Vasanta Moon’s “Untouchables” in Nepal

The introduction of Vasanta Moon’s novel, Growing Untouchable in India, talks about the untouchablility practices in Nagpur community of India.  The autobiography  presents the reality of how people within a single religion, Hindu religion, are divided into castes and sub-castes, and how“high” caste people impel the “low” caste ones to practice the untouchablility. The Brahmans are regarded as “high” caste people because they have superlative knowledge about their traditional and ancient literacy. Whereas, some people of the same religion are called Mahars or Dalits, “the untouchables”. The Mahars are discriminated because of their “impure” occupation. Their occupations were mostly related to polluting entities, which were societies “dirty” chore. However, Moon’s gives the detail about why the Mahra had to choose the low status work in the society. The history of Mahars discrimination started during the British invasion. The British compelled Mahars to avoid the governmental official duties; snatched their power for owing land, and stopped them from communicating messages to others.  Moreover, they were treated as “inferior village servant.” On the other hand, the other people were provided high governmental status job and religious work; thus, they felt to become the high caste people.

I was astounded to know that Indian caste systems were similar to Nepalese caste systems. We Nepalese also have caste systems in which Brahmans are regarded as upper class people, and Dalits are regarded as lower caste people.  Talking about the untouchablility, still there are some remote villages in Nepal where the designated bottom caste people are not allowed to enter specific temples or even touch the holy places. As Moon explains about the Dalits who are deprived from social, economical, and political rights,  we find  similar kinds of inequalities in some places of Nepal. It is also true that the government of Nepal has promulgated the law against the untouchablility practices, but it is not completely stopped. In context to Nepal, the examples of untouchablility practices are: if a Dalit touches a Brahman, then the Brahman becomes impure and dirty like Dalits, for which he has to purify himself with some religious rituals. Another example is the water; if a Dalit touch the drinking water or even the source of the drinking water, then the water is referred as contaminated, and the Dalit is punished and disgraced badly in front his inhabiting society. Therefore many of the Indian concepts of untouchablility match with Nepalese societies of untouchables which make me curious to know further details about Moon’s biography on untouchablility.

3 Responses to Vasanta Moon’s “Untouchables” in Nepal

  1. vythai says:

    Dear Anshu, I was so surprised that there are such kinds of people in the world who are still discriminated against. I don’t understand how some people can make up such unreasonable things for others. I feel sorry for them. It is unfair, isn’t it? I wish there will be no discrimination like that in the near future.

  2. samia71 says:

    Though I know about this caste system, I still wonder why is it approved by a religion? A religion teaches us not to discriminate, but I think it is a different matter here………it is really surprising to me….

  3. nusrat4 says:

    Anshu, i know that Hinduism is the predominant religion in Nepal. Hence, while reading the autobiography, i was feeling curious whether Nepal also has this caste system or not. Thanks a lot for writing blog on this topic because now i got the answer by reading your blog. One think to let you know that even in Bangladesh also Hinduism has this caste system. It is still so strong that people of lower caste are not allowed to marry people of higher caste like brahmin. Moreover, Bangladesh also had the practice of untouchabiity till 1947.

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