Wednesday, March 2, 2016

India Untouched

So as most of you know, the Indian Constitution has abolished laws regarding untouchability to keep in terms with the constitution which states equal opportunities to be given to all irrespective of creed, cast, religion, sex, etc.
But sadly, in reality, the pictures isn't black and white.
Just as my exams were approaching, I was asked to watch a documentary for the Dalit Movement in India. The documentary's name is "India Untouched" and can be seen on YouTube.

First things first, I would like to implore everyone reading this to take out some time and watch his documentary. Let's get out of our urbanised shells and realise, India is a country based, formed, enshrined and ingrained about the caste system.
Now you and I living in our apartment in cities and town, reading this on our phones and tablets may not feel that our country, our very dear motherland and its citizens do not practise ''untouchability".
Oh come on, that is an archaic vile concept which nobody practices in society, but my dear fellow urban Indian, drive a 100 kilo-meters away from your homes and you'll realise that India is just the way it was when the British left. There is no change.

As I sat watching this documentary, I was beyond ashamed and helpless of belonging to this nation, of calling its citizens fellow humans with the aim to develop our country. But sadly, this bubble was popped. I was stripped off my rainbow and urban developed glasses and handled out a vision I couldn't wrap my head around.

I would like to formally apologise  to ever complain about the reservation system and how it effects the general masses, if the Dalits or the supposed lower casts have to live a life of slavery under the pretence of religion based on the caste system. I'm sorry for ever thinking the Dalits had it easy in case of never studying as much as me and getting seats in educational institutes. I'm sorry I ever though Indians could see past caste and religion. I'm sorry for thinking we have traits of being decent human beings.
I'm sorry for ever thinking casteism had been curbed and things were finally looking better. I'm sorry I never understood the reasons behind the Dalit movement and the Naxalite movement. For straight away figuring the Naxals were just bullying the government more to give them more reservation. (No, I don't in any way support or propagate naxalism, but more like understand where all this hate against the state is coming from) . I'm sorry I've been blinded by the urban media and the society and its propaganda, to think everything was okay and India was getting better. That India was actually developing socially and the stigma against caste was slowing rising.

Little kids from the age of 4 being taught that if they touched a Harijan they would be polluted. Their innocent smiles speaks of a gentle touch but their vile words coming from their mouths strained of the archaic caste system is a sight to see. The feelings that arise can't be described as reality that suddenly tastes bitter in my mouth.
 Dalits in parts of Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Punjab and a few more, cannot walk on the grounds of the upper caste with slippers, they cannot enter houses, they can't take milk or water without touching the vessel to avoid "polluting" the upper caste. The list is never ending and it just gets worse. To top it off- when asked why they practise Untouchability? -one unanimous answer. We don't know why, but our elders have taught us so, so we listen.

Even the way the scholarly pandits of Varanasi speak about how the caste system came into existence. God created the world and the people who live in it by first and the top- making the Brahmin's (priest) from his body, his head. The Kshatriyas (rulers and warriors) from the arms, the Vaishyas (artist and merchants) from the thighs of God's body and the lowest Shudras (labour  class) from his feet.
As biologically speaking, the feet is the lowest part of the body, hence the Shudras or the Dalits are considered the lowest caste and so are untouchables for the upper castes.
Hence it is written in the Vedas and so every Hindus' must follow it. God is the supreme and what he says is written in the books and so we must follow the books said one religious head.
Even Muslim and Christian converts are not spare. Religion may change, but caste is almost engraved in the soul and Dalits are time and again reminded of their place, on the ground. Literally and figuratively.

The sheer ignorance on part of us and the silent acceptance of the Dalits into a more than a decade long history of slavery is something that sends chills down my spine.

The horrific stories of employment given to the Dalits is spell bounding.  From doing the dirtiest jobs of cleaning bathrooms, to picking up death bodies from train accidents, to cleaning up after a delivery of a child from throwing away the placenta to cleaning up the residue blood on the child, everything is done by them. The lowest of the lowest or the dirtiest jobs which nobody wants to do, is ruled by the Dalits.
Isn't it funny how we call the garbage cleaning woman as "kachrawali" meaning (waste producer) when in actuality she cleans up your crap and you're the one that creates it. Maybe its time we call ourselves kachrawalas, since we even treat our fellow humans as crap. We're the ones that produce all that waste and dirt, but they are the ones who clean it, feel the brunt of cleaning it while facing systematic oppression  from the upper caste.

Dalit in literal translation means broken people. It is heartbreaking to see that your own countrymen follow the absurdities of caste and treat their fellow beings worse than dogs. Even dogs are allowed to eat, drink, enter the houses of the upper caste, but god forbid a Dalit touches you.

Dalits aren't broken by choice, but broken by us. The supposed upper caste who run over them blindly, just because of a few words attached to our name, which is of more importance than the self respect and dignity of another human being.

If this is the world we continue to live in, I refuse to sometimes to associate myself as a human anymore. Even the jungle has more class than us. 
It's a horrible world we live in friends, a truly misguided by religion, absurd from the start of it, which I am to now almost forced to call as home.

Dear India, is this really the 21st century you want to live? 

Until next time readers.

Here is the link on YouTube. The documentary is divided in 10 parts.