Untouchability in India and Nepal

          Growing Up Untouchable in India is an autobiography of Vasant Moon where he shares his experience of being an untouchable, and clearly portrays the situation and place in the 1940 of India. Moon was a Mahar, an untouchable. The concept of untouchability is to level the social status of people according to their caste. Castes were divided long ago; some castes were high castes, people from which more received respect and power in the society than people known as Dalits. The narrator has written about the untouchability in India. This concept exists in Nepal as well. I would like to share my experience about untouchables and prejudices related to them in Nepal.

      Untouchability is much less believed in urban areas, whereas it is seriously followed in rural areas of Nepal. Moon said that lower caste people were not able to eat together with so called “high caste” people. I learnt from my friend, who lived in a village, that low caste people are not even allowed to enter houses, and when they drink tea or eat lunch in any shop, and then they have to wash their utensils themselves; otherwise, they will be beaten up gruesomely. Dalits can’t raise their voice against such type of amorality, and even if they do, they end up without any result. In addition, Moon explains the education system of India in the 1940s where there were fewer numbers of girls than boys. However, the children were treated equally. As he grew older, discrimination increased and children were treated according to their caste. The situation is almost the same in Nepal as well. During my village tour, I saw some children sitting outside of the classroom. I learnt that low caste students were not allowed to enter their classroom. They even took their exams in a separate room. A child growing up experiencing these kinds of discrimination can never have a positive feeling towards his society. Once my friend touched a low caste girl and then, consequently, she had to take a bath every morning in the winter with cold water followed by puja, for purification, for a few days. Thus, Moon’s experience is worth studying as he is a representative of a society where people are suppressed just because of their caste.

Can you share a story related to untouchability?

 

 

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2 Responses to Untouchability in India and Nepal

  1. meihuilan says:

    Thank you for sharing some stories on untouchability (especially the one about your friend took bath every morning because she had touched a low caste girl; it is unbelievable!), but I’m sorry that I can’t share any story that relate to untouchability since I haven’t heard much about it before. However, I have learned many things from your writing today. It was unimaginable for me how the society treated those untouchable people and how those unfortunate people made their living. It’s obvious that caste systems should be questioned and criticized. I realize that some people who were untouchable in the past are still living in a terrible situation though the policy has been changed, which should be concerned by the society, especially by policy-makers.

  2. nusrat4 says:

    Tnx Rahsani for sharing those experience. i enjoyed reading your blog.I have learned from reading bengali novels that mahar girls were not allowed to take water from those well or ponds that were used by “high castes” like Brahman. Even if a mahar dies for being thirsty on the road, Brahmans wouldn’t help him to drink water. Despite they would dispatch their servants to call a mahar so that he could help him in drinking water. What do you think that thirsty man would wait for that man to come and help him drink water?nope. he dies. This was a common scene in the past of Bangladesh.

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