Discrimination is well rooted into our history as can be seen from the Varna system of ancient India which promptly excluded the Dalits from the four main Varnas and were called as Panchama. Hundreds of years later and here we are still at the face of discrimination.
Current wave of protests against discrimination of African Americans in the US has fueled a concern for discrimination within India. Dalits have borne the brunt of systemic social injustice throughout the country and have been sacrificed at the altar of hatred for simple actions like visiting a temple or owning a horse.
Let’s look at instances when dalits were treated inhumanly and killed cruelly at hands in the name of Casteism.
For sitting cross legged in front ‘upper caste’ Hindus in a temple-
In 2018, in Kachanatham village of Tamil Nadu, three Dalits were brutally attacked and killed for being ‘dishonorable’ and sitting cross legged in a temple in front of the upper caste Hindu individuals. One of the victims was a senior citizen.
For owning a horse-
In 2018 itself, a young boy of 21 years, Pradeep Rathod was found dead in Gujarat’s Timbi village in Gujarat for owning a horse which a ‘upper class privilege.
For resisting rape-
In Jaipur, a minor of 16 years old was raped and on resisting the 19 year old accused killed her and hung her body in a hut to make it look like rape.
In Udaipur, a young Hindu dalit boy of 25 years was stabbed to death by six Muslim individuals over a minor fishing dispute at night.
For entering a temple-
Just a few days back in April a 17 years old boy in UP was killed for ‘daring’ to enter a temple.
Near Pune, in Maharashtra, a young dalit boy was lynched to death by the father and brothers of his lover who happened to be of upper caste. He was chased in a motor cycle and beaten in front of everyone on the road and left to die on the sidewalks.
For preventing abduction of her daughter.-
Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra has been known for its atrocious activities and very recently in March of 2020 a 27 year old man brutally shot a woman of 36years. The dalit woman who was protecting her daughter from abduction by the youth was shot point blank and died right at the spot.
For fighting for dalit rights-
After lynching, killing and raped when the oppressed dalits seek justice and fight for equal rights, they are killed and ill treated again and the resemblance to black oppression in the US is uncanny. From 21 dalits being killed in 1996 for seeking equality to 4 being killed in Nepal in recent 2020, the mindset towards casteism has not changed much in India.
Even after 50 years of independence, India does not seem to be independent from her hateful mindset against dalits and their rights. Despite the open injustice against the dalits, there seems to very little awareness for demanding the justice that this oppressed class of India has been facing. As valid is the demand for justice against George Floyd’s murder, we must take this opportunity to introspect and demand justice and rightful laws protecting the dalit brothers and sisters of our nation.
Banaras Hindu University
2nd Year, English hons.
Mohona is an avid reader and equality seeker. She takes a keen interest in painting and finds solace among books, coffee, nature and dogs.