complex societal change is possible and that his community can be an example to those everywhere else.
For centuries, members of the Dalit community have been discriminated in all areas of social life. Confined to menial tasks such as cleaning, sweeping and dealing with garbage, they used to receive miserable salaries. Besides, Dalits were generally excluded from marriages, served food and water separately, and their children prevented from going to school because of the mockery and harassment imposed on them by other children.
The change was sparked mainly thanks to the work of Shyam Mandir, a local NGO that organized functions gathering each and every villager, to help them abandon engrained prejudices. These moments worked as powerful occasions for everyone to come together and overcome traditional stigma.
These programs have worked remarkably well, and the Dalits have seen their condition improving. The rest of society has gradually stopped despising them and treating them differently, their kids are able to go to school, and hence the new generation will take up better jobs than their parents. Shambhu wishes to show his video around, to people who still practice untouchability and discriminate Dalits, with the hope that one day India will free itself from this phenomenon.
Raeesh Ahmed / December 3, 2021
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