Yesterday was our two hour walk through the city of “The Children of God.” This is the name Gandhi-ji gave the lowest caste of the pyramid in India. They are the lowest of the low. Today, I want to just introduce you to the city inside the city of Ahmedabad. It is not the only one by far, but is the nearest to Gandhi Ashram. Lots of pictures were taken but not by me, as I was furiously passing out candy to the kids. So I have to wait for some images to be posted.
In the mean time, here is some information about the Dalits and the slums in India and a national organization consisting of Dalits and published as navsarjan.org.
India’s caste system assigns individuals a certain hierarchical status according to Hindu beliefs. Traditionally, there are four principal castes (divided into many sub-categories) and one category of people who fall outside the caste system—the Dalits. As members of the lowest rank of Indian society, Dalits face discrimination at almost every level: from access to education and medical facilities to restrictions on where they can live and what jobs they can have. The discrimination against the Dalits is especially significant because of the number of people affected; there are approximately 167 million Dalits in India, constituting over 16 percent of the total population.
Navsarjan is a grassroots Dalit organization dedicated to ensuring human rights for all. Our mission is to eliminate discrimination based on untouchability practices; ensure equality of status and opportunities for all, regardless of caste, class or gender; and to ensure the rule of law..
Navsarjan is the largest Dalit organization in Gujarat, and one of the most effective in India. It is active in more than 3,000 villages, as well as in the cities. A field staff of about 80 men and women—most of whom come from the communities in which they work—keep Navsarjan in tune with the needs of people on the ground.
I was surprised that there were not more videos available for a walk through in a slum in Ahmedabad. The absence of sound or music makes the images more stark.