Why Mission to the Untouchables? Why Christianity is the only source of healing the brokenness and suppression


Recently one of my friends asked me the question? Why in some of the ancient countries like India we have more disparities and discriminations? I said to him, it is difficult to unlearn than to learn. In the corporate world I have seen companies hiring fresh college graduates because it is easy to teach them how to do a task/job. How do we teach a nation to stand against discrimination based on caste, class and religion? How do we teach cultural, social and religious values to a generation?   

The word Dalit literally means oppressed or broken and generally used to refer to the people who have known as untouchables. This people are outside of the caste system in India, that is where the word out-caste comes from. They are approximately 167 million in India, constituting over 16% of the Indian population.  When it comes to the resources they share less than 5% and 62% of them are illiterate. Less than 10% of Dalit households can afford safe drinking water, electricity and toilets, which is indicative of their deplorable social condition within the society. They are the victims of atrocities, crisis of injustice. In the wider context of South and East Asia around 260 to 300 million people come under this category. The majority of Indian Christianity comes from this group population. Caste discrimination involves massive violations of civil, political, economical, social and cultural rights. Caste system divides people into unequal and hierarchical social groups. Those at the bottom are considered ‘lesser human beings’, ‘impure’ and ‘polluting’ to other caste groups.  
The following are some of their fundamental beliefs. 
They are less than human.
There is a supernatural intervention that creates them an untouchable.
They believe and accept their fate.
Changing the life for better is wrong.
They are an agent of contamination. 
Even their shadows are unclean.
They need to improve their good deeds to please god.
Some of those beliefs can be evaluated in the psychology room.  Psychologically we call it as worthlessness or unworthiness. It is extremely desperate and hopeless feeling. People diagnosed with depression often describe feeling which are connected with worthless. The dangerous part of it is the most of these beliefs are passing down from generation to generation.
The recent history record of untouchables walking with the brooms tied behind them to sweep away their unclean footprints. For centuries they have done dirtiest jobs and lived in the slums. The evil part of the caste discrimination is that people have enforced the belief that they are worthless and they weren’t even human. This is also women, children, human trafficking and forced labor issue in South and East Asia. It is also connected with forced prostitution and devadasi system (temple prostitution).  
Simon of Cyrene in the Biblical story is an example. "As they were coming out, they found a man of Cyrene named Simon, whom they pressed into service to bear His cross." Matthew 5: 40 talks about, "If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. 41"Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 "Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. The early followers of Jesus could identify with the untouchables and the teachings of Jesus bare witnesses.  




Dr. Binu Peniel

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