Caste system in India is still a predominant factor of discrimination and oppression. It has been prevailing in India for hundreds of years. Caste, in India, plays an important role in defining the identity and social status of a person. There are thousands of castes that prevail in India. According to the Hindu caste system, the Dalits are referred to as the lowest caste. They are humiliated, tortured, harassed, destroyed and even killed by the so-called people of the higher caste. They are also considered untouchable as if they’re impure.
Recently, a seventeen-year-old Dalit boy in a district of Uttar Pradesh was shot dead by four non-Dalit youths for entering in a temple. They shot him while he was asleep.
My heart aches at such news. People have made caste a priority and treat it as more important than human life. They feel privileged for belonging to a high caste and oppress the people of a lower caste. There are various norms and rituals being followed in the name of caste and religion which are just leading towards violence and domination of the lower caste. People are losing humanity due to the strong and rigid caste system.
Devadasi means a servant of God. Devadasi system is an age-old ritual that is still being practised in a few districts of India especially in South. According to the devadasi practice, girls belonging to lower caste are forced to renounce everything and get married to a deity or a temple. The marriage usually occurs before girls hit puberty. Devadasis are forbidden to get married again. In recent times, devadasis are treated as sex slaves and men of any caste could exploit them for sex once they attain puberty. Their virginity is auctioned and they are pushed into prostitution. This system ultimately forces young girls to live the life of a sex worker in the name of religion. They are not even provided with any financial help so they start begging to earn a livelihood. No amount of religious belief can justify such atrocities being practised against women. The practice of dedicating devadasis has been outlawed by law and any person performing or participating in this practice is liable to get penalised but it still prevails in some parts of the country.
The caste system has shaped Indian society for a long time. As long as the traditional caste system in India will remain strong, there will be a lower class and violence against them will prevail.
Untouchability was officially banned when India adopted its constitution in 1950. After a lot of struggle to abolish the practice of untouchability, laws were made in the constitution to provide equality to the oppressed class. Article 15 of the Constitution of India prohibits discrimination based on caste and article 17 declared the practice of enforceability to be illegal. Therefore, all people are equal in the eyes of law and there should be no discrimination on the basis of caste. Everyone should be treated equally.