Just One Person#1 Dalit

The woman in this picture is a Dalit, and many of you reading this post will have no idea what that means, and have no experience of witnessing the treatment of people “labelled” as Dalits.

Change the word Dalit to “untouchable” and you might, just might begin to understand, but only slightly. Imagine living in your comfortable western surroundings in Europe, America, Australia…. and wake up one morning to find that your passport has been confiscated along with your citizenship rights, you have lost your job, nobody will speak to you, look at you, or touch you. Nobody will touch what you have touched, you cannot take any job except garbage cleaning, toilet cleaning, rubbish collecting. You cannot grow or touch food that is to be eaten by others, you cannot cook food that is to be eaten by others. Welcome to the world of being a Dalit!

The Dalit is the lowest caste in the Hindu world and therefore is a real life situation for many in India and Nepal specifically. They are true outcasts since many of the rights and freedoms we take for granted are denied them, including education directly and indirectly.

I took the photo of this woman early one morning in Bhaktapur, the sun was shining and she sat down to take a break with a cigarette, probably a little ganja. She had methodically swept the dust away from the terracotta brick floor and the small shrine at the foot of the larger temple of Nyatapola in the town centre. She probably earned just enough to feed herself for a single day. Tomorrow …… who knows, who cares?

I was inspired to post this photo following a post by my blogging friend Cady who wrote Just One Person ….. maybe it’s inspirational enough for a weekly challenge?



Categories: Nepal, Photography

Tags: , , , , , , ,

23 replies

  1. Affluence breeds a distinctive type of rebellion. Instead of being grateful for the many luxuries, some folks will find something to complain about. They continually want better, more, faster, smarter. They look ahead and miss the present moment.
    Your capture of the Dalit women is poignant. Many years ago, I was in Bhaktapur. There were a few street vendors but no beggars at that time. The only beggars I saw were blind and handicapped from leprosy.
    The caste system is so entrenched, I cannot see it disappearing. This prejudice seems ingrained in the psyche as there are even layers within the upper Brahmins. They ask for your surname and decide what rank you sit within. It falls to us in the privileged world to help. And we can.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a poignant photo, but so beautiful too! I am so glad you shared this with us today…….it makes you realize how happy, fortunate and forgiving we should all be! I met a woman from India, on one of the cruises, and asked her about the caste system there. Her reply, “it will always be with us.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m glad you posted this story as the more people who understand the Dalit position in India and Nepal (where I didn’t know it also existed) the better. It is a blight on humanity and we should be pressuring the Governments of those countries to effect change. It will take a long, long time though. Social mores and long-held prejudices have a habit of clinging on, and like slavery, to lose the lowest caste in the chain also brings some loss of prestige to the next person up the line – not to mention financial cost.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a very wise comment, and I appreciate it. It’s even a scourge that happens higher up the caste chain with many young women I know, highly educated, end up in arranged marriages, live in their husbands extended family home, and ….. become “servants”. Why no protests in the western world? Forget the paste, deal with the present!

      Like

  4. This is a very sad picture and story. Hard to believe it still happens in this day and age.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So sad. People can be awful. I noticed that when I left my job… Did you speak to this woman to know her story?

    Like

  6. That’s a very sad situation to be in ..we should stop taking for granted our own wonderful lives
    Thanks for posting Dr B

    Liked by 2 people

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