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Dalits Or Untouchables In India´S Caste System

1044 words - 5 pages

Today in India, there is a group of 300 million people who face severe persecution; that’s about 25% of India’s total population (Kersey 1). These people, Untouchables, are now referred to as Dalits (Edwards 1). “In Sanskrit, the word Dalit means suppressed, smashed, broken to pieces” (“India’s Dalits Still Fighting Untouchability” 2). Even the definition of their name indicates the injustice that the Dalit people face. India passed legislation in 1950 that made the caste system illegal; additional laws were passed to give Untouchables other freedoms and legal aid (Kersey 2). Still, Untouchables remain incredibly poor, and they face persecution to this day (Kersey 1). Although the caste system in India was ended by law, life remains difficult for the country’s Untouchables.
Even the everyday tasks of daily life are not easy for Dalits. Many women are forced to make long treks to get water because they are banned from using the water sources where they live (“India’s Dalits Still Fighting Untouchability” 2). In some places, Untouchables are barred from going into temples or homes of people of higher castes (“India’s Dalits Still Fighting Untouchability” 2). One Untouchable explains that a barber will not perform his services for him (“India’s Dalits Still Fighting Untouchability” 2). This segregation indicates how hard life can be for Dalits in India, since they usually can’t even associate with people of upper castes.
Another obstacle that Dalits face is the struggle to carry a well-paying job. “Untouchability helps to lock Dalits, who traditionally do the dirtiest manual jobs, in their occupations” (“India’s Dalits Still Fighting Untouchability” 2). One example of this would be if a Dalit purchased cattle, then people of upper castes wouldn’t want to purchase the milk produced by the cows, since it was the product of an Untouchable (“India’s Dalits Still Fighting Untouchability” 2). So, it wouldn’t even make sense for an Untouchable to try to have a cattle farm, since they couldn’t make a profit off it. Even if an Untouchable did obtain a good job, he or she would be greatly outnumbered by members of upper castes. For example, a professor in India is the sole faculty member at the school where he teaches who is a Dalit (“India’s Dalits Still Fighting Untouchability”). During an interview, he was challenged “to name an influential Dalit academic. He can’t. A big name journalist? There isn’t one, he says. A Supreme Court judge? Two out of hundreds appointed in the last 65 years” (“India’s Dalits Still Fighting Untouchability” 2). This quote shows that Untouchables in India, for the most part, are not powerful or influential due to their low caste. Due to this lack of power, life is difficult for them.
There have been many violent actions directed towards Dalits over recent years. In fact, “the majority of human trafficking victims come from the Dalit people” (Kersey 1). Some of these events reported include Dalits being sexually assaulted,...

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