India’s Prime Minister Vows to Upend Centuries-Old ‘Poisonous’ Caste System


This may very well be the biggest civil rights battle — at least internationally — unfolding in real time unbeknownst to most of the world.

For months, India’s “untouchables,” known formally as Dalits, have been revolting against the centuries-old caste system, a religious order that has determined individuals’ lot in life and has prevented them from ever escaping it. Dalits gathering in the thousands have been holding “beef festivals” as a sign of protest, given cows are sacred in Hindu culture, along with blocking roadways and burning busses.

And now it seems the country may finally be on the precipice of change. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, speaking to CNN-News18′s Rahul Joshi in an interview to air Friday, condemned the oppressive caste system, saying it has “no place” in “civilized society.”

“This is a social problem, which is deeply rooted,” Modi said. “Politics over social imbalances is a disservice to society. To all those who have faced injustice for generations, today the [Bharatiya Janata Party] has a sizeable presence of tribal [members of parliament] and [members of the legislative assembly].”

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