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TWINKE TWINKLE LITTLE CASTE

soum.JPG

She was all smiles when met, an attribute I had noted in all the people I have met in Visthar, he looks so young and so innocent, one wonders why she gets mingle in politico-cultural and dynamic problems of India. She hugged me and we began the interview.

Olutosin: Can you please tell us a little introduction about yourself Soumya.

Soumya: My name is Soumya Vincent, an Indian who wants a change, I am a twenty one years old, an aspiring Journalist, just finished my final exams and awaiting result and a producer.

Olutosin: How did you become involved in this sacred subject?
Soumya: I want to study the issue of children and this is a very sensitive subject

Olutosin: When you know that it is sensitive, why get involved?

Soumya: Children of ages 3-4 years today will eventually become leaders of tomorrow, it they face this discrimination again in their early life, then they will perpetuate same later in life.Also, I want the world to know that in Kerala, a state believed to be an enlightened one, with no caste boundary or untouchability still have people with such notions in their minds, therefore this documentary reveals these atrocities.

Olutosin: You are so young, how come you became easily moved by the plights of the Dalits?

Soumya: In Prikalangodu, Oothalakandy near Karikkadu, Malapparam District, the Dalits have colonies, four colinies, we are not allowed to associate withthem so as not to be contaminated, up till today

Olutosin: So if an Upper caste hugs a Dalit, what happens?

Soumya: You see, Dalits are invited to other Indians houses, but theya re not allowed to enter their rooms or kitchen and must sit on the floor, when they leave the house, there is what we call purification

Olutosin: What is that about?

Soumya: It is called Shudhikalasham, process of purifying every property the Dalit has touched, it is purified by sprinkling some water after reading some passages of mantra, it will be sprinkled, this is a special water kept in room or place used for worshipping Hindu deity

Olutosin: What is the law saying about Untouchability in India?

Soumya: Dalit is abolished constitutionally and anyone practicing it will be punished accordingly, unfortunately, this si sstill practiced in the name of religion. There is no remarkable difference between twenty years ago and now. Untouchability is a way to show off money and power, the people's tradition is still followed and there is always attempt to return to tradition- the constitution is double face.

Olutosin: Why is it so?

Soumya: The law says that it should not be practiced but the people's mindset has not been set free. Dalits are discriminated against in various areas, also the constitution upholds untouchability by not destroying the caste system.

Olutosin: Can you please shed more light on the caste system?

Soumya: It is a religious cum political ideology that established a system that says Brahmains come from the mouth of the supreme being, Kshatriyas from the shoulders or upper torso, the Vaishyas from the thighs and the Shudras from the feet. The untouchable is considered to be even lower that the feet.

Olutosin: If the untouchables come from under then feet, which part of the supreme being are they made from then?

Soumya: Not known

Olutosin: When did this idea spring up?

Soumya: It is more like the genesis of Hinduism, how man came into being, caste system is from the begining of man

Olutosin: What do you think is the solution to this problem?

Soumya: If it is possible to remove the caste system, becasue the peole are hiding behind caste bias, it is entrenched in the people's thinking pattern.

Olutosin: Do you mean that there is no solution?

Soumya: Oh no, when enlightened Indians begin to change their concept, beccause even some Dalit professors are not respected by their students, an upper caste student will call a Dalit professor by name and call his younger colleague "SIR"

Olutosin: What was Mahatma Ghandi's opinion, I respect him so much?

Soumya: He was deep rooted in the caste system. He never questioned it, he perpetuated by saying untouchability can be abolished but the caste system remains. He changed the name of the untouchables to Harijan's literarily it means CHILDREN OF GOD. But the Dalits who thought he was doing them good accepted the name initially but revolted later and changed the name to Dalit.

Olutosin: What is Dalit?
Soumya: It is a new word that arose in Maharashera, first used by Jyotiaro in the 19th centure, it means someone who had been crushed, suppressed, broken to pieces.

Olutosin: How can I differentiate between an upper caste and the dalits?

Soumya: You cannot identify the difference but most times, poverty is associated with the dalits, these Dalits are more than 18 million in India and about 60 million aroound over the world.

Olutosin: Any other information you will want us to know about the Dalits?

There is hierachy in Dalits too, they have caste and sub caste within the dalits, for example, some can be shoe menders in some areas and they will be discriminating against manual scavengers that clean latrines and drains with their hands.

Olutosin: Did you face any harrassment after the production of this documentary?

Soumya: Yes

Olutosin: From which quarters?

Soumya: From my people, the society, the upper caste in my village, pressure from my parents, people were saying why choose this topic? and my parents were told to marry me off to some man, why spending so much on her education and causing so much troubles.

Olutosin: Who sponsored the documentary?

Soumya:: My savings and some friends.

Thanks for your time Soumya, you are doing a great job. (Hugs)

Nisha translated in English

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Comments

ARULMOZHI's picture

dalit

This is bad.

olutosin's picture

Very Very Bad

Yés, very very bad

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

olutosin's picture

Very Very Bad

Yés, very very bad

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

JaniceW's picture

Amazing!

Olutosin,
I was so moved by your straightforward and candid interview. You provided engaging and compelling background information into the issues surrounding the Dalit and I thank you for sharing Soumya's insights into this tragic and pointless form of discrimination. I know that there are so many more stories out there on this topic and thank you for informing us as knowledge is power. We must break down the walls of discrimination and together shout out against these prejudices.

Let us create the world we want to live in by not accepting these ideas of castes, by using our voices to shout out that this is not tolerable, and by spreading our visions of an inclusive world that celebrates diversity. I look forward to reading more from you, Olutosin. Best wishes,
Janice

olutosin's picture

Oh Yes

I thought it will not be good to write about Dalit since many people have done that on Ưorldpulse, but I just feel using another angle can still be better too, just like interviewing an Indian who happens to be fighting for thế people PASIONATELY in hẻr ơwn great way. I really want the world to watch the documentary and also listen to Soumya talk pasionately about Dalit and the caste system that mút be CÁST ÂWAY FAST..
I thank the WP Team for the support.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

JaniceW's picture

You must write about it!

The more we know, the more stories we hear, the better we can support them and raise our voices on their behalf. If you have information about the name of the documentary and where we may view it, it would be wonderful for you to share that information with us. Thank you for speaking out for the Dalit. You are an inspiration!
Janice

olutosin's picture

THANKS FOR THE ENCOURAGEMENT

The title í TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE CASTE, I ứa presented a copy which I can still dub and send to you. It í free, not for sale.
After teh valedictory service át School òf Peace thể were students from Vietnam, Philistine, India, Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, Nepal, China, Jakarta and all I sê í faces ò people yearning for peace. Hơ I ứih I had a recorder to caption all thế quét for peaceful coexistence for mankind.
Fortunately, I met and interviewed, the Coordinator of Network òf Women in Media, Bangdalore chapter, she ís elderly, hẻ name isTanusheree Gangopadhyay, it ís interesting. I will póst it later today.
Lót of love from India.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

JaniceW's picture

Wow!

I can't wait to see the documentary and the School of Peace sounds amazing. What a great model for the whole world. I'm also looking forward to reading about Ms. Gangopadhyay. This is a truly life-changing trip for you and I know that what you see will stay with you forever. You will not be able to stop speaking out for women and young girls as with each journey, your heart grows larger. You are becoming their storyteller, one who will give their lives light and disseminate their stories around the world like bright stars in the vast sky.

I am so excited to read your next post. Sending you love and light,
Janice

olutosin's picture

Cant stop loving you

Iti is a life changing experience, I have an appointment with a boy who performed excellently well at the valedictory service earlier today, he was born in a refugee camp and he is still living there, he narrates the story of death, atimes i wonder why I am in this kind of World...because my world is different since I always meet those who have stories to tell though I pray to meet those who live in money all their life but my feet keep on directing me to the indigent communities.

Today I learnt that when we are in the surface, we see the difference but when we go deeper, we see that we are one, but you must go deep before we can realise that we all are the same, despite colour, race, caste etc.

Yours in solidaity

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

JaniceW's picture

Yes, we are ONE.

The fact that you see this at your young age reflects how wise you are. Many people never see this and are quick to attach labels to others, based on what they see on the surface. We all yearn for the same basic needs; decent shelter, food, and peace and share the common desire to love and be loved.

All the stories you are gathering and sharing with the world will shape your perspective on life. You are forever changed and these experiences will help you grow as a voice for your sisters and brothers in Nigeria. When you are running the country one day, all your decisions will be informed by what you have seen and your desire to not see one more girl raped, not see one more child left homeless and orphaned, not see one more person treated as a lesser person, not see a person die for lack of good healthcare, not see another woman abused into silence, and not see a girl watch her brothers go to a school she can never attend.

Continue going deeper my dearest Olutosin and don't stop writing. We so desperately need your voice!

Your sister,
Janice

olutosin's picture

I WILL REMEMBER YOUR WORDS

Oh yes sister, I will surely remember these words, teh world out there is so strange and happenings brings goose pimples, you will see what I mean as these events unfolds, I am yet to relay the stories of these little girls, it is killing.....

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Nusrat Ara's picture

Our society is so fragmented

Our society is so fragmented in so many ways with so many disgusting results. It's really amazing that after so many years of Independence , after so much of resources and work put in, the caste problem is still as it was.

Nusrat

olutosin's picture

So it is everywhere

it is the same, Just all over the developing countries.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

NatalieS's picture

Your interview skills

Olutosin: This is a clear, well crafted interview. Your questions were simple and to the point, and led the young woman along in a very soft, but careful way, all the way to a good stopping place.
Excellent work!!!
Ma Natalie

NatalieS

olutosin's picture

That's Worldpulse in action!

So happy to read the comment, thanks ma.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Ruth,
What a wonderful job you did on a sad, sad subject. We take for granted our own little world while there are places with such tragedy that it makes one want to spend all their time crying at the injustice. But you have poked a little hole in their caste systems, you have begun a thread of thought where one day we will all be one voice on any pain inflicted on separate groups. The insight that Soumya had about the children of today are the leaders of tomorrow is one that most people don't think about. Bless you for the work you are doing in trying to change the world. Hugs and love from your dear friend, Margie

Marjorie McKinnon

olutosin's picture

APPRECIATION MA!

I am very grateful that you take your time to join WP and also for commenting! You can see that I am seizing every opportunity to speak out for the vocieless. I am using every channel to raise the voices for the World to know that injustices abound and to tell every oppressor that they have no hiding place.
Thanks so much for the books you have sent to Mercy Kappen in India, for the Bandhavi girls in VISTHAR and for all the books you have sent to me too.
We have not yet received them but we are used to this snail mails.
May God Bless you abundantly, more thatn you require or pray for or ever imagine.
Respect,
Ruth Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

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