Buscando a SHANTI / The search for Shanti Rajasthan India
by Viveca Venegas
They are born into a caste system that brands them as unclean. They are known as Dalits, and face discrimination in every aspect of their lives.
In the cities, caste affects your chance of getting a job or finding a place to live. Dalits are expected to use separate water taps, temples and graveyards. At school, Dalit pupils may be told to arrive early to clean the classroom for other students. And to sit at the back of the class during lessons.
According to government statistics, caste prejudice is responsible for at least 25,000 crimes against Dalits each year. Every two hours, a Dalit woman is raped. Dalits are beaten, murdered and their homes are burned.
Dalits are also the street sweepers, the toilet cleaners, the butchers and the leather workers.
The bulk of India’s 160 million Dalits are landless labourers, working other people’s land in return for a share of the harvest. Even though their work isn’t considered.