Dalit which means ‘broken’ or ‘scattered’ in Sanskrit, is a very familiar term.
Dalits constitute 25% of the Indian population. The notion that Dalits are the lowest caste and supposedly the ‘untouchables', dates back to time immemorial.
There have been many efforts to curb the atrocities of the Dalits but the discrimination and plight still continue to this day. Be it in education, health, politics, social life, or religion, Dalits are being targeted solely because they were not fortunate enough to be born in an upper-caste family.
Article 15 of the Indian constitution clearly states the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of race, religion, caste, sex, or place of birth. Yet, how far has this been helpful?
A Dalit man accused of robbery was tied and beaten to death by a group of people in Gujarat's Rajkot.
Now, what is the purpose of the law and order when the public takes law into their own hands?
A Dalit man was shot dead because he fell in love with an upper-caste woman in Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar. In another incident, a Dalit wedding procession was attacked. Why? Simply because the groom sat on a horse. Horses are supposedly only meant for the upper caste people.
A Dalit woman and her unborn child died after being attacked by an upper-caste woman for touching a bucket. An infant was beaten to death after the mother objects to caste abuse.
In some parts of India, Dalits are not allowed to enter the temple.
They can only offer prayers from outside. While in some areas, there are separate temples. Three men killed a Dalit for seating on a chair and having food at a wedding. Are chairs only manufactured for the upper caste? Yet again a Dalit man was killed for eating in front of an upper-caste man. A 23-year-old in quarantine refused to eat food prepared by a Dalit cook. In September 2015, a Dalit woman was stripped naked and was forced to drink urine by the perpetrators in Madhya Pradesh. Jat Khap Panchayat ordered the rape of two Dalit sisters because their brother eloped with a married Jat woman.
The recent rape case of a 19-year-old Dalit girl that took place in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh, succumbed to her injuries and she died. She was cremated without her family’s consent. The irony here is she was raped by an upper-caste man.
Dalits being untouchables, their touch is usually considered unholy and dirty, but raping them is totally fine?
Children belonging to the Dalit family are forced to quit school due to constant harassment and casteism by fellow students and teachers. They are forbidden from touching mid-day meals. They are told to sit separately at lunch and eat with specially marked plates.
Dalits are confined to jobs like garbage collectors, drainage cleaners, sanitation workers, sweepers, manual scavengers, etc. As a matter of fact, Dalits are limited to equal and meaningful political participation.
Every now and then, Dalits are subjugated to the lowest level for the lamest reasons, tortured to the worst for absurd reasons.
Humanity has been buried 6 feet under the ground. Their existence is disregarded for reasons best known to the upper caste. But hey, watch out. Every dog has its day. The tables can turn anytime. Be grateful if you have food on your table, a roof over your head, and clothes to cover you. If you don’t wish to help then don’t mistreat them either. Get on the shoes of a Dalit for a day and you’ll know. They say ‘ignorance is bliss' but the plight of Dalits cannot be unseen.