Dalit lives matter

Dalit Lives Matter

Recently I attended a conference based on the theme “racial justice and reconciliation.” Even today the racial tension between the blacks and whites in the United States is very obvious. It is in this context, this idea came to my mind to write about “Dalit Lives Matter.” This idea came to me and I take the ownership of the this concept called “Dalit Lives Matter.”  I also went ahead and registered the domain name called www.dalitlivesmatter.com.

The word Dalit in its Sanskrit root means “dal” which means “broken, ground-down, downtrodden, oppressed etc. They are also called untouchable, out-caste, harijans, depressed castes. Gandhi called Dalits Harijans which means "children of god", but they are not the same children of god or never identified as Brahmins, primary children of god in the same sense. The Brahmincal privilege is  still in progress in the Indian society. This also need to be understood from the differentiating frame work between caste and class system. The class system will change depending on your economic status but never your caste.   

Dalit also refers to over 260 million people in the world wide suffering from this hidden apartheid of exclusion, discrimination, marginalization and segregation. In India this community represent 201, 400,000 (201) million people. Dalits have been oppressed, culturally subjugated, and politically marginalized.  The principles of untouchability and “purity and pollution” dictate what Dalits are allowed to do, sit, touch, go etc. They are not allowed to fetch water from the same well, eat in the same table, never allowed to marry out side of their caste, never allowed to enter into many hindu temple etc. The discrimination against them exist even today.   

Dalits and untouchables are the majority of Christian Communities in India and numerically out of 25 million christians in India around 20 million of them are from Dalit background. Discrimination is not a national phenomena but it is a global one. We have mastered in discrimination, un-reconciliation, injustice, marginalization and excommunication. The question is how will you reconcile with the world, other human being and ultimately with God. Christ was blooded and died on the cross is the perfect example of identifying with the victims and suffering of this beloved community or beloved people group.  The God of the mission is in the reconciliation business. Can the church also take over or continue God's mission in the world.  

Even though the Dalits women are brutally exploited, sexually harassed, raped and discriminated, no one raise their voice and they are the silent victims in our society. This was the blind spot of the Indian cultural and social strata of life for thousands of years. The mission of Dalit lives matter is to bring to light and to address them prophetically, priestly and pastoraly.  The most important issue of the 21st century is connected with color line and in the Indian context it is more connected with caste system.

In the Book of Micah 6:8 the prophet ask the question what does the Lord require of you?  The answer is to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. There is a community in the world even today required us to act justly and love mercy.

Binu Peniel (C) 


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