Caste


Ever since Chand Muni’s son and her three nephews belonging to the Nat community were beaten to death for allegedly stealing buffaloes in Ara village of Bihar, the lives of Muni and her daughter-in-law have gone from bad to worse. The shopkeepers in the village refuse to give them ration, their house was burnt down, and no compensation has come their way.

(click here to read more from the Hindu)

“INDIA UNTOUCHED: Stories of a People Apart” – The 110 minutes long film (in Hindi, Bhojpuri, Gujarati, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam, with English sub-titles) is perhaps the most comprehensive look at untouchability ever undertaken on film. Director Stalin K. spent four years traveling the length and breadth of the country to expose the continued oppression of Dalits, the ‘broken people’ who suffer under a 4,000 year-old religious system.

(click here to read more from Cuckoo’s Call)

In India, people are divided and known according to the castes they belong to. Caste is ancient system of social stratification followed by Hindus for centuries and still intact in its premitive form. On this episode’s show, we feature a documentary about India’s Caste System and a recording of a discussion at the South Asian Women’s Centre in Montreal reflecting on violence.

(click here to listen from the South Asian Community News Collective)

A U.N. human rights watchdog called on India on Friday to halt racial discrimination against lower castes which it said were victims of arbitrary arrests, rapes and killings, as well as land evictions. The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination said the more than 160 million Dalits — once known as “untouchables” — should be granted equal access to places of worship, hospitals, water sources and education.

(click here to read more)

Dr. Lenin Rahguvanshi, a human rights activist working for the Dalits and the backward class in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India has been receiving death threats from local political figures from the upper caste communities, asking him to stop his work with dalits or he and his family would be murdered.

(click here to read more from the South Asian)

Surekha Bhotmange, a Dalit (or so-called “untouchable”) member of the Hindu caste system in Maharashtra, was cooking the family evening meal on 29 September 2006 when a group of upper-caste men surrounded her home. Surekha, her 17-year-old daughter Priyanka, and two sons, 23-year-old Roshan and 21-year-old Sudhir, were dragged out of the hut. The two women were stripped, beaten and paraded through the village. The young men were beaten up so badly their faces were disfigured. All four died. Almost all of Khairlanji village witnessed this spectacle of caste vengeance. No one did much to stop it.

The attack was a retribution for previous activism. The upper-caste farmers from the area were using the Bhotmanges’ land as a throughway for their tractors. The family resisted, with the help of a Dalit rights activist. Siddharth Gajbhiye. Gajbhiye himself was beaten up. Surekha Bhotmange was a witness, identifying twelve perpetrators who were then arrested. On the day that the Bhotmange family was attacked, all twelve had been released on bail. They took their ghastly revenge.

(click here to read more from Human Rights Watch