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Stories of Change

Untouchability

Dignity For All

 
 
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  •   MAKING HER OWN DESTINY

    MAKING HER OWN DESTINY

    Meena gave up manual scavenging and is now a confident auto driver in Delhi

  •   Breaking the shackles

    Breaking the shackles

    For generations, they cleaned human waste. But not anymore

  •   FREEDOM MOVEMENT

    FREEDOM MOVEMENT

    NGOs fighting manual scavenging say the show helped to bring Dalits and non-Dalits together

   
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    Women of substance

    “I broke the temporary makeshift toilets of the upper castes and told them that I would die but never clean their waste again.” – Laadku, a liberated manual scanvenger

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    Women of substance
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    Decoding the act against manual scavenging

    Manual scavenging has always been linked to the practice of untouchability and Article 17 of the Constitution of India prohibits the continuation of such practices.

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    Decoding the act against manual scavenging
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    One woman against the caste system

    “The episode was the first time this issue was discussed so openly across all strata of society. I feel that social sensitivity has increased, and people are more aware.” - Dr Kaushal Panwar

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    One woman against the caste system
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    NGO YOU SUPPORTED: ASSOCIATION FOR RURAL AND URBAN NEEDY

    Cleaning up our act

    Even today, caste hierarchies in India seem to be set in stone. Dismantling them slowly are organizations that encourage Dalits to work in professions not bound by their caste. One such NGO is Hyderabad-based Association for Rural and Urban Needy, which has been helping manual scavengers find dignified livelihoods.

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     NGO YOU SUPPORTED: ASSOCIATION FOR RURAL AND URBAN NEEDY
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    Your Story

    Read experiences shared by viewers

     

    one of my classmate who belonged to brahmin caste was a good friend of mine since i was in class 1…when we were in 7th standard she came to know that i belonged to a SC community from that day she started keeping herself away from me, and also said that i should not touch her

    Its really humiliating of being a member of a family which falls under SC/ST category. from the day 1 when you enters into the real world everybody starts realising you that you are not a part of us, you are lower than us, cant sit with us etc. etc. I want to share a incident of my school days with all of you. well i m from a middle class family my parents have provided me everything i wished for in my life and also i was in one of the brightest students of my school but one of my classmate who belonged to brahmin caste was a good friend of mine since i was in class 1, we played together, had our lunch together but suddenly when we were in 7th standard she came to know that i belonged to a SC community from that day she started keeping herself away from me, and also said that i should not touch her, even she had also visit haridwar to wash her paaps as we say in hindi because she had lunch with me n sit with me for a long time. when she came back, she said from now i m not your friend so plz dont touch my lunch aur my water bottle. I felt so bad that few days ago she was doing everything with us but what has changed now. i decided that i have to teach her a lesson on it, now everyday when the lunch time starts she open ups her lunch box and i use to run at her and touch her lunch box and ran away and then she didnt take her lunch and take it as it is to her home back. i had done this for 7 days on the 8th day when i touched her lunch and ran she get back to her bench and had lunch. after she finished her lunch i go to her and said sorry and also asked " what happended are you ok?" she said - yes absolutely. then i said- so why you were behaving like that with with since so many days. i said- i m also a human being as you are n we were like best friends from past 7 years so how could you behave like that with me. she had no answer for her stupidity.......................:)

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    I decided to write this message because I believe that there is hope for our country. There is hope that the youth of our country will change their mentality.

    Dear Mr. Aamir Khan, My name is Krishna Goparaju, I am 22 years old and currently a Medical Student in Kansas City , MO. USA. I have recently watched all your episodes from season 1. Firstly I would like to convey that I have never felt so inspired to do something for my country as I do now after watching your episodes. Even though I have been brought up in the US, I still consider myself an Indian. I am absolutely disgusted at the amount of issues that Indians still face to this day. More than that I am absolutely flabbergasted at some of the negative responses toward this show. I have just finished watching the episode on untouchability and it is absolutely atrocious that untouchability is this common among the citizens of Indians. I, myself am a brahmin and was born in Warangal, AP. I would just like to state that having the title of a brahmin doesn't demand respect or special privileges in society. The family I hail from has been a true blessing not only in my life, but also in the lives of others in my community. Our family has had many " harijans" that have cleaned our house and washed our dishes, though I am completely against the concept of servants and maids, it was necessary in our house in India. Our servant maid had 3 kids: Jaya, Ravi and Sumalatha. I referred to them as jaya akka, ravi anna and sumalatha. They were family. They did everything the kids in my family did. We all played carrams together, watched tv, played cricket, ate together, and slept on the terrace on hot summer nights. Not only did they participate in our daily activities but remember instances when I would make my way to their hut to eat lunch with them and accompany them on their daily chores. I remember several instances when I accompanied Jaya akka through the bushes to look for cow dung so it can be used as either fertilizer or used on clay houses. I remember days where my cousins and I aided in sweeping the house so Jaya akka, Ravi anna and our cousins could go out and play. Not only did we make them a part of our life but made sure they had an education. My uncle being a mathematics teacher personally sat with Ravi anna for math tutoring and at many times scolded him about the importance of education. Today Jaya Akka is a teacher at a government school and is looking to get married. I guess I have been blessed to be born into a family with such broad thinking and accepting nature. I decided to write this message because I believe that there is hope for our country. There is hope that the youth of our country will change their mentality. My only regret is my generation thinks change and progression is dressing "modern", "partying" and "clubs" but along with excepting these changes I hope they start accepting the value of human beings around them and start realizing that India is our beautiful country that cannot shine without our help and our determination. You truly are my hero and I cannot begin to describe my respect for you. Thank you for all the wonderful and beautiful episodes. I hope they continue to open the eyes of millions about the issues in India as they have mine. JAI HIND!!! Sincerely, Krishna Goparaju

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    I can still firmly say this untouchability exists in that part of India. Even though not in a direct way as it used to be in the past, its stil carried by the society at different levels and forms

    Thank you so much for bringing the injustice (moral and legal) that exist in our society right in to our TV sets. To be honest, I have never watched anything powerful as this before. I live in Australia. I came across this programme quite by chance through facebook and I never missed even one episode. The topics discussed are those most Indians give a blind eye to, but are fully aware of. Being basically from Kerala (please don't think am dividing by states. its just because i have never travelled outside that region and hence I can't claim things I have no evidence of) where people boast highest literacy rate and Human Development Index (HDI) in India and even draw comparison to developed western nations, I can still firmly say this untouchability exists in that part of India. Even though not in a direct way as it used to be in the past, its stil carried by the society at different levels and forms. To my friends out there, government doesn't intend to create a distinction by giving reservation to SC/ST. In my opinion, its because that way people who come under those groups could be uplifted to do the jobs that so-called GENERALs do. Eventually that discriminative mindset in the society, that dalits should do the job which is burdened on them by traditions, could be wiped out. Here in Australia, I have done toilet cleaning (even though not manual scavenging, at the end of the day the job remains the same) for nearly 2 years to support my studies. But I never let my head down because of my job. Someone (me or someone else doesn't make any difference) got to do it anyway. I never robbed anyone, I never earned a paise/cent illegally. I worked my ass off to earn each of those cent and I am proud of it. I appreciate all those behind this programme. Especially Amir Ji, for enabling us to rethink ourselves. We claim we are civilized and devoloping at a fast rate and soon-to-be-superpower. But every episode of this programme is a chance to think about it again. To me, we as HUMANS will never be civilized or developed unless until we learn to treat each other equal.

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    After being subject to so many years of discrimination and suffering if so many of us can now walk equally among all other sects of society, I am sure soon, we will be able to create an India where no Dalith would care about who is in the room with him/her and worry about them being subject to any injustice.

    Good evening Aamir. Thank You so much for the incredible work you are doing. You have truly established yourself as a Hero, whose role does not end on the silver screen alone. Thank You for bringing up this highly sensitive topic, a topic that is one of the darkest realities of India. Untouchability is an issue in our country that exists from time immemorial. Worse still it is being tinted with the dirty colors from our culture and our mythologies. It is being painted as something decided by the One above all. But if that were true, it simply means that, that seat is empty, or the concept of someone watching over us is untrue. However, there is hope. Despite the fact that this problem has been prevailing among us for so many years, we Dalits (I belong to this community too) have always risen against all odds. A simple proof to this fact is that as a community, it is the Dalits who have a constant rise in their percentage of the educated lot. They are also people who look into getting formal education, and not just doing any vocation for a livelihood. Though this is possible only because of facilities provided to them such as Reservation and subsidized fees, there is still light at the end of the tunnel. I say this with confidence because my family has risen from a similar situation. My family too hails from Kolar gold fields, that was where Mr. Wilson comes from. This is very much a reality there. Despite the fact that it is a town that is densely populated Dalits. My father has 6 brothers and one sister. He lost his father when he was about 4-5 years old. Yet, he is now a retired Assistant manager from Reserve Bank of India. One of my uncles is a Doctor, one retired as a senior manager from Syndicate bank. One uncle was in the Army, and two, the elder most two retired as Senior guards from the Indian Railways. This was all possible only because of the Iron lady of my family- My Grandmother. She single handedly raised all the 8 children, educated them, with the massive contribution of her second eldest son. She sold vegetables, meat, rice etc. and then a little later my uncle started supporting her. The two then supported the entire brood and showed them the way to a self sufficient life. They were our lifeline. I relate this story to you because it was similar to that of Ms. Kaushal Pawar. Another important thing that was their hope was the scholarship they got because they came under the reservation quota. Iv'e been reading a lot of comments below about abolishing reservation. What do these people know about the benefits of reservation. Today I am an Interior designer in Bangalore. My brother like most of my cousins is a graduate working for a reputed company. One of my cousins is a Phd holder in zoology . How would any of this been possible without reservation. Yes i agree that i don't need it reservation anymore. I have a whole host of nieces and nephews who will never need reservation. Because we have all the facilities and amenities in life to succeed. But would any of this been possible without reservation in the first place? There are similar families all over our country who are still in dire need of such a redeemer. All in all the point i am trying to make is that- THERE IS HOPE. After being subject to so many years of discrimination and suffering if so many of us can now walk equally among all other sects of society, I am sure soon, we will be able to create an India where no Dalith would care about who is in the room with him/her and worry about them being subject to any injustice. It is easy for a Doctors child to be a doctor, an engineer's child to be an engineer, a cricketer son to be cricketer. But it has been a mammoth task to make such dreams of my people a reality. And WE HAVE DONE IT. It is still not enough. The road to total equality is very long. But...... It is in sight. it is a reality, no more a wish or an illusion. Trough education and the help of good samaritans such as yourself, that day is definitely coming. JAI HIND!!!!! Charanya- ponn.charanya@gmail.com

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