It’s Time for India’s ‘Untouchables’ to Live Free
While the United States remains consumed by political problems, and Europe by security issues, a once-in-a-millennium movement is taking place in my country, India.
This movement could trigger the single, greatest advance of civil rights in a thousand generations, yet the world is barely noticing.
India’s “untouchables” — or Dalits — are revolting against the centuries-old discrimination of the caste system. They are storming the streets by the tens of thousands, burning busses, blocking highways, and even holding “beef festivals” as a sign of protest.
India shakes as she ever has before. And it all began in Gujarat, the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi.
In early July, seven Dalit teenagers were rounded up by a group of so-called “cow vigilantes” on the allegation that the Dalits had killed and skinned a cow. The caste system, which discriminates against Dalits, consigns them by birth to dispose of the bodies of dead animals. Dalits, therefore, skin already dead cows in order to sell their leather to tanneries and then dispose of their carcasses. Consequently, radicals punish them — often violently — for doing so. It’s a vicious cycle.