The term "Dalits" stands for broken people, people who are denied all possible human rights, and consequently they are victims of social discrimination. More than 160 million people in India are considered "Untouchable"—people tainted by their birth into a caste system that deems them impure, less than human. Dalits have been oppressed, culturally subjugated, and politically marginalized.
Dalits face pain and violence every day. They live in constant fear of being publicly humiliated, paraded naked, beaten, tortured, burnt alive and raped with impunity by upper-caste Hindus seeking to keep them in their place. Merely walking through an upper-caste neighborhood is a life-threatening offense.
Dalits are not allowed to eat with other caste members, to marry with other caste members, to enter into village temples, to ride a bicycle inside the village, to wear sandals or holding umbrellas in front of dominant caste members.
This broken people are forced to perform the most disgusting jobs that nobody wants to do. Some are forced to clean toilets, transport human excreta manually, clear animal carcasses and human remains, while others are forced to work in the hazardous leather and tanning industry.
If a Dalit enters a tea shop and request a cup of tea, they are served in a clay cup rather than a glass or metal cup that others receive. After drinking their tea, they are expected to crush the cup on the ground so that no other person risks being polluted by the cup the Dalit touched.
The Dalits are history’s longest standing oppressed people group. The only parallel to the practice of untouchability was apartheid. In a country where everybody is supposed to have equal rights and opportunities, one out of four people is condemned to be untouchable.
Every hour two Dalits are assaulted; every day three Dalit women are raped, two Dalits are murdered, and two Dalit homes are torched.