Valmiki community’s struggle for equality continues

Lack of education & employment amidst continued exclusion


November 3, 2020

/ By / New Delhi

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If there is something that has not changed in India, it is the centuries-old caste-based discrimination. India’s caste system is the world’s longest surviving social hierarchy. Even though in 1950 Indian constitution banned caste discrimination, 70 years on, they continue to face widespread discrimination, right from their childhood. The practice of untouchability-the imposition of social disabilities on persons by reason of birth into a particular caste- remains very much a part of rural India.

One such community that faces discrimination at every step is the Valmiki community. Valmikis or followers of Saint Valmiki, author of Hindu epic Ramayana, are placed at the bottom of the Indian caste system and endure near complete social ostracism.

They mainly live in northern India in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat and they work as sewage workers.

One does not have to travel far from the Indian capital of New Delhi to get an eyewitness account of the struggles that Valmikis face today. Barely 40 km from the capital is a small colony of about 50 Valmiki families in Ghaziabad. Just off the main highway, besides a small Valmiki temple, a very narrow lane leads to a cluster of homes where they live.

Even though the locality has other communities as well, the Valmikis say they areis dcriminated against by their neighbours and others. And it does not take too long for them to feel the exclusion and rejection.

Here is MIGTVs report on the Valmiki community and their struggle for equality.



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