When The Future Is Bright

By Siddharth (c) 2009

The girl above (and the two old women) are members of the so-called “untouchable”  community of India. ‘Dalits’ is now the politically correct term. Generations of dalits have been raped, killed, burnt and discriminated against because of the ugly caste system. Of course, caste discrimination is illegal by the law books of India, and over the years, progress has been made. We have had a dalit President (although I might add that in India, the post is only ceremonial), a dalit Chief Justice, a dalit Speaker of the House, and several dalit public figures, including Ambedkar, the Father of the Indian Constitution.

This doesn’t mean that dalits are no longer discriminated against; not by a long shot. But in this case, that of the girl above, the future is bright. She goes to school and is in the 9th grade and manages to score a very good 75% in her exams. She will get to work, being the only child to her liberal parents. She is well informed of the happenings of India and the world even, given she reads newspapers everyday (on the other hand, her parents are illiterate). She also claims that untouchability is something she has never had to face in her life.

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6 thoughts on “When The Future Is Bright

  1. She gets an education because her “parents are liberal?” However, her parents are illiterate? Leaves a lot of unanswered questions.

    • Yes, she gets education because her parents are liberal. Keep in mind an important fact: ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ as defined in the USA do NOT apply to the rest of the world. These terms are relative not absolute. Had her parents been conservative (by the definition applicable to a “rural-poor-dalit-Indian” family), then she would probably have to drop out after the 4th-5th grade and her parents would have concentrated on educating their sons. Daughters would have been neglected.

      And yes, her parents are illiterate. But that’s another story.

      Thanks for the comment.

      • Siddharth,

        You are one very well-rounded person!!

        You have an eye for the poignant and the mind for it’s clear expression. Beautiful work.

        Ajita

  2. i like the fact that these dalits are getting the education that they need. it makes very happy. women get shafted because of these customs that india has, men come first and then women. it’s very upsetting.

    • It is indeed heartening. But we have a long way to go still. I am sure she is one of the exceptions in our country. We need to pull up our socks and provide a level playing field for all to succeed.

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