A People Called “Untouchable”…

24 Jun

During my study of Hinduism and the culture of India, nothing gripped my heart quite like the story of the “untouchables” in the caste system. Although many other nations are characterized by social inequality, perhaps nowhere else in the world has inequality been so elaborately constructed and supported as in the Indian institution of caste.

Hindus believe that a person is born into one of the four castes based on how well they observed the idea of dharma, or righteous living, in their past lives.

The highest caste, the Brahmins, are the priestly class. They are entitled to study the Vedas, or religious texts, and perform the Hindu rites and rituals for themselves and others. They are the middle men between the gods and mankind. The Brahmana is considered the highest on earth, the lord of all creation, and is entitled to anything he desires.

The second highest caste, the Kshatriyas, are the warrior class. They are commanded, by tradition, to protect the people, bestow gifts to the Brahmins, offer sacrifices to gods, study the Vedas, and dispense justice. The authority of the Kshatriyas is that of a king and should never be questioned.

The third caste, the Vaishyas, are the merchant and peasant class. They are expected to tend cattle, offer sacrifices, study the Vedas, and trade goods. They have the right to perform and participate in some of the medic rituals, but they are not allowed to marry women of higher castes.

The lowest defined caste, the Shudras, are the laboring class. Their only duty is to serve the higher three castes. They are not entitled to observe any medic rituals or samskaras, unless given explicit permission by the higher castes. They are not allowed to study the Vedas or even hear the sacred chants. They are also banned from eating food in the company of higher castes or marry their women.

The “Untouchables” are literally outcastes. They are the fifth class, so unworthy it doesn’t even fall within the definitions of the Hindu caste system. Also called Dalits, members of this class are considered impure from birth and so perform jobs that are traditionally considered unclean or exceedingly menial, and for very little pay. Dalits often work as agriculture workers or manual scavengers, cleaning latrines and sewers by hand and clearing away dead animals.

The Facts:

-More than 160 million people in India belong to this class. Nearly 90% of all the poor Indians and 95% of all the illiterate Indians are Dalits.

-In the year 2000, every hour two Dalits are assaulted, every day three Dalit women are raped, two Dalits are murdered, and two Dalit homes are torched.

-That same year, 68,160 complaints were filed against the police for activities against Dalits ranging from: murder, torture, and collusion in acts of atrocity, to refusal to file a complaint. Sadly, 62% of these cases were dismissed as unsubstantiated.

40 million people in India, mostly Dalits, are bonded workers, many struggling to pay off debts that were incurred generations ago. Of these, 15 million are children working in slave-like conditions hauling rocks or working in fields and factories for less than $1 a day.

The following is an excerpt from a National Geographic article on the issue:

Human rights abuses against these people, known as Dalits, are legion. A random sampling of headlines in mainstream Indian newspapers tells their story: “Dalit boy beaten to death for plucking flowers”; “Dalit tortured by cops for three days”; “Dalit ‘witch’ paraded naked in Bihar”; “Dalit killed in lock-up at Kurnool”; “7 Dalits burnt alive in caste clash”; “5 Dalits lynched in Haryana”; “Dalit woman gang-raped, paraded naked”; “Police egged on mob to lynch Dalits”.

Despite the fact that untouchability was officially banned when India adopted its constitution in 1950, discrimination against Dalits remains pervading to this day with numbers of attacks actually on the rise. The strength of the caste system lies in its strict tradition, superstition, religious beliefs, and fear of punishment. It is passed on to the next generation as a birthright (or curse) and remains divisive in marriage. The caste system prohibits marriages outside one’s caste to avoid blurring the distinctive lines between the castes. The three upper castes also possess nearly all of the wealth in the country. They enjoy the advantages of their role in society and fight ruthlessly against change in the system. Police corruption due to payoffs by the upper classes also contributes to the continuation of this evil system.

This breaks my heart. An entire class of people, 160 million to be exact, has been defined as worthless from the moment they were born. I can’t even imagine how the Lord must weep over this daily. This system of evil must be crushed. These beloved children of God need to know their worth, their potential, their calling in their lives. Please join me in prayer against this system. We must combat hatred with love, exclusion with open arms, discrimination with equality, injustice with justice. Let’s pray that the Spirit of the Lord would pour down on India this very day, changing lives for eternity.

The power of the Lord was not merely in healing the leper, it was the love in His heart that drove Him to touch the leper.

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347 Responses to “A People Called “Untouchable”…”

  1. Dan Wade June 25, 2010 at 4:46 am #

    A truly touching piece. I’ve heard of the caste system many times, but haven’t fully understood it. I’ve always known there was a division, but not to this extent.

    I know it’s part of their culture, but this must be changed. In this day and age, a person can better themselves and should be given the right.

    http://danjswade.wordpress.com

    • Anil June 26, 2010 at 7:17 pm #

      What is true must be stated. I believe “Untouchables” are not a religious but a social problem. At it roots is the greed and selfishness that is at the heat of how a constant stream of new settlers (Aryans) deal with existing people (aboriginals) specially if process has happened over the course of few thousand years and there has been constant fight to enstablish territorial and social control. Cave days mentality were your tribe and your race is important still exists and has caused this manifestion called “Untouchables”. Article truly states that “Untouchables” is the fifth class, so unworthy it doesn’t even fall within the definitions of the Hindu caste system. Actually it is not a matter of being worthy or unworthy, there is not such things as “Untouchables” in Vedic Hindu scriptures. It is an unspoken punishment given to those local aboriginal tribes (referred to as Rakshashas, Daityas etc.) that kept fighting and creating troubles for these new settlers. India had a caste system based on the nature of work (which later on changed to the custom of being associated with birth). This social system was hijacked by invading European tribes 3000-4000 years ago wherein they clubbed losing aboriginals as “untouchables” and placed themselves among the first three of the caste system to retain benefits and maintain their own identity. Later generations tried to justify this exclusion in the name of some flimsy interpretation of religion. All the people who fought the invading tribes were punished and suppressed/out-casted by being termed as untouchables. Key idea of the Indo-Europeans was to maintain racial identity and Untouchables is a weird manifestation of this form of segregation.

      • Keile June 27, 2010 at 3:49 pm #

        But Dravidians are generally of the same ethnic lineage as the “Aryans” of the Indian continent. Both originated from the same place and are pretty much indistinguishable. There is literally no separate “racial identity” between the two.

      • Arla June 27, 2010 at 6:26 pm #

        So are you saying, Anil, that Dalits were not a part of Hunduism originally? That this transpired from hostile takeovers? And gradually they became the scapegoats of their society? Interesting. Thanks.

      • Arjun Pandava June 30, 2010 at 4:22 pm #

        The one thing I don’t agree with in your comment is the whole Aryan vs. Dravidian thing. There is no Aryan vs. Dravidian, Aryan is not a race! It’s a state of mind, a way of being. Please, read my blog post (Caste: Basics)… my explanation of the origins of caste is a bit better than the one you just gave.

  2. Karen Loewen June 25, 2010 at 4:58 am #

    Thanks Erika for this well-written and informative blog about the Dalits in India!! Yes, I agree that God must weep over the grave situation. There’s an organization called Gospel for Asia that appears to be making ‘headway’ into solving this problem. http://www.gfa.org. Have you heard of them?

    I wonder ‘what are others doing?’ to address this problem, or to improve the lives of the “Untouchables” in their own society. Keep up the good blogging! And message that God indeed is love and is weeping over the inequities He wants us to do something about.

    Karen Loewen

    • anildubey June 27, 2010 at 6:07 am #

      Since vedic literature (the core of Hindu belief) does not even mention “Untouchables” as a class, please do not bring religion into it. It is not a RELIGIOUS problem but a social problem of RACE harmony. Race issue is still a hot and sensitive one everywhere, and lets look it in right perspective. Attempts have been made to resolve the problem and that have met with limited success but bring Gospel is nothing else but fishing in troubled waters.

      • Keile June 27, 2010 at 3:51 pm #

        They are not seperate races. They are both of same Indian people. The “Aryans” are far more related to the Dravidians that they ever were to whites. It is definitely a social problem.

      • Anil June 28, 2010 at 6:33 pm #

        Please pay close attention to my view point. I have thought long and hard about it and have come to this conclusion.
        Point 1: Untouchables are also Hindus (word just means folks living close to Sindhu river and beyond) and I would say they formed the core of religious beliefs that were prevalent in India even before the invasion of Aryan tribes. India had some form of caste system even before the invasion of Aryans. Importantly, indications are that it was based on the work division and very loosely connected to birth (not strongly tied to your birth). If you look at the careful planning of settlement as well as artifacts retrieved from Indus Valley Civilization, You would note that it was largely based on work division on some sort and people followed various Gods/and goddesses with Pashpatinath (Lord Shiva) and Mother Goddess as supreme deities. Bull is a key figure of Indus Valley Civilization. If you know about Lord Shiva and his favorite vehicle (its Bull), you would be able to connect the dots. Obviously another fact is that folks worshipped many gods/goddess and definition was not very tight(Another trait of Hinduism). There was citadel and areas ( similar to downtown in western cities of today), where rich and famous would stay and vast houses away from the center of town were worker class would stay. (Fields were outside the city limits and all agricultural work had to be done on the outskirts of city). Anyways I do not want to deviate from the point, there was division of labor and as such distinct groups doing distinct tasks. That much is clear. And my theory is that these people (specifically the worker class) were nothing else but the forefathers of “Untouchables” in today’s India.
        Point 2: How did they become untouchables? When Saraswat river became dry due to geological events, A lot of these folks started moving towards east and south in Aranya (forests) areas and also to other cities that were formed along other rivers. This obviously led to some tension as more load on existing resources. In this transformation (even before the Aryan invasion), those who migrated did not get the place in citadel or downtown area but more around the outskirts of city where there was space. This internal conflict among aboriginal tribes had a key role in shaping the course of India’s history. Around this time, Aryan tribes started coming from Central Asia/Europe. It is at this time that there is a lot on confusion around what exactly happened and things are not very clear. It would be safe to assume based on same counts that, it was the start of tumultuous relationship between the two main group of India. It is during the course of this time that friction started taking place between the aboriginals and Aryans. Both groups were not natural enemies but did become one over the course of time as there was enough distrust (Cave days mentality of human beings). It is during the course of these small and big battles, that emotions started building up slowly but surely. When the influx become huge, it become a big problem. There was internal displacement and internal rift among aboriginals and external one cause by the presence of a new group (called Aryan tribes). One of things that elite among Aryan tribes noted was the class system that was prevalent in aboriginals. They also noted their work division which was loosely tied to work but not tightly integrated to birth. When friction reached its high point, There were many battles in which Rakshashas or Rakshakas (depending on who was pronoucing it, intrepreted as demons by Aryans and Saviors by aboriginals), gave a very tough fight. Even though Aryans tribes become victorious because of their superior warrior skills (Rich become lazy..and loose…), they had constant mini fights with these aboriginals who were weak but not were not easily tamed into submission. As a solution to these mini fights, I think it is at this point of time that some of the intellectuals in Aryan tribes decided to merge their system of class division (tied to birth) to existing system of class division (tied to role). Obviously to sanctify the whole act, there were inter-tribe marriages between the rich/higher up aboriginals and the Aryan tribes. Aryan tribes negotiated a deal where all of them were somehow mapped to the upper class of the existing class structure of the aboriginals. Those aboriginal tribes who benefitted (in few), agreed to this formula (standard human weakness of keeping facts aside and siding with easier choice) but rest of the aboriginal tribes who did not see deal going in their favor revolted. It is at this time the rest of the tribes become very violent and started supporting acts of their leaders in attacking all of the activities of this privileged group. And it is at this time that some conclusive battles were fought and keys leaders of the existing tribe wiped out. Privileged group (Aryan and upper class of aboriginals) was so pissed that they made a key decision (and blunder in a hindsight) that would conclusively shape the course of Indian history. They decided to snap all ties with this large violent group that had lost all of its key leaders and were at the mercy of these group. They could not kill them all (as it would hard to justify killings of children and woman), So the privileged group decided that they will let the losing tribe (mostly comprised of woman and children’s) live but they will not let them intermingle. They will keep them at a distance. They were not allowed inside the living areas of the Aryan (and upper caste aboriginals) almost making the outcaste. Over the course of time, when anger died down (passage of a few generations) some among these privileged few began to realize mistake of their forefathers. Some of them (read Gautama Buddha and others before him) could not justify these acts. These compassionate individuals noted that even those who were living the life of comfort had to die and were suffering in one way or the other. It is this group that tried to charter or charted a different path (one later on become the Buddhist religion). Obviously most of the kings were in control of rest of the elite group (of privileged class) and there was this struggle again (As one who had the benefitted the most in terms of life’s luxuries by mere virtue of being born in a class did not want to lose them in the name of equality and madness of the select few (that’s how revolutionaries are taken in general). So they came up with carefully doctored thoughts in the disguise (read time of Manu smriti) of scriptures (enough truth to be correlated with scriptures and enough twisted facts to make suit their own needs). One of this was the flimsy theory of untouchables as something sanctified by scriptures. Obviously you cannot keep a large mass of people deprived and discriminated against and unless and until it is disguised as the curse of God. No one can dare go against the Gods (we know that well in India). Most of the elite knew that this was a twisted fact and untrue but as Hitler said, a falsehood if preached a thousand times can come to be regarded as truth, same doctrine was applied. Facts were twisted in the later scriptures and same got inculcated in their offspring’s. Brainwashing in this aspect was so strong that it was hard for the later generations of privileged class (first three castes) and rest could not figure a way out. This divide only deepened because soon original context was lost but the custom remained.

        Off course, I have tried to compress the historical facts of 5000+ years old (at least) history in two paragraphs and it does not do justice to all facts, but at high level I believe this is what must have happened. There were good people on both sides and bad people on both sides, but it is the story of the winners that is accepted and not that of losers. As is said, Winners have many takers, none for losers. I would freely admit that there are serious gaps in my theory and it does not and cannot explain everything that has happened on the Indian landmass, but by and large this is true and I can provide some very strong anecdotal evidences that will make all to think of this as a real possibility(something that cannot be refuted).

        Point 3: So how to get rid of this problem of untouchability ? As with everything, we are not the first one discussing this problems and a largeplethora of thinkers and revolutionaries have tried to fix the problem. Efforts have been made and they have been somewhat successful but large gaps still remain and so is the size of remaining tasks. If elite among the Hindus make a true attempt to understand the facts,(missing links in history), If one recognize the fact it takes strength face your own shortcomings and it takes a far more strength of character to accept your (and your forefathers) mistake, then that act in itself will not make them small but in the longer scheme of things, acceptance of truth would only sow the seed of trust and that can only make their stature higher from the prism of time and historical analysis, It would not take long to crush the problem. Nothing is impossible. If you have made a mistake (you or your forefathers), lets accept it. Especially if this is not sanctified by religion but has some other sinister reasons, let accept it as such. Everything is fair in love and war. It was war 4000 years ago. But things have changed. A lot of lives have been lost. A whole lot have been discriminated for generations for no fault of their own but because of the fault (it is not fault by the way to fight for your rights…but let’s keep the argument going) of their forefathers. There is no need to drag this issue for so long. A religion (Hindu Sanatan Dharma) that has proposed such advanced concepts in philosophy and theology, has such a strong astronomical and mathematical contributions in just about all other aspects of thinking cannot justify such an aberration as untouchability. It is not part of its natural fabric to have such distortions. It is not look consistent with the rest of the things .It is one of those most difficult things to understand. We cannot have such twisted form of discrimination in a religion which otherwise has been way ahead of its time in just about all other aspects. ACCEPT THE MISTAKE, EMBRACE THE PEOPLE WHO ARE YOUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS ( by the mere fact of being side by side – I will not use the word together) for 4000 years.
        Untouchables must remember that they are the true owners of India’s heritage and all that is good in India for last 5000 years or so. They have equal right (or more than equal right I would say because of the discrimination and deprivation suffered for centuries) on everything. There is no need to deny the past but there is no need to blame everything on the past (or on the others). HAVE COURAGE , STANG UP AND FACE THE REALITY. YOU HAVE LAW ON YOUR SIDE. TIME MIGHT JUST BE ON YOUR SIDE AS WELL. Understood that you may still be discriminated against at some levels, but don’t let that bring your moral down for it is not your fault. When two brothers fight, one of them wins and other loses and this animosity if fueled by vested interests, can go on and on, cross all boundaries of decency, can become quite ugly. This is what had happened in past. Lets bury the hatchet, especially if other side is willing to accept their mistakes and is ready to say SORRY.

  3. mosesonmissions June 25, 2010 at 5:02 am #

    Great post, nearly 90% of all gospel ministry goes to the Nearly 90% of all the poor Indians. There are 600 million non poor Hindus who need the Gospel.

    That is why the map is like it is.
    http://www.imb.org/globalresearch/sge.asp

    • Nitin Kumar June 25, 2010 at 10:21 pm #

      The problem is not religion but character of man that’s the same throughout the world. Exploiting others. Untouchables, sudras, are not victims of religion but exploitation. Religions are the same throughout the world searching the unseen,unknown, God like creature that created everything.

      You all are so deceiving in your characters.

      • rev79 June 26, 2010 at 3:20 am #

        You are correct, the problem is not religion but character. People are the problem because of our sin nature. People are the problem in the religions of the world that are guilty of exploiting the people. Religions are only equal when they teach the people rules to reach their god. There is one belief system which is diferent from all others, and it is Christianity, following Jesus. There have been Christian leaders who have exploited people, but if you look at the true Christians, they are the ones living selflessly everyday. They are reaching out to the lost and broken people of the world with the Love they’ve learned through a Relationship with their Lord, His Name is Jesus. Christianity isn’t about people trying to get to God, but it’s about God’s love for people and a relationship with Him.

        I hope you will find Peace.

      • alemfronteiras June 26, 2010 at 11:47 am #

        Thumbs up Nitin!

      • anildubey June 27, 2010 at 6:10 am #

        I agree with you Nitin. I would requests folks to understand that gospel ministry efforts would only create further problems and will not solve the root cause of the issue.

      • Arjun Pandava June 27, 2010 at 1:41 pm #

        @ rev79
        How is Christianity different from all others? Is it different in that it is accepting of those who do not believe in it’s teachings, or is it different from that other dogma that emphasizes submission?

  4. revolutionaryandjoyful June 25, 2010 at 5:09 am #

    It’s a sad system indeed but I don’t believe more religion is the answer. But I appreciate and share your heart for these people.

  5. massila June 25, 2010 at 5:11 am #

    Thanks for this usefull post. Do you know the word “paria” is based on these untouchable people. In fact, in the tamil untouchable community of south india, we have one branch named ‘PARAIYER’ They are still called or insulted by ‘paraya’.

    This type of caste system is like a political party system based on a pseudo religion with no value. Its profits to the another middle and higher castes to exploit easily. All those system are based up on a paranoîa, just like the communisme. All the untouchables are the origins and indigenous people of india. At the same image of the indigenous peole of australia, the indian untouchables were chased their land to poverty, exclusion, alcoolims and all kind of diseases.

    (Excuse me for my poor english!)

  6. Atticus June 25, 2010 at 5:12 am #

    Hi Erika, that was quite an insight in to the scourge of this modern day slavery..called Casteism! Well done for highlighting this subject which in the West is still somewhat of an obscure phenomenon. You may be interested in reading fellow blogger Meena, an Indian poet and writer, who tackles these issues of caste annihilation.

    http://bit.ly/c5uatI

    Keep up the good work! : )

  7. Sketch June 25, 2010 at 5:13 am #

    Praying for them. That’s all I can really say…Amazing post.

  8. Joe June 25, 2010 at 5:28 am #

    Thanks for sharing this Erika. I just read an article yesterday about the people of North Korea and a journey of three of them escaping the horrible conditions there. Now today I read this. God has been speaking to me about prayer, how I need to be spending more time praying for others.

    I really breaks my heart that so many have not felt the love of Jesus and it is up to His children to love on those around us.

  9. emmielynch June 25, 2010 at 5:29 am #

    Wow. Amazing post. Bless their hearts. I will be praying for these people and for a change in this system.

    • anildubey June 27, 2010 at 6:39 am #

      System has been changed in law and is slowly changing in practices. Lets make something clear. Atrocities against untouchables like, rape,murder, or violence reported is not because they are “Untouchables” but because of other mitigating circumstances. It is unfortunate that all of them get clubbed as atrocities against dalit by the activist groups. In many cases the people carrying out the atrocities are Dalits as well. It sounds like rape and murder live events does not happen in any other country. We know that it does happen, and over there reason is something else. Why not think about those reasons that cause such sinful acts to be committed at the first place. India does not have Hindu Upper class in the ruling elite. Neither the President, Vice President or Prime Minister or head of ruling party is Hindu (Brahmin). And law has been in the favor of weaker classes from last 63+ years.

  10. abellve June 25, 2010 at 6:00 am #

    Thank you for posting this. There a millions of lines drawn to separate us and sadly, we’ve drawn them all. We know it but it’s easier to look in another direction than to face it head on and change it. Thanks for giving everyone a chance to look at the problem.

    It’s awesome that a message so important to you and so unapologetically approached from a Christian perspective is on Freshly Pressed to be viewed by so many more people.

  11. Cristina Ozoa June 25, 2010 at 6:35 am #

    Very informative

  12. NovriWahyuPerdana June 25, 2010 at 6:51 am #

    Hi Erika!
    Love to see your images. You are absolutely touch everyones feeling through your images and story here. I also feel sorry mostly for the fate of this untouchable people. And i agree with your opinion to destroy the evil system, not mention the caste things. I believe that all men or women which is human being are equal and have the same rights. There are no different in all of us didn’t we? We breath the same air, lived in the same world, drink the same water, and needs each other as we are a social human. So basicly there’s no different between us especially our rights.
    And i absolutely join you to pray with you hoping the better world for them!
    Thank for sharing this!

  13. Jamie Lewis Hedges June 25, 2010 at 7:19 am #

    Gandhi called the ‘Untouchables’ the ‘Children of God’.

    • Arjun Pandava June 26, 2010 at 3:58 am #

      Gandhi was a fool who did nothing for Hindus or Indian independence. So what if he called dalits children of God? Everyone else is just as much children of God as dalits are.

      • kanishkkabiraj June 27, 2010 at 12:00 am #

        Your strength of conviction about Gandhi’s contribution (or lack of it), Arjun is very disturbing.

        He called them Children of God because he understood the power of labels. And was trying through that label to bring them closer to your concept of being like everyone else. Which even today, many of them are very far from.

      • Arjun Pandava June 27, 2010 at 2:52 pm #

        You think he contributed? Please, enlighten me.

        Yes, they’re far from being an integrated part of society thanks in part to Gandhi’s legacy: the Nehru Dynasty.

      • Arla June 27, 2010 at 6:37 pm #

        It’s true everyone else is just as much children of God as dalits are, but why is this offensive to you? And I’m very curious as to why you see Gandhi as a fool? Would that I could be such a fool of my convictions–even to have such convictions!

  14. midipour June 25, 2010 at 7:27 am #

    I don’t think India needs praise for all the millions of unfortunate people living in the country, but the traditional economic system the authority abides under doesn’t cater down to the rest of the social class. India isn’t even a developing nation- granted pity, instead their developing computer industry showcases the former’s apathy for perhaps a more humanitarian ideology that other democracies represent.
    India’s population is ridiculous, the majority of untoucheables are obedient to their faith, and where there aren’t enough intellectuals marketing decent jobs that aren’t granted luxury for. Now western capitalism is pulling the cornerstone, and the west isn’t to blame for their ‘flawless’ groundwork.

    • Arjun Pandava June 27, 2010 at 2:13 am #

      A long time ago, when industrial capitalism was not the norm, the land you call India was a economic powerhouse. Not only did it trade with nations as far as China and Japan, but it also had a higher literacy rate than contemporary Europe.
      Who do you think set up the flawless groundwork you mentioned? India still runs on what the British left behind, so the west really is to blame for it.

      • palabrapuddlegum June 27, 2010 at 6:59 am #

        While it is true both that Indian civilization was once an economic powerhouse (and, in my opinion, is becoming so again)and that the British invasion and occupation changed society in many lasting ways, I must disagree that “the west” is ultimately to blame for the grossly uneven distribution of wealth, power, and opportunity in India.

        Indian civilization is vastly older than that of the British. Social norms like the caste system were already well established before “the west” came to dominance. Such norms will likely remain long after “the west” fades from power, just as they remain now long after the British empire has shrunk back to a small collection of islands off the coast of Europe. “The west” cannot be held responsible for every ill that befalls every nation on the planet, especially not for social ills which, like the caste system, precede “the west’s” rise to dominance.

        I must also point out that this notion of “the west” is very vague, which is useful when it comes to placing blame. I am not sure which nations or peoples count as “the west” and which do not. Is this a loose confederation of allies? A cultural ideology independent of national borders? Or just a new, pejorative term for the “haves” from the POV of the “have nots?”

        P.S. Arjun, I like your name.

      • Arjun Pandava June 27, 2010 at 3:07 pm #

        @ palabrapuddlegum
        Well, caste is something that the British could have changed and gotten rid of. Instead they used it for leverage to divide the Indian society apart even further. While I admit that caste was a problem before the British entry, I believe that the issue only worsened due to their presence.

        Let me define “West” for you. The West is an unofficial group of nations that participated in the land grab a few centuries ago, and have continued to use the influence gained through those conquered lands to benefit themselves. Things like industry, education, religion, media, government policies, etc are all influenced by the West to an unnecessary amount. I’m not saying that the West is evil, just that it’s done (and is doing) many reprehensible things. Don’t get me wrong, I love western culture but there are certain things I have to disagree with.

      • Arjun Pandava June 27, 2010 at 4:11 pm #

        PS. Thank you, I find it provides me with motivation to keep logging into my WordPress account and continue my bloggin..

    • midipour June 28, 2010 at 3:46 am #

      I’ll stay fairly relative here, occasionally when I tune on BBC or even CNN. India has been shown with the precedent economic program that, to me, works no different from the preexisting caste system which Erika has mentioned. The West, as I’ve understood is the majority of a certain denomination lies *blink*, and most evidentially capitalism, wal-mart, computer technology, which.. Isn’t beneficial to the overpopulation of India. I think you, Arjun Pandava, understand this very well, and the like of moderation within a community leads to their own destruction. Common sense eh.

      • midipour June 28, 2010 at 3:54 am #

        hrm, there’s a couple of errors in my sentences I’d like to fix. The lack of moderation* leads to a community’s destruction, and on the West defense, India could have found the means to be a more established, competitive source in the international market.

      • Arjun Pandava June 30, 2010 at 4:28 pm #

        Agreed. India could have (and should) have found another way. The vast majority of the Indian population lives in rural areas and relies subsistence farming to get by. Industrialization is not the best option for these people..

  15. theologigal June 25, 2010 at 7:46 am #

    This is absolutely heartbreaking. Thank you for the reminder to pray for this terrible situation. I hope this post not only motivates more prayer, but also for more people to get up and go and be a part of the change themselves.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    – Amanda

  16. Ben Umnus June 25, 2010 at 7:56 am #

    It is indeed an evil system. I hope and pray more Indians embrace the true God, receive redemption through the forgiving blood of Jesus Christ, and the caste system is gone forever. After reading your blog I see now a reason why some Hindus have been attacking Christians lately, is because those Hindus don’t want to lose those ‘untouchables’ just as Pharaoh of Egypt didn’t want to lose his jewish slaves.

    • Arjun Pandava June 25, 2010 at 5:02 pm #

      Indians are more than happy keeping their God, and there’s a reason that missionaries continue to fail in their false evangelism. It’s because they aren’t so narrow minded as the missionaries are, they know that there is more to life than putting their faith in Christ and leaving everything in his hands.

      Hindus have been attacking Christians because they (Hindus) were attacked first. You would do the same if you were in their position. Don’t say that you would let your attackers kill you and die as a witness to Christ’s teachings, because the truth of the matter is that you would fight back. And then the media would be all over your story and conveniently forget to report the other side of it.
      Have you heard of http://www.christianaggression.org/ ?

      • The Innocent June 25, 2010 at 6:08 pm #

        Hey Arjun! First, I want to say that I love India. Ah, I love her people, the culture, the hot, muggy weather, everything, and I’ve missed India ever since I got back! 😥 Are you from India?
        But I do know many Indians who are very receptive to Jesus Christ. Especially the Dalits.
        Most media is biased in one way or another. 🙂

      • Ben Umnus June 26, 2010 at 1:49 am #

        Your argument against Christianity is equivalent to racism. “Because one did this to me, that means they’re all bad like that.” I do not doubt there are bad eggs in both Hinduism and even those who call themselves Christian, but what deeds man does is no excuse to deny God. What Christ teaches and what he has done for us is far greater than any other religion. I am sorry for all the violence and evil that has happened, but you must keep in mind the violence you condemn is performed by humans not God. I find it embarrassing and disgraceful to hear of those who do not act Christlike, but I am open minded enough to believe Christianity is true. Please don’t you narrow your mind, just because someone wrong you or others.

      • Arjun Pandava June 26, 2010 at 5:21 am #

        @ The Innocent
        No I am not from India, I have been there though.
        Being receptive to Jesus is totally a different thing from being converted to believe in only Christ. Dalits are receptive because missionaries offer a false escape from the social repression they experience. The truth of the matter is that even after they convert, they are still outcasts.
        http://wp.me/pIWfF-2A

        @ Ben Umnus
        How you equate race to religion, and the discrimination of one being the same as discrimination of another, is beyond me. I never said that someone had wronged me, did I? It’s you who came into this discussion with assumptions and false claims. I am open enough to believe that people don’t need to be brainwashed into believing just one way to reach God.

    • Rohit June 26, 2010 at 6:21 am #

      It is precisely for the fact that people like you exist in our system that there is a lot of problem where missionaries exist. The only motive being, embrace Christianity.

      I have studied in a Christian school and very well know their motives. Are you really trying to help or is there any vested interest?

    • Raghav June 27, 2010 at 3:34 am #

      Dear Ben Umnus,

      You just can’t understand the caste system in Hinduism! Actually, it was misinterpreted by the brahmin’s who dominated the Hindus those days! The varna system(caste system) was created to identify the stage of a person’s devotion to the supreme God Brahman, it is not according to the work they do!! So, don’t just say something that you don’t really understand!! It hurts!! Moreover, regarding on the prosecution of christians in india. It is because the christian missionaries in india are illegally converting hundreds of thousand’s of Hindus in the eastern state of Orissa! How do you feel when there is a Hindu missionary is the Vatican City and preaching Hindu Dharma to the roman catholics?

      Dharmo Raksati Raksitah.

  17. leeklein June 25, 2010 at 8:03 am #

    Dear Erika:
    I was touched by your post “The Untouchables.” I was aware that Inda had a caste system, but nothing so extreme as what you have written above.

    My heart and prayers are with these people.

    Lee Klein

  18. leeklein June 25, 2010 at 8:03 am #

    Dear Erika:
    I was touched by your post “The Untouchables.” I was aware that Inda had a caste system, but nothing so extreme as what you have written above.

    My heart and prayers are with these people.

    Lee Klein

  19. JamesBrett June 25, 2010 at 8:12 am #

    blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

  20. PeacockWings June 25, 2010 at 8:12 am #

    very moving article

  21. Azhar June 25, 2010 at 8:13 am #

    There is no caste system in Islam. In Islam all person black or white all are equal.

    • Arjun Pandava June 25, 2010 at 5:21 pm #

      Caste is not an issue that Hindus alone face. It affects Muslims and Christians, just as much as it affects Hindus.

      It’s funny you should say that all people are equal, regardless of skin color. Didn’t Muslims sell off Africans to slavers?

      • The Innocent June 25, 2010 at 6:18 pm #

        Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself. (Luke 10:27-37) In the illustration He used with this commandment, it included different, and despised, races. Pretty straightforward and simple…

      • Arjun Pandava June 26, 2010 at 5:14 am #

        @ The Innocent
        Jesus might have said that, but how many people have followed or do still follow it? Check Desi Girl’s comment below to see what I’m talking about.

      • britishfangirl June 26, 2010 at 5:22 am #

        You seem to be forgetting that caste system is a social division, not a religious one.

      • bb4muslimas June 26, 2010 at 7:19 am #

        You’re quite the inquisitive character, Arjun!

        I would recommend reading scholarly articles about this topic before jumping to faulty conclusions… 🙂

        Part of Islamic Law requires individuals to free slaves whenevery they commit any sort of major sin. In fact, Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) himself is reported to have said: “There are three categories of people against whom I shall myself be a plaintiff on the Day of Judgement. Of these three, one is he who enslaves a free man, then sells him and eats this money” (al-Bukhari).

        The Prophet alone liberated as many as 63 slaves throughout the last 23 years of his life. If you’re truly as curious and openminded as you claim, than perhaps this article will be of use to you: http://www.central-mosque.com/fiqh/slav3.htm

        Thanks,
        Rania Abuisnaineh

      • Arjun Pandava June 27, 2010 at 2:41 am #

        @ bb4muslimas
        The problem with scholarly articles is that they’re flawed by bias, and it gets hard to pick out what is said due to bias and what is not. I’ll keep my own opinions on things like this, thanks.

        The article is not about what scriptures say, or what the people mentioned in those scriptures have done. Jesus Christ would not approve of the way that Christians evangelize their beliefs. In a similar fashion, Muhammad probably would not encourage terrorists in their behavior. But don’t get me started on the Prophet, this is not the place for that.

        I never claimed to be openminded in any of my posts, I have formulated my opinions and those are difficult to change as I am stubborn by nature. I have no use for you article because, as I said before, it will be fraught with bias.

      • Mohammad Salih June 27, 2010 at 3:47 am #

        During the Prophet’s[SAW] farewell sermon, he said:

        “All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action.”

        In fact many companions of prophet[SAW] bought slaves and told them when they are bought “you are free to go”

        And the first caller to prayer in islam is a former black slave called Bilal Ibn Rabah, May Allah be pleased with him.

      • Mohammad Salih June 27, 2010 at 3:50 am #

        @innocent,

        The same Jesus, peace be upon him, said “Hear O israel our Lord God is One.”

        How many christians are following it?

      • Arjun Pandava June 27, 2010 at 3:16 pm #

        @ bb4muslimas
        You can continue to quote scriptures, like I said before this article is not about scripture but practice.

        So, just to my point I’m post this link:
        http://www.nigeriavillagesquare.com/articles/moses-ebe-ochonu/arab-racism-against-black-afr.html

    • Raghav June 27, 2010 at 3:43 am #

      Dear Azhar,

      There is no caste system in Islam!! But, the muslims are discriminating other religious believes all over the world!! What can you say abt it? Moreover, i heard that in Mecca there are two sites of worship during the Haj! One for the white’s, arabs and (other asians) and another one is for the blacks! So, what can you say abt it!! Please don’t think that i’m an anti-Islam! I respect Islam and the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. because ‘m from a muslim majority country! Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi iwabarakatu and Thank You!

    • Joseph June 27, 2010 at 5:21 am #

      so repression of one gender constitutes equality….gotcha

      in Christianity…Catholic Christianity in particular we recognize the different roles women and men have in the transmission of new human life, but unlike most, we don’t treat any role as any more or any less dignified than the other….so while the roles in this endeavor are different we can recognize that difference while still not forgetting that women are just as human as we are and entitled to the same civil liberties given by the light of the natural order as set forth in the Constitution of the United States of America

      I take my Catholicism….you can keep your Islam that is repressive to women….unless of course you’re a more moderate Muslim that seeks to rid the faith of the Islamo-fascists…the radicals that seek only the complete and total conversion to Islam of, or failing that, destruction of, the entire world….if you’re one of these moderate Muslims that seeks peace and freedom for all believers, then I applaud you

  22. mindingthephysical June 25, 2010 at 8:19 am #

    Buddhism has helped India in this regard. It has also helped Christians see past their dualism. Namaste.

  23. D June 25, 2010 at 8:22 am #

    Wow.
    That’s so unbelievably tragic!
    I never knew..

  24. radicallymodest June 25, 2010 at 8:31 am #

    This post broke my heart. I am thankful to God that I don’t live in such a world, and I pray for a peaceful change for these people.

  25. evalineoneal June 25, 2010 at 8:45 am #

    When I read this I felt almost inhuman. This is such a sad story and I’m sure God is weeping over them every day. But I’m also sure he’s sending his other children to come to India as well and let the ‘untouchables’ see that they are ‘touchable’ and worthy. I’m sure they’re already blessed inside and worthy they just don’t know it yet.

  26. david June 25, 2010 at 8:51 am #

    WOW! unbelievable

  27. instantlynoodles June 25, 2010 at 8:51 am #

    Your excellent post triggered an incident that I witnessed sometime ago. In Nepal, some of the untouchables work as musicians.

    And what I don’t get is that if they are untouchables and if their presence ruins any good occasion, then why are they always ahead in, playing their strange instruments ushering the guests?

    I don’t get it.

    The story is here: http://instantlynoodles.wordpress.com/2010/06/26/i-dont-get-it/

  28. PC June 25, 2010 at 8:51 am #

    This post is fantastic. Thank you for the post.

    As American ‘missions’ goes more and more the way of India, this is one of the strongest things to understand; important to understand that our hearts might break for the things which break God’s heart.

    Thank you again!

  29. pbandchutney June 25, 2010 at 8:56 am #

    As a Hindu, this post really touched me. I know and keep up with very little in the caste system mostly because my parents never raised me to treat people different no matter their caste, color, race or religion. I moved from India when I was 9 and don’t really remember being exposed to much of it when I was little, but surprisingly I heard and saw more of the caste system mentioned in college. My bf in college was Brahman and his parents only wanted him to marry a Brahman. My roommate’s bf was also Brahman, and his dad was a Brahman priest, so her chances of marrying him (bc she wasn’t Brahman) went right out the water – even though they dated for nearly 4 years. It’s really a shame that the caste system still exists. People are and worth so more than this stupid system. Thank you for teaching me something about my religion – it’s so complex that I would be surprised if any Hindu Indo-American knows everything there is to know.

    http://pbandchutney.wordpress.com

  30. Cori June 25, 2010 at 9:33 am #

    Ran across this randomly — great post and it got me thinking about an article I read recently. (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/matthew_parris/article5400568.ece) It’s by an athiest who is convinced that Africa needs God. And not just any God. The Christian God. It boils down to this — that the Christian concept of “hierarchy” is this: God, then everyone else. Jew, Greek, Slave, Free, Man, Woman — all are equal in the sight of God. The caste system in India ranks people based on their worth. The Christian system gives everyone the same worth, saying that the Brahmins and equal to the Dalits. It’s an amazing concept, and one that is unequalled in all other religions, as far as I know. And it radically changes how people interact and how people are seen by others. If I know that the homeless man down the street has just as much worth in the eyes of God as I do, I will (or at least should) treat him differently. And, knowing that the last shall be first and that the things I do for him I do for Christ, I’d better treat him differently!

    Anyway…ramble ramble ramble. Great post — I wish more people would realize the implications of Christianity to a societies such as India.

    • Arjun Pandava June 25, 2010 at 5:39 pm #

      Contrary to what the columnist says, Christianity is not the answer to the problems in Africa. There’s mutliple issues in Africa, one of which is religion. Do you really think that more missionaries are gonna help?

      • Rajeev June 26, 2010 at 8:58 am #

        I agree. Opportunity to earn for food and shelter is the only option. Religion comes later.

    • girlsguidetosurvival June 25, 2010 at 9:00 pm #

      Author & @Cory

      Please check your facts
      You said…The Christian system gives everyone the same worth,…

      1.It was not long ago just 70 years back in the US christians were murdering other christians due to color of their skin. Now they are killing them in more refined ways called law and order in the inner cities.

      2. Christianity does not consider women equal to men. Women are actually I guess children of lesser Christian God 🙂 . Many churches still do not condone women wearing pants on a Sunday Service.

      3. Christianity still treats LGBTQ community as abetters of Satan or what ever they call them, again children of a lesser God.

      4. Christianity sends non believers of Christ to hell. So what kind of equality is that?? If all are equal then even the non believers should have equal access to heaven if there is one.

      5. Did we forget equal before the God, pedophile pastors. Where is the equality when Catholic Churches sign non disclosure contracts with the abused in out of court settlements. Now you’ll tell me they are Catholics and you are Protestants or Evenglicals or what ever so are you guys preaching the gospel of same God and Christ or even they are different like your churches.

      6. Bhudhism and Jainism do not believe in any God but only human conduct if you wish to call it free will. Thus your conduct not divine favor will make you a better person.

      7. Sikhism accords total equality to all humans be it men, women, gays or lesbians. It even speaks of kindness to the environment, flora and fauna. There is no promise of heaven and no fear of hell. It is all out of person’s own volition to be in sync with the creator.

      8. Hindus may have caste system but they don’t send anyone to hell just because they don’t agree with them. They discriminate against Dalits but every thing is in the open. Racism in the US is not a histroy with just one Obama in the White House

      9. Isn’t it high time the white man let go of his burden and get his house in order. Did we forget the Appalachians? Is it really in the US. I thought it was some where in third world.

      10. Oh, you forgot to mention India had a Dalit President from 1997- 2002 and a woman president since 2007 long before Obama made the history…

      Only if the prayers could change Africa and the third worlds no real action will be needed.

      Its personal agenda of Evengalicals, please don’t involve Jesus in all this, he won’t approve of compassion only for his belivers…

      By the way what is the source of the given stats??

      So any thoughts 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Peace

      Desi Girl

      • nikhilvinci June 25, 2010 at 11:29 pm #

        super likee

      • britishfangirl June 26, 2010 at 5:24 am #

        Very true!!

      • Cori June 26, 2010 at 5:55 am #

        Hi Desi,

        Thanks for your comments. Unfortunately, the type of Christianity that you are describing tends to fall under the American political right-wing brand of Christianity — unloving, judgmental, and loud. It bears little resemblance to what Jesus taught — compassion, love, humility, justice, and equality. I’m so sorry that that is how Christ has been represented to you — it breaks my heart. As someone who strives for the latter, it makes me so sad to see people abusing Christ’s name for their own agenda, which is usually political. I don’t believe that going into other countries just to run around and convert people is the answer at all. In fact, I think that Jesus would weep over the way that Christians just fly into places like cowboys, thinking they can save the world. Instead, I think that Christ calls us to love our neighbors, feed the hungry, comfort and plead for the widow, rescue the oppressed, be a father to the orphan, and treat everyone (everyone — not just other Christians) with the knowledge they are a child of God and are dearly loved by Him. We should do this with humility and without screaming “look at how amazing I am!” Hopefully, people will know I’m a Christian by my love and compassion, and they’ll want to check out Jesus too. The real Jesus. Not the Americanized Jesus.

        One last thing — I believe that the different between Christianity and other religions is the “effort” part of it. I don’t do the above things because I think they’ll earn me a place in heaven, or that I’ll reap rewards, or because I’m afraid of being punished if I don’t. I just looked at Jesus one day and said, “I can’t do this on my own.” I see other religions and there is so much emphasis placed on what the believer does — meditation to achieve nirvana, good works to earn favor with God, or, like you said (paraphrased), “being in sync with the creator is up to the person’s own volition.” I personally got tired of trying to do it on my own. I know it sounds crazy to anyone who doesn’t believe what I believe (I fully realize this since I didn’t become a Christian until later in life), but I truly believe that Christ abides within me, and that released me from the burden of trying to do it on my own. I just rely on his strength, love, compassion, humility, and peace.

        Anyway, thanks for your comments. I wish I had more time to address them! — Cori (www.letseatgrandpa.com)

      • Arjun Pandava June 27, 2010 at 2:50 am #

        @ Cori
        Just as unfortunate is that the Christianity that most foreigners will deal (living in nations that are not traditionally Christian) with is the same unloving, judgemental, and loud Christianity. While there are a few honest Christians working in cooperation with the society to improve it from within, the majority of Christians seek to change if without even trying to integrate themselves with their environment. This latter brand of Christianity is what you termed “unloving,” and it’s what most Indians will deal with.

        It’s ironic how you bring up the effort bit in a religion that’s based on submission to Christ. Most people following Sanatana Dharma (Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs etc) don’t do things to get into heaven either. We do those things because we believe that by serving them, we serve God. You may be tired of trying to reach God on your own, but we are not. It’s not so crazy as you think, because we have believed that God is in us for millenia.

        You see, we (Christians and all those various sects mentioned above) are not so different after all.

      • Guilherme June 27, 2010 at 3:53 am #

        I feel so sorry for you Desi Girl! You have no knowledge about what you are writing. People is different than religion!!
        You can’t give facts about people saying that is about religion!!
        Be open minded and you will see that all religions are good, and can connect different people to God.
        Better be a good cristian than a bad hindu
        Better be a good Hindu than a bad Muslim
        Better a good Muslim than a bad Budist… And keep going
        Last year I have been to Buddhist monasteries in South east Asia, Hindu temples in India, The Golden Temple, Janist Temple, Kristina temples, Mosques is Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia and Middle East, Synagogues in Israel and Churches everywhere (Catholic, Coptic, Syrian, Greek,Armenian,Ethiopian…)
        The philosophy of them are different, so how to reach haven, nirvana, enlightenment or call what you want, but to be a good person, and not lie is in all of them…
        In your thoughts there are lots of mistakes, untruth, so take care not to tell lies…
        God bless you all!!
        You

      • Joseph June 27, 2010 at 5:30 am #

        so nobody’s perfect…what’s your point?….as Matthew Kelly…great Catholic speaker once said during one of his talks:

        “The abuse of a good does not diminish the good of a good.”

        that means that the abuse of for example the priesthood does not diminish the good of the priesthood as making sense-perceptible signs of Christ in the Church….and just because years ago the KKK abused their nominally Christian faith by murdering blacks does not diminish the intrinsic good of Christianity….just as the KKK sought to murder blacks…I will remind you that a great many Catholic Churches gave them asylum….the blacks that is, not the KKK….and so as a result many Catholic clergy and religious and ordinary lay people suffered at the hands of the KKK as well…in a book which was later made into a movie called “The Cardinal”…the priest character who would one day become a cardinal went down South to conduct Church business….both him and the black priest he was with were nabbed by the KKK….beaten within an inch of their lives…..and strung up on a cross left to die….thankfully the one who would be a cardinal survived…not sure about the other priest he was with though…so there are Christians who shed their blood for the blacks in the face of the KKK’s abuse of true Christianity

      • palabrapuddlegum June 27, 2010 at 7:25 am #

        Very interesting post. Like you, I disagree with the notion that the “cure” for the discrimination of Dalits is a radical change in an entire country’s religion. As you have rightly pointed out, the proposed replacement is a religion full of problems of its own. I don’t know how to help Dalits, but attempting to convert people to another religion seems unlikely to help matters.

        Also, thank you for posting that youtube link. As an American, I am grateful that others get the chance to see the true face of our society. The portrait of America painted by that clip is much more accurate (especially in these hard times and in rural or Southern areas of the nation) than the TV shows, movies, and other media generally available to the rest of the world. Many, many Americans rely on food stamps, welfare, or some other form of government assistance at some point in their lives. Many struggle just to get by. Many are homeless, especially veterans and mentally ill people. Many are incarcerated, also especially mentally ill people. Many families live in crowded households like the one shown in the clip.

        As far as the U.S. is concerned, you’re right; we *should* get out own house in order before telling others how to live. Of course, if we did that, it would mean a redistribution of our foreign aid funds so that we used those funds to help our own poor instead of those from other nations. I wonder if the rest of the world *really* wants us to cut them off.

      • girlsguidetosurvival June 28, 2010 at 4:22 pm #

        @Guilherme,

        Thanks for judgeing me. When did God or Christ leave you incharge of judging others.

        You have made exact point I made. It is the followers that discriminate not the faith. I guess you did not read my comment in its entireity.

        “Its personal agenda of Evengalicals, please don’t involve Jesus in all this, he won’t approve of compassion only for his belivers…”

        1. Nothing is more important than kindness and compassion to fellow human.

        2. Be what ever you want to be but begin with being a human rest everything comes after it.

        3. So what lies did I tell 🙂 Please elaborate and save me from going to hell 🙂 .

        Keep Judging, God has left you incharge Congratulations!

        @Cori

        Why only a christian God? So you mean to say there are many Gods. Which christian God are you refering to: Catholic, apostolic, united methodist, murmon, baptist… fill in the blanks your self.

        Peace,

        Desi Girl

    • Keile June 27, 2010 at 3:56 pm #

      You are asking that poor African nations and others be convinced of a lie so as to better its civilization. That is reprehensible. Keep your religion and they will keep their caste system if that’s your only solution.

      • Alex July 4, 2010 at 11:03 pm #

        Yes Keile, it would be if it were a lie. On the other hand, to know the truth, truth that can make a tangible difference in people’s lives, and not share it is reprehensible.

    • JamesBrett June 28, 2010 at 12:38 am #

      i’m a development worker and missionary in africa, and can say for sure that sending more missionaries here is not going to solve all of the problems — at least not missionaries who do the same old missionary things.

      however, not even speaking to whether or not God exists and christianity is true, there has been shown that acceptance of God usually brings with it a societal lift. there are lots of possible explanations, ranging from God does this in the lives of his people to more people are learning to read (so they can understand the bible).

      i can also add that there is work to be done in africa, and it will require people come from other countries and help out a bit. and if christians are most likely to come, so be it. it is true that many of those most willing to give up dreams of money and “success,” moving to a foreign country to work in rural areas, are christians. i personally believe that says something about God’s Spirit indwelling in his people. but whether or not that’s true… if christians are willing to help, then they should.

      i also believe, however, that they ought to be seeking more holistic forms of ministry to go with his preaching the good news. that’s what Jesus did.

  31. Joel Hansen June 25, 2010 at 9:49 am #

    Thank you for this very educational post. It’s so hard to imagine what these facts really mean for so many people(I ask the Lord to grip my heart with it). Oh, how much Jesus loves them! May the Lord bless your time in India.

  32. casacapital June 25, 2010 at 9:49 am #

    “I AM BECAUSE WE ARE”

  33. Melissa Griffin June 25, 2010 at 10:09 am #

    Excellent article, Erika. I share your heart for these people deemed “untouchable” and pray that God will bring this evil system to an end. Praise God that His Word reveals to us our inherent dignity and equality before Him. The worth of an individual is not derived from nor changed by the opinions of others; it is given him by His Creator before he breathes his first breath. Thank you for drawing our attention to these people who are too often forgotten.

  34. interpretartistmama June 25, 2010 at 10:23 am #

    Amen. Let’s pray and let us also act. If you haven’t yet, I highly recommed reading The Irresistable Revolution by Shane Claiborne, which talks about Christian “activism” – taking your faith and actually living it out by reaching the many “untouchables” in the world. What you’re doing here – educating us about the injustices in the world – is the vital first step. Because having learned of the need for action, we as Christians cannot help but feel the need to act. Because *we* are the answer that we pray for. It is with our hands, our voices, our hearts that God does HIS work…

    Thank you for an important post for a very worthy cause.

    • erikaearl June 25, 2010 at 3:08 pm #

      I absolutely agree! I have read The Irresistible Revolution and I’m leaving for India in less than a week to live there with the people for three months! I can’t wait to put some legs to my prayers! God bless you.

      • The Innocent June 25, 2010 at 6:23 pm #

        Have you been to India before? I LOVE India. *sigh of “homesickness”*

      • Nitin Kumar June 27, 2010 at 1:23 am #

        We can manage us ourselves. We don’t need any religion to solve our problems. The problems are economic not religious. You must study philosophy to learn how things in this world behave. India already has numerous religion and also those converted to Christianity also practice the caste system and its evil… what you gonna teach them ?

        You yourself got to learn a lot…

        Go to the remote villages there you will find what you are looking for…caste and untouchablity are not the only problems…here people kill their daughter and her lover if they find he is outcaste. Even in cities like Delhi forget the rural area where such incidents don’t even get noticed by the police…no police report nothing.
        Such a crime is given the name ‘Honour Killing’.

        Try reading some Indian Newspaper…you will get frustrated. Sorry for that. If you read a Hindi Newspaper like “Dainik Jagaran” you might get mad. Thankfully you don’t understand Hindi.

      • Nitin Kumar June 27, 2010 at 10:53 am #

        People are very tribal here. Don’t think you can change anything here with religion. Missionaries are killed and murdered… the place is a hell.

        You are a fool, idiot, emotional fool. What else do I say. Prayers, God what will change ?

        Here people demolish mosques…riot across the country ? Haven’t you seen Slum dog Millionaire ? those riot scenes ? There are proper organizations to manage these affairs…

        You theists I know have no respect for Karl Marx but at least one thing can be learned from that man’s work that human behavior are majorly controlled by economic conditions…but you are followers of capitalism…capitalist motives drive your behavior…the emotional person in you… Use your brains.

        Religion is the opium of society.

      • Nitin Kumar June 27, 2010 at 11:34 am #

        Why don’t you come to North India ? Untouchables will send you back home. They cannot be fooled by your religious gospels and your Goddamn God. They are very aware now they also have their own representative CM. She’s doing fine. At least better than others.

        I am writing because I have no work to do…

        I don’t understand why right conservationists are so concerned about India…

        I made a mistake by writing anything here…fools idiots, brainless, crying fellows. They gonna change the world with Gospels…idiots.

        You think you are any superior or something , somebody special created by God to come to India…You are no fucking special.

  35. denizen of the deep June 25, 2010 at 10:54 am #

    They are untouchable unless they are women. They are being touched while being raped. How hypocritical!

    • Arjun Pandava June 25, 2010 at 5:46 pm #

      Just as hypocritical is that men are untouchable until they are assaulted. Also hypocritical is that when Christians defend their beliefs they are termed religious, and if anyone else does the same they are termed as fundamentalists.

      I hope you know that your comment is double-edged..

      • Nitin Kumar June 27, 2010 at 11:03 am #

        Hinduism is no good. The world had slavery. Indians have religious slavery. Those invisible chains are that of religion. A religious bondage…but their need is economic. So a new religion may teach them something but if one plays with economics foolishly he/she might become victim of those who enslaved them.

        One must think of some better way to free them without harming yourself.

        And please forget the religion.

    • girlsguidetosurvival June 26, 2010 at 8:41 am #

      That is so true. All things are excused for men be it upper caste or untouchables the restrictions only apply to women. 🙂 Dalit women are doubly oppressed one, by upper castes men and women and second by Dalit men.

  36. Joseph June 25, 2010 at 11:18 am #

    and people call Christianity a religion of blind faith that disregards logic…..oy

    I’d say Hinduism ignores a few chains of logic….like the logic of an entire race of people (humanity) being born with a fallen nature due to the original sin of humanity’s progenitors but having hope because our one God loves us so much He humbled Himself so that we might one day live a life of freedom from sin

    • Arjun Pandava June 26, 2010 at 4:06 am #

      I’d say Christianity ignores a few chains of logic also, beginning right from Genesis. The world was not created in 7 days, we know this as a fact. Man was not spontaneously created, we know this as a fact also. Woman was not created from a rib of man, this too is a known fact.

      Tell me, what good has logic done for these things? Hindus do not believe in the original sin, why should we? It’s ridiculous to think that we’re all born to absolve ourselves because we wanted knowledge.

      • Joseph June 27, 2010 at 5:51 am #

        because it’s plainly obvious that we as human beings are more than the sum of our physical components….that we have an essence that is unique to the world

        this comes from the fact that we were gifted with a knowledge of the natural order that is unparalleled amongst all the other creatures of this world……also everything must have a source….I didn’t create myself….my mom and dad didn’t create themselves……my grandparents didn’t create themselves…….and this can be infinitely regressed back to Adam and Eve…..Adam and Eve didn’t create themselves either…..as I said we are gifted with an essence that exists apart from our physical form…..this essence was as the Bible says “breathed into our nostrils” by God. Henceforth Adam, Eve, and their progeny, the human race would be gifted with a life that is both physical and supernatural. Then Adam and Eve corrupted that link before they had a chance to create the human race……corupting the essence of life as a human being…and passing that corrupted essence onto their children….the human race…through the procreative act….but god, because He loves us, you will note in genesis that He makes the promise of redemption…that we will one day be able to restore ourselves to grace so we can abide with Him for eternity.

        all of these religious concepts are realized by simply observing the world today…..we’re devaluing the sanctity of all life and the act that leads to the creation of new human life with abandon and calling it good…..our elected leaders are tearing asunder the very foundation of America as a nation of liberty….and not one person is batting an eye…..except for me and others like me…..this is what happens when a human society rejects the moral precepts inherent in the natural order that every human heart can readily perceive

        but as I said…everything has a source….so what is the source of this knowledge of the natural order…..of right and wrong……of natural and unnatural?….where does this knowledge come from?….think about it

    • enleuk June 27, 2010 at 8:14 am #

      “everything must have a source….I didn’t create myself….my mom and dad didn’t create themselves……my grandparents didn’t create themselves…….and this can be infinitely regressed back to Adam and Eve…..Adam and Eve didn’t create themselves either”

      Not infinitely regressed, according to those who believe in Adam and Eve its more like 200 generations back. However, those who know a thing or two about geology know that the earth is several billion years old. Once upon a time there was a DNA-molecule with a few thousand atoms in it and the molecule was copied many, many times through chemistry and slightly altered chemically to the point where after a billion years and an unfathomable amount of chemical reactions, the molecule produced proteins and cell walls that was more complex than a virus (just a part of a DNA-molecule), even more complex than a bacteria (many of which have cell walls), namely a multicellular organism, i.e. a colony of cloned bacteria, all with the same molecule in their middle. 50 million years ago, an even-toed ungulate (ancestor of e.g. pigs and camels) dove into the water and its progeny adapted to the water, becoming dolphins, orcas, whales et cetera through the same process of chemical mutation of the DNA-molecule. The rat become a monkey, the monkey became gorillas, chimps and humans. Last time a human ancestor had sex with a chimp ancestor was roughly 5 million years ago. That’s 150000 generations. You see, time can change a lot of things. Your problem with grasping origin can be examplified with the question: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? And the answer is neither. The ancestor of the chicken was a dinosaur and the ancestor of the dinosaur was a string of DNA and the DNA-molecule was produced through normal chemical bonding. I.e. no creator.

      Also, this has implications for the breath of life, the mind, the soul, the consciousness and so on, because biologically and neurologically we are similar to other creatures and so our minds must be similar to theirs, unless a divine spirit has bestowed a supernatural gift upon only us and no others. I’m an atheist, I know I’m just a lump of atoms, a monkey with a skeleton, teeth and claws and tubes for poo and sperm just like all the other 6.8 billion great apes on this planet (of which only 0.01% are non-human great apes). I don’t believe in a supernatural gift. Like the deconstructionists of post-modern Western philosophy says, language is the illusion. Like Buddisht philosopher Nagarjuna says, reality is empty. Like eliminative materialists of today say, the Cartesian idea “I think” is a delusion of the mind. In reality, all the ideas in your mind are just metaphors for describing your state of being. Ultimately, they’re neither ideas, nor in your mind, nor yours, nor metaphors, nor descriptive of anything. Nagarjuna goes with Buddha on this and accepts the middle way, the conventional truth which says we have hands, we eat apples, we have a will and so on, without deconstructing it any further since it would just end up empty since all our ideas are contextually arisen (Buddha, Nietzsche, et cetera), including time, which is also a delusion.

      “the moral precepts inherent in the natural order that every human heart can readily perceive”

      Yes, I know a lot of people in Western history have said we have a lot of things inherent, like original sin, reason, souls, language, but truthfully, you are built up, atom by atom according to the map of a molecule which itself was built up over billions of years. All these supernatural divine gifts cannot be accepted by an atheist, its just fantastic fiction. No God-given morals can be accepted either. No paradisical reward for following His rules either.

      “so what is the source of this knowledge of the natural order…..of right and wrong……of natural and unnatural?”

      Natural and unnatural. That’s a nonsense question. Just because a spoon is crafted it’s still made of wood. “Oh no, that’s artificial”. There’s no separation between artificial or divine and the rest of reality. More importantly though, the knowledge of right and wrong is a cultural construct. There is no objective right or wrong without God’s right and wrong, and he is a fairy tale. And what sickens me is that the culture of most of the 6.8 billion great apes on this planet is such that millions of sentient beings, including humans suffer from lies like the one about God. When there are sensible ways of being, we embrace the culture and lies of our forefathers because we are too stupid to see alternative ways of living and the world just keep spinning and the monkeys just keep fighting, and dying, and starving, and suffering. I hate being a monkey when I see what monkeys have done to this planet. I hate being part of the mold we call life that has infested this watery rock when I realize its capacity and how far from it we are.

      • Joseph June 27, 2010 at 11:31 am #

        you truly are a sad individual who believes that we are built for license rather than liberty…that we are built for a world without the necessary natural constraints we as humans must abide by……that’s the natural law I’m talkin’ about….the moral law that says life is sacred from conception until natural death…and that it is intrinsically wrong to devalue our sexual gifts for the mere gratification of carnal desires…..the reality is that we as humans are gifted with something that exists beyond the purely physical…..this is evident in our inherent knowledge of what is right and wrong and what is natural and unnatural….I do not condemn lesser creatures as most of the animal kingdom is driven by instinct alone….they are not cognizant of the natural order that we are cognizant of…so they are incapable of sinning…..we are simply because we have the knowledge of right and wrong….in the end you will do what you will…just know that a life rejecting the source of the fair and just morals that must necessarily constrain us all is not a life worth living…as it is these moral constrains that give humans their natural freedom FOR living as they choose as long as they commit no crimes against the dignity of man and the laws given by the light of our knowledge of right and wrong

    • enleuk June 27, 2010 at 2:49 pm #

      I see you’ve given me no arguments for your belief in a God-given moral law or why only humans have been given the gift of reason. I accept that its handy that you don’t have to think for yourself what is good or bad, but in reality that’s just a delusion which you want to believe in so you don’t have to accept the difficulty of grey areas and ultimately the difficulty of there being no moral compass at all because there’s no objective good or bad even when adhering to a principle such as ‘the means to an end’ because there is no end and there’s no supreme being to decide whether the end is ultimately good or not. I remember Jonathan Swift, the Irish Dean, saying humans where not inherently good, like Rousseau said, nor inherently rational, like John Locke said, but that we were inherently sinful creatures because of Original sin and our only way to combat that was ‘rationis capax’ (or something, I’m not fluent in Latin), meaning we have the capability of reason. However, it’s not good enough to keep repeating that there is a natural order given by a divinity when talking to someone like me who doesn’t believe in any metaphysical existence. I don’t believe in ghosts, souls, gods. Maybe you could explain when exactly during the course of the existence of our universe a God instilled the soul in humans and how it happened and also when does, according to you, the DNA-molecule in each new individual get a soul? Is it somewhere in the building of the molecule in the balls or when the sperm-half of the DNA-molecule meets the egg-half or when its copied itself into 2, 4, 8, 16 copies or somewhere between that and that billions of copies that make up the featus or maybe when the cluster of cells exit the woman and starts breathing on its own, maybe you mean God has put the soul in the air so the first breath of fresh air contains the soul that’s floating around in air and only enters the human child by some filtering mechanisms in the human body that prevents other animal children to be granted the same gift?

      You call me sad, I don’t mind, but the feeling is mutual of course. Instead of believing in fairy tale morals I have to use my brain to think what is good or bad, and it’s very hard, I’ve spent many hours doing so and I still have no perfect answer, but unlike you, I’m not gonna give in to the temptation of handing over my responsibility for figuring out what is good behaviour to a fantastic infallible being.

      It’s brilliant of course, relieves me of a lot of stress. Just like instead of thinking my life is meaningless and I will soon perish I can choose to believe that instead of accepting the horror of no longer being I invent the perfect fantasy that instead of dying I will come to paradise, where I will be forever happy. It is brilliant because of the allure, but it’s just a delusion, it’s the ultimate wishful thinking.

      I think it’s better that we take full responsibility for everything we do because then there are no more excuses and we can work for a better place for all living beings, even though life is ultimately meaningless. But, as I often say, it is not the end that matters, it is the journey.

      • Joseph June 27, 2010 at 3:37 pm #

        actually it is precisely by these moral laws that we do exercise our gift of reason in wise and ethical ways for the betterment of society….in the world I speak of…faith and reason work together…..to dissociate one from the other does both gifts a grave disservice….it is by these moral laws that we are exhorted to take full responsibility for our actions….these moral laws I speak of exhort us to use our gifts wisely…this is because in the Bible it also tells us that God helps those who help themselves…..so we as Christians are hardly delusional….well some might be…..but as I said nobody is perfect….we just recognize a common sense notion that the natural morals that must necessarily constrain any society that calls itself free…the ones in this country are based largely on the 10 commandments after all….must have a source that exists outside of the world’s transient whims

        if as you say there is no reward for seeking to be a better person in this life….then where is our moral authority for seeking the fruits of our labor here on earth?…we labor and we earn money for our labor…..if we didn’t have that then what need would we have to work….know what that leads to?….a society that stagnates…..the force that impels us to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps and tells us the proper way of charity which is to help others do the same…pull themselves up by their own bootstraps that is…does not come from our own imperfect and transient whims…..it stems from the fact that though we are imperfect…the knowledge of the natural order of things is there on our hearts…and that’s what makes us the most unique amongst all of God’s creations…our capacity to reason and our potential to exercise this gift together with the faith that provides the fair and just morals by which this gift of reason should be exercised….if left to our own devices…..i.e., when we think we have the authority to dissociate faith from reason…you know what kind of society you’ll have……all you need to do is crack open a history book….then take a look at such people as Hitler, Stalin, and Mao…..they dissociated faith from reason by robbing the people of their first and greatest natural unalienable right….freedom of religion….so that they could install themselves as absolute ruler and giver of moral authority…..yeah……as humans were not perfect…so how can we as humans claim to be the true source of the constant and objective moral authority by which we form fair and just systems of laws….these moral precepts therefore must be sourced in a perfect object….not sourced in our own imperfect and transient whims….history shows us that when a society dissociates faith from reason…..that society will collapse form a state of moral clarity by which fair and just systems of laws were formed…..to a state of moral relativism….where right and wrong are held to be as imperfect transient as our own whims….causing the laws given to be absent any fairness as such laws will be based not on moral clarity which is constant but on our own whims…which are transient

    • enleuk June 28, 2010 at 10:43 pm #

      “how can we as humans claim to be the true source of the constant and objective moral authority by which we form fair and just systems of laws?”

      I don’t claim this, I said instead that there is no objective truth as to what is what and what is wrong. If you look at religious morals you will find that they too are transient and flawed. There are thousands of religious interpretations around our globe and they all say different things, they share the idea of a God but throughout cultures and history people have not been able to agree on the nature of God or God’s will. Some say even that it’s part of God’s will not to have a will, God does not give us moral laws, he is a passive creator.

      The people who wrote the religious texts were all imperfect humans and they decided what the laws of their culture should be on their own, based on the culture they already lived in. Like John Smith, the founder of the mormon church who went out in the forest, came back and said he had found a golden tablet with God’s words and read it from a hat while his friend wrote down everything he said. Then, when his friend hid the writings and let mr Smith recite the tablet from out of the hat once more to see if he was making it up or reading from an actual tablet, he couldn’t because of course he was making it all up. The same goes for all people who said they had heard the true voice of God. I mean, even statistically you can see that at most 1 one them is telling the truth and all the other interpretations (I think the denomination with the most followers is maybe Sunni Islam, which has a few hundred million followers, Christianity is by the way believed to have at least 3000 denominations, Hinduism has thousands of Gods and Buddhism includes both agnostics and atheists.) So, by saying that 1 of all the humans on earth actually spoke the word of God is to say that 99.99% of all humans on earth who have claimed to speak the word of God are wrong and to me that suggests that it is more likely that this is a globally prevalent human flaw, or desire, than actually true.

      So, to answer your question, all religious claim to be the source of the objective moral authority, which you and I both agree is pure folly because imperfect humans cannot make such a claim. However, atheists say that there is no objective moral authority so the problem is not atheism, but religion, who delusionally think a) that there is an objective moral authority and b) that their religion is the only one which knows what it is.

      “if as you say there is no reward for seeking to be a better person in this life….then where is our moral authority for seeking the fruits of our labor here on earth?…we labor and we earn money for our labor”

      This is a very selfish thought. You need a reward to be a good person. Very capitalist, not very altruistic. I have a better proposal. How about doing good for the sake of doing good? No rewards, just a choice. Because no matter how much you want God to be the judge, there is no judge, we are only responsible towards ourselves. We have, as both the present and history tells, on our own made laws and punishments for breaking the laws and if you can accept that, then you realize we have to change society ourselves, make it a better place ourselves, because there is no higher power we can rely on when society turns out as crappy as it has. You have to accept that the ultimate reality is itself transient. I’d recommend that you start by reading some more books on the topic of God, like books written by non-Christians, both religious and atheistic non-Christian authors.

      Also, you still havn’t answer my two questions. On the whole you seem to ignore everything I write and sticking to the same words you’ve been told by others instead of formulating your own philosophy. My questions were:
      1) When during evolution did God give the gift of reason and the soul to the animal homo sapiens sapiens which has been defined as having existed since 200,000 years ago or to any of the previous states of animal being going all the way back to the single-cell organims or maybe even before that?
      2) When during the development of the individual human is the gift of reason and the soul given to the individual? Where in between sperm/egg and adulthood does it happen or maybe even before meiosis?

      • enleuk July 1, 2010 at 1:48 pm #

        nobody got an answer for me?

  37. mysaviormygod June 25, 2010 at 11:19 am #

    Wow this is good! WEll done good and faithful servant!! your sister in Christ

  38. pink magic June 25, 2010 at 11:24 am #

    as tragic as this is, praying to any god or gods won’t fix anything; only global awareness and political pressure for social reform will

    • The Innocent June 25, 2010 at 6:25 pm #

      lol, I’d like to believe that was true….

  39. Christopher Beverly June 25, 2010 at 11:26 am #

    This is a horrible truth about our world. Even more sad is that this is how the majority of the nations on earth operate including the United States. Most nations don’t have such a common knowledge about this fact as India has. Prayer is an option but activism would do more to expose the truth and right these wrongs.

  40. echosofmymind June 25, 2010 at 11:45 am #

    This is very tough stuff. I think there are many good things in many of the world’s religions but this is obviously not one of them. Like the notion of karma, which I find insanely cruel (child sexual abuse is ‘punishment’ for past life behavior??!!)there are major problems with Hinduism. Thank you for such a detailed and informative post. Really good.

    Marie
    http://memoirsandhalftruths.wordpress.com/

    • Arjun Pandava June 25, 2010 at 5:49 pm #

      Where did you read that sexual abuse of children is punishment for bad deeds in past lives? Last I heard, it wasn’t Hindu priests who were molesting children..

      • The Innocent June 25, 2010 at 6:30 pm #

        🙂 No, not that kind of thing… but karma is the idea that anything bad–or good–that happens is the result of your own actions. I don’t believe in it. We live in a fallen world where bad things happen… And we are sinful people.

      • Joseph June 27, 2010 at 5:58 am #

        anyone who’s sick enough to molest children will do so regardless of their status….who’s to say Hindu priests don’t molest children..perhaps the Hindu priests are simply better at hiding their crimes

        and as I said before by quoting Matthew Kelly “the abuse of a good does not diminish the good of a good”….and again as I said before this applies to the good known as the Catholic priesthood….the abuse of the priesthood by certain rotten men does not diminish the good of the priesthood….it’s simply a testament to the imperfect and fallen nature of man

        oh yeah and whatever motivates people to molest children will not go away with marriage….married men can and have molested children as well…just ask my former bro-in-law who now languishes in federal prison for his involvement in child p0rn….and he’d been doing it while married to my sister….if a person is sick enough to devalue our greatest and most powerful gift as humans…..which is for man and woman to come together in committed love and give back to society from that love in the form of new life…then that person will devalue it regardless of his station in society

      • Arjun Pandava June 28, 2010 at 3:27 am #

        @ Joseph
        No, if a Hindu priest molests somebody it’s all over the news. How many of those cases have you seen on the news lately? Now compare that to the number of molestation scandals you’ve heard of.

        You just keep quoting the same two things.. well here’s what I think of that “abuse of a good does not diminish the good of a good” theory. Any single abuse of good doesn’t diminish the essential good, but if the good is being diminished everywhere you go then there is no positive essence. The defiling of the good eventually becomes the new good. Do you follow?

  41. srucara June 25, 2010 at 12:17 pm #

    It is quite a tragedy, thank you for sharing this post.

  42. Chase June 25, 2010 at 12:33 pm #

    Erika! The blog looks great.
    What an in depth look at the Caste System in India. I wish I had this much comprehensive knowledge before I went there in December. But you definitely learn a lot when you’re there. Touching the Untouchables was a very memorable moment.

    Are you looking to visit soon? I can’t wait to read more of your blog!
    By the way, I stumbled upon this blog when the WordPress.com homepage suggested it to me after visiting Safe Harbor’s blog. “Untouchable” (and the picture) caught my attention… couldn’t believe it took me to your blog! 🙂 How fun.

    Blessings!
    -Chase
    PS You might enjoy the Caedmon’s Call album, “Share the Well” much of it is written about India.

  43. alyssavarela June 25, 2010 at 12:44 pm #

    Wow, very eye opening–thank you for bringing attention to this need. I will be joining you in prayer for a people who so desperately are in need of God’s love and favor.

  44. danielle June 25, 2010 at 12:45 pm #

    Hello Erika,

    Your blog showed up on my wordpress log in page. I was excited to read about your work in India and with the children in Uganda (on the other side).

    We are working with a ministry working in the 10/40 and with human trafficking.

    It’s great to “meet” you!

  45. danielle June 25, 2010 at 12:46 pm #

    *other site, not side. Sorry!

  46. sulyeman June 25, 2010 at 12:49 pm #

    I was a haitian mulatto trick baby (literally the son of a prostitute) and I ended up doing great things with my life, which I don’t wish to brag about here. No one is worthless from birth, and from hindu friends of mine, I hear that the caste system is an embarassment to the Indian people today. A belief in rebirth means that we are all equally responsible for our own enlightenment or worthiness. Nobility defines birth, not birth defines nobility. This backwards social system is evidence that not all religions and dogmas are equally valid. There is a one true faith. But I don’t want to agitate anyone by telling you which one that is. I just want to say, I am a great man who came from humble origins, and I am sure there are others who can do the same, albeit few.

    • Arjun Pandava June 28, 2010 at 3:29 am #

      I think it’s quite obvious which one “true” faith you subscribe to.

  47. dephnevictorious June 25, 2010 at 1:47 pm #

    AMEN, this is heart-breaking thank you for sharing this knowledge. God bless u

  48. Jamie June 25, 2010 at 1:49 pm #

    “This system of evil must be crushed”

    -Typical American Arrogance.

    Praise the Lord!

  49. Arjun Pandava June 25, 2010 at 2:45 pm #

    In addition to the link I posted, I’d like to thank you for capitalizing the word “Hindu” and identifying it as a proper noun. /sarcasm/

  50. cornucopia June 25, 2010 at 2:49 pm #

    I agree, this system needs to be crushed. It is racism in India, only instead of race, discrimination is based on caste. Without education, we cannot even hope to eradicate this sickness in my country. I am brahmin by birth. Does it mean anything to me? Nope. In my generation, people are slowly getting out of the old fashioned way of thinking and they are beginning to question the “culture”.

    Your blog however wrongly suggests that brahmins are wealthy. This isn’t true. We are mostly middle class- lower to upper.

    The caste system prohibits marriage between different castes. This is true. It is slowly changing. We will get to a point when it will be completely abolished but we could be talking a 100 years from now.

    I was in India for 20 years (i was born and brought up there) and I have not heard of “untouchables”, and that’s saying something 🙂 On days of the festival however, my mother won’t even let me touch her if I have not had a bath. My grandmother won’t let the maid touch any idols we worship in the house. This sounds ridiculous, I agree but she is 80 years old now. What are you going to do ? give her a lesson on how to treat people ?

    Countries are always developing. I am sure in the country you come from, women didn’t have voting rights until n number of years back. India needs time. Its been a little over 50 years since our independence and the British left us very poor. We have a billion people to take care of.

    As for child labor, you can refuse the kid a job but in that case, the family will make no money and will not be able to support themselves. If education for kids is made compulsory, there is some hope for thing to change.

    I will tell you what is wrong with India. It is the corrupt politicians who keep the money to themselves. The politicians who even if a rich philanthropist comes to build a school for the poor will ask for a bribe. Oh well, we will have to wait and see what happens.

  51. Katryna June 25, 2010 at 2:50 pm #

    This is a very informative, well written post! That is absolutely fascinating, and terribly sad.

    Katryna

  52. livingwordcog June 25, 2010 at 3:02 pm #

    Beautifully written, as is the rest of your blog. Thanks so much for taking on this heartbreaking subject. We join our prayers with yours on their behalf.

  53. Emmalovely June 25, 2010 at 3:30 pm #

    those untouchables are Australian aborigines and are the indigenous people of India

  54. Arjun Pandava June 25, 2010 at 3:32 pm #

    I’m still waiting for you to approve that link I mentioned in my previous comment..

  55. asad123 June 25, 2010 at 5:12 pm #

    “Across India, many Christian communities still follow the caste system. Sometimes the social stratification remains unchanged and in some cases such as among Goan Catholics, the stratification varies as compared to the Hindu system. Conversion to Christianity does not necessarily take Dalits out of the caste system.”
    From the Wikipedia article on Dalits

    A Dalit should not expect that he or she can escape caste prejudice by converting to Christianity.

    • Arjun Pandava June 26, 2010 at 4:07 am #

      Thank you, but you forgot to mention the part where Indian Muslims also follow the caste system.

    • Joseph June 27, 2010 at 6:15 am #

      indeed not….simply converting does not automatically free one from slavery….but Christianity does show one the fair and just moral precepts by which all are equal in dignity before God who made us…….Christianity teaches that when one exercises authority the person exercising it must do so in Christ-like fashion….that is the only way Christian authority can be legitimate…..Christianity also teaches that illegitimate authority…..authority not being exercised by the light of the self-evident truths that Christ spoke plenty about….must be rejected…and if the just use of force is necessary to throw off the yoke of an aggressor or oppressor…..then it must be used while still keeping in mind that peace is the goal

      just war doctrine – http://www.catholic.com/library/Just_war_Doctrine_1.asp

      • Arjun Pandava June 27, 2010 at 3:29 pm #

        Well then, there is no known Christian authority that is legitimate.

      • Joseph June 27, 2010 at 4:37 pm #

        @ Arjun: Just because some Christian people, in their imperfection, sometimes fail in this endeavor of exercising authority in a loving and Christ-like manner doesn’t mean that the authority that they ought to be exercising is also illegitimate…as I have stated and will keep stating….”the abuse of a good does not diminish the good of a good”….so just because some people abuse authority does not diminish the good of the people in authority who exercise authority the way they ought to be exercising it

        Take the Holy Father for example…..he’s as imperfect as we are….he must go to confession same as all the other members of the Church…including all the rest of the clergy as well….yet we say that he is infallible…..which is not the same thing as saying he’s perfect…he’s not….it means that in the area of defining doctrine he is infallible because he is under the guidance of the Holy Spirit who assists him in defining doctrine that is given by the light of both sacred Scripture and sacred Tradition…..so he is infallible in matters of faith and doctrine because the source of this is not from him…..but from Christ…so there are examples of clergymen who exercise authority in Christ-like fashion

      • Arjun Pandava June 28, 2010 at 3:34 am #

        @ Joseph
        You can go take a look at my post above regarding your “diminishing of a good..” doctrine.

        The guy is elected! How can you claim that he’s guided by the Holy Spirit when HE (where are the femal Popes?) is voted into office? He has no more guidance from any spirit than Barack Obama does, I’ll leave it up to you to decide how much that is. The Pope might be well versed in scripture and doctrine, but his policies as Pope do not reflect those doctrine. That is where he fails, and that is why his authority is not legitimate.

      • Joseph June 28, 2010 at 11:32 am #

        The pope’s authority derives from Christ: “You are Peter, and upon this rock I shall build my Church”…..is what Christ said to Simon…..effectively establishing him as the first in a long and unbroken line of Popes

        as far as ordination goes…ordination is a sacrament, not an unalienable right…that’s point number one

        point number 2….what is a sacrament?…a sacrament is a sense-perceptible sign of God’s sacred Tradition in the Church….this applies to the sacrament of ordination thusly: men are the only ones who can validly answer the call to ordained life because the ordained life makes sense perceptible signs of Christ in the Church out of men….just as Christ was and is true Man….just because some men have abused that calling does not diminish the good of that calling…likewise women are the only ones who can validly answer the call to a consecrated life in the Church as sense perceptible signs of the Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary…and just because some women abuse that calling doesn’t diminish the good of that calling….these callings very much mirror the sacrament of matrimony….which calls men and women to a union meant to be a sense perceptible sign of Christ’s union with His Bride…the Holy Mother Church…and just because some couples (or part of the couple at least) abuse that calling doesn’t diminish the good of the call to participate in that sacrament

        but they mirror that sacrament cuz in ordination….when a man becomes a priest…a sense perceptible sign of Christ the priest….he is essentially choosing the Church as his bride….dedicating his entire being to God with that bride at his side….and likewise when a woman answers the call to be a sense perceptible sign of Mary in the Church….she accepts Christ as her bride….dedicating her life to God with that groom at her side….that is the true nature of ordination and consecration..and sadly many people have forgotten what sacraments are

        back to the Pope….that Scripture passage establishes the papal office as a sense-perceptible sign of Christ the Head Priest….and because Christ is God the Holy Spirit incarnate in flesh…that means the Pope’s authority is guided in Christ-like fashion by the Holy Spirit….and while there are some in the past that have abused the papal office….that in no way diminishes the good of the papal office…..and I repeat variations on that theme because it’s true…”the abuse of a good does not diminish the good of a good”….it’s just apparently not sinking in

        I’ve said all I can say on this subject…..in the end it is up to you to accept whether or not what I’ve been saying is true….you do have the God-given gift of free will after all…I can’t force yo to do anything….all I can do is open the door……it’s up to you to walk through it…..good day and I wish you all the best in your life.

      • Arjun Pandava June 30, 2010 at 4:52 pm #

        I don’t care where the Pope’s authority is derived from, even energy is lost to things like friction. It’s been a long 2000 years, I’d imagine a lot of the authority’s been lost.

        Well.. that was certainly educational. To everyone else that read it. At the end of the day, I still don’t see the Pope as having any divine guidance or authority. He’s still a man, and he’s still fallible.

  56. nikhilvinci June 25, 2010 at 6:05 pm #

    Hi erika

    I am an Indian and I would like to give my perspective about it.
    Yes Caste system is prevelant in many poor villages in India but the scenario is changing . I have volunteered in a few villages and can tell you that their thinking is changing.
    I think the problem is not of religion or caste but its is a bigger problem of illiteracy. Most of the people who live in poor parts of the country are illiterate and hence can be easily manupilated.

    I myself have been grown to not distinguish between any caste or religion. I am a Hindu but i have been to temples, Churches , Gurudwaras, Mosques, agiaries etc..
    This is mainly because my parents were literates and they understood the problem . Hence in my opinion, if the literacy of indian villages can be increased , this problem will be solved automatically.

    I also want to comment that i dont like the religious propoganda being pursued out here in the comments , stating this religion or that religion is the best . I think this propoganda is as bad as the caste system you have mentioned above.
    I hope people see the real India , the developing India and not just in IT , and not again try to create divides among us .

    • dolfinn June 26, 2010 at 7:02 am #

      Illiteracy, absolutely right.I have tried and failed to find one person who discriminated on grounds of the caste system.So it amuses me to find people give undue attention to the caste system whereas there are many more important issues that still lie unnoticed.

    • soratothamax June 27, 2010 at 1:31 am #

      I agree. In my opinion, all religions have shown to have hypocrisy and to be unfair. The Christian religion has burned and stoned a great many people for trying to understand the Bible more. The Catholic religion is known for it’s hypocrisy. The Protestant religion has killed many people in bloodshed not only in wars, but also in the Puritan era just for “thinking” they were witches (the Crucible). When the Christians were a part of state, they killed anyone who defied them because they wanted to keep their power. The Christian religion has also enslaved Africans who were a different religion, and embraced the idea slavery to keep their money, saying it was a “blessing” from God. They have also wiped out a whole nation of Native Americans, beat and killed them, and made them conform to one belief. It is not as “Universal” as they would have you believe. The Muslim religion has had a history of violence and intolerance. Jews were known to be murderers of Jesus just so they could keep their power.

      Being stuck and one’s ways and not wanting to change and question the ideas of the time and one’s own beliefs is a problem. Illiteracy is a major problem. To state what is evil and what is not in this world is hard because I believe there is good and evil in everyone and everything.

      • palabrapuddlegum June 27, 2010 at 7:38 am #

        Good points, but I just want to point out one little thing: “The Crucible” is an Arthur Miller play written during the McCarthy era in order to condemn the anti-communist hearings and paranoia of the day as a modern “witch hunt,” the idea being that the anti-communist hearings were as absurd and unfounded as the witch hunts of old. So, while the Salem Witch Trials were actual historical events, “The Crucible” is probably not the best reference text. 🙂

    • Joseph June 27, 2010 at 6:19 am #

      you’ve explained one of the most popular cliches nicely….”those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”…..and so that is usually the first step of a self-styled dictator of an authoritarian regime…..first prevent the people from learning altogether…..as a result knowledge of the history of authoritarian regimes will become suppressed…….creating a vicious cycle…..we can be thankful that the knowledge of the self-evident truths by which all humans yearn for liberty is not easily suppressed…as this knowledge is not found in any book…but from within our very essence as human beings

  57. The Innocent June 25, 2010 at 6:42 pm #

    Hey Erika! I don’t like the caste system or how certain people are treated, but because you are going there, remember that God works things for the good. Even suffering. The Dalits are coming to God. It’s beautiful.

  58. nmontague June 25, 2010 at 7:03 pm #

    You’re prayers will be answered. These people will know the Lord.

  59. Lex June 25, 2010 at 7:55 pm #

    We studied this back at my freshman year as part of our Social Studies lesson. It’s painful to be branded. To think that it’s accepted since God knows when.. it prevents me from thinking straight!

  60. Shailesh June 25, 2010 at 7:55 pm #

    Hi,
    Thanks for this post. Really very informative. I know this caste based system in India as I from India. You have given good statistics but this is not the only thing, there are many things still undiscovered and not in the knowledge of media. I think you should read some book written by great man Dr. B.R.Ambedkar, that is “Who were the shudras, Castes In India, Philosophy of Hinduism’

    • Arjun Pandava June 27, 2010 at 2:53 am #

      Ambedkar is useless, the only good thing I can credit him with is his criticism of the Indian National Congress.

  61. Kerri June 25, 2010 at 8:54 pm #

    This was very well written. I was moved reading about it and I’ll be in prayer for these beautiful people.

  62. Jagadesh June 25, 2010 at 9:20 pm #

    @ Erika and followers:

    Thank u for the concern u guys have for my country.

    We are trying as a society as the best we can do.For a country as large as it is it takes time.
    Since Independence my country has changed a lot.the last ten years has seen quite a difference.
    BTW you are quoting vedas which is approx 2000 years old.

    Before u guys say it is the heart gripping thing,
    Remind yourself;

    u guys should think about how u treated black people
    ask nelson mandela he will tell abt it!

    you treated fellow christians badly!

    I know why u missionaries should write about other religion.

    I have seen the way you people targeting my people
    to convert into christianity.

    No Christianity is not the solution to Untouchability!
    You mean to say that where christians live in india they do not practice untouchability
    Seriously Wrong!
    Come Down to India, I will show u myself.

    U guys Should Have cared when u ruled India!

    We Know how u spread your religion by targeting these people and convincing them
    “all will be well,If u embrace Christianity”

    If u really care about these people there are many ways u can help them.
    Don’t do business with religion.

    Do you in India every 10 – 15 km you have a christian school.Give them free education.
    Atleast a discount!

    That is the way missionaries are supposed to work.

    I know some people in my native who converted to christianity,When asked they told the reason:
    “They give 20kg rice, Rs.400 per month if u attend sunday mass”

    This is not the way to spread religion.

    Any society is not perfect.You have your share of problems.
    We accept the fact and we are evolving.
    I am really proud the level we are achieving as a nation.

    Erika you should speak about Jesus in Palestine and in Isarael.

    I have lived as christian and hindu at the same time.You Missionaries have spoiled the very essence of Chiristianity.

    So please try your best to help them improve their life
    not convert their life with your money.

    Or else Get out of my Country.

    • Arjun Pandava June 26, 2010 at 5:10 am #

      Very good reply Jagadesh, of course they will all ignore it 😦

      • estherdali June 26, 2010 at 6:33 am #

        This has been a good read.

        As I have seen it missionaries have ruined too many of the beautiful cultures of this world from South America, North America, to Asia to India to Australia and beyond. As for the caste system, there are no easy answers, like being ‘saved’…it just isn’t that easy…

        Your posts have been excellent not to mention truthful, as has been Jagadesh’s here. I will leave it at that, you guys covered it well. Good representation and perspective…thanks.

      • Rajeev June 26, 2010 at 10:21 am #

        Agree completely.

    • Joseph June 27, 2010 at 6:40 am #

      “you will know them by their fruits”

      unfortunately there are people who claim that they are Christian whose fruits are rotten indeed…..and as a result have spoiled the entire basket of Christianity

      but please remember that not all Christians are your enemy…there are good and kind and loving Christians who seek to show Christ to people lovingly and peacefully

      as I have been saying in my commentary…or more precisely what Matthew Kelly has been saying “the abuse of a good does not diminish the good of a good”….so those who abuse Christianity are not the same as those who truly embrace it…..their abuse does not diminish the good of Christianity and those who truly live by Christianity’s moral precepts

      for example I sometimes wish I had Bill Gates’s money….with his money I could help the whole world pull itself up by its own bootstraps and become truly independent….but I don’t…so all I can do is hope one day to change at the very least my little corner of it….as far as international aid…I would..and will…..help if i can but with the economy the way it’s been lately that’s not a very likely prospect

      for another example…in my neck of the woods we teach against abortion as all Catholics do….but becaue we do….here in my area we have something called the St. Gianna Molla pregnancy outreach center…which helps single and/or out-of-wedlock mothers with basic pre- and post-natal needs…esp. in the area of baby supplies…..as an alternative to seeking out abortion

      Msgr. Thomas Maloney……the pastor at my parish…..gave a homily today that really resonated….he said that we tend to look at freedom as “freedom FROM something”…when in fact true freedom is freedom FOR something…..which means this….that because we as human beings are imperfect…we must necessarily be constrained by a law that is….the natural law written upon every human heart…it is by this law that those who lead humanity’s many and diverse societies should govern….meaning that every law that the government makes should have the moral precepts inherent in the natural order as its basis…..this necessary constraint gives us freedom FROM tyranny…..and so therefore it gives us the true freedom to live, work, etc. not as we will but as we ought to live as human beings…..by rejecting our darker impulses

    • Nagaraj September 5, 2010 at 3:05 am #

      Well Said, I appreciate it. In all religions people have illness, problems and death, but the Missionaries over-ride this and make all false promises to convert them to Christians, As you well said, there are multiple groups, many principles and different opinions among Christians, they must solve it first, before they try to convert others.

  63. Kelly Randall June 25, 2010 at 10:05 pm #

    Erika , great article, have you read the book A Fine Balance. It is set in India in the 70’s. It is a very moving book.

  64. Charles June 25, 2010 at 10:05 pm #

    The caste based system of soceity had been followd in India for more than 5000 years.

    This system was maninly configured with people doing particular work live as a seaparate soceity.

    The traders, the carpenters, the farmers, the weavers, the shepherds, The iron smiths, the gold smiths, the soldiers…. people belongs to the same profession, started living together and have the marriage relation ships within themselves.

    The father taught his work to his son. The employment had always been an important factor in earlier soceity, thus the father ensured that his son got a job.

    At the same time, its higly regrettable that in the porocess some castes were made untouchables for thousands of years.

    Now the Scenerio is changing rapidly.

    The so called untouchables became the rulesrs of the land.

    In the Indian Cities and towns nobody even remember the “untochability” system, all the people mingke together, live together. But in the villages, the casye system is stll active, but steadily declining.

    The people belonging to the Untouchable soceities have become President of India, Cheif Justice of India!

    They have an important say in the politics of India.

    The caste difference within the people in India is grumbling on its own!

    We wish the new India, all its people, all the best and all Success!

    • Joseph June 27, 2010 at 6:43 am #

      I concur….despite the many debates we’ve all been having….I do truly wish India all the best in abolishing the caste system so that all Indians can be treated as equal in dignity and therefore just as deserving of the same civil liberties given by the light of the self-evident truths that formed documents like our Declaration of Independence

  65. tolotra June 25, 2010 at 10:07 pm #

    I read about outcast first in a book by a Frenchman who experienced himself the life of
    “untouchable” by living and becomimg like one of them. http://www.amazon.com/Dans-Peau-dUN-Intouchable-French/dp/202024652X

    The book was published in 1991 and I thought that things have evolved since then but clearly it’s not the case.I’m now studying in India, Hyderabad precisely, with a first impression of a double-speed development where behind the IT boom and other capitalistic achievements lie more dramatic setting.

  66. Charles June 25, 2010 at 10:34 pm #

    Its is also an important point to note that , the caste system is developed by the Indian Soceity, not by Hinduism. For more than 8 centureis India wan a predominantly Buddist, Jainist country, the Hinduism took a back seat. But the caste system was still active.

    Even among the Christians of India, the caste system is very much active. The high caste Christians are as eqully ruthless to a Low caste christian even today.

    I wonder, why the Christainaity had been pushed to the Indian Soceity.

    The Indian Soceity, though still have caste system, its a family based Soceity.

    Out of the 1000 couples got married only 13 are getting divirced.

    Most of the man live with his first and only wife till his death.

    Now the western civilisation has become a total failiure in keeping the family based soceity .

    Thus the western civilisation has failed to uphold the Principles of Jesus Christ.

    I only wish this teams may mot be succesful in changing the India, and the Indian people from the good and faithful family system, which they have been following for more than 5000 years, which is still tact.

    Jesus Christ told “These people move around the earth and sea to convert the people into their religion, after they get converted , they make them as more sinners”.

    I request Mr. Erika earl to learn the family system from Indian soceity and teach it to the western people.

    I PRAY THAT THOSE WESTERNERS WHO GOT INTO THE PROMISCIOUS DATING CULTURE WOULD COME BACK TO THE FAMILY CULTURE

    • dolfinn June 26, 2010 at 6:20 am #

      Religions don’t cause conflict, people do, for their own selfish reasons.And they are successful in causing conflicts because of the mob-tendency, one person does it, everyone follows.God help humanity.Save it from itself.Amen/Svaha/Ameen.

  67. Songbird June 25, 2010 at 10:36 pm #

    I know the system is rooted in deep religious and also social beliefs, but as a westerner it is quite difficult to fathom that today, in 2010 it is still so prevalent.

  68. Khawla June 25, 2010 at 10:49 pm #

    This is so sad and I hope it changes. I think such a system in India is not only linked to Hinduism. It is something like culture. This unjust system reminds me of prejudice against color. I noticed in every society there is a type of prejudice. I do not think it is linked to religion.

    • Joseph June 27, 2010 at 6:54 am #

      it’s not….it’s linked largely to our fallen nature….we are imperfect…we will make mistakes…..what matters is whether we as humans learn from our mistakes and move on or choose instead to keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again

  69. Mohit June 26, 2010 at 1:05 am #

    I like the concept you discussed in your article , But if you study constitution of india the so called ‘The Untouchables’ had given reservation in jobs and education and these freaks taking bad use of this subsidy of government.

    Every religion has loose holes in thm whether its Christianity or Hinduism so you can’t compare on same grounds.

  70. mach3 June 26, 2010 at 1:07 am #

    I think the ‘Shudras’ and the Untouchables are one and the same. You should check out an NGO by the name of PUKAR. They do good work aimed at the upbringing of marginalised youth.

  71. Mahfooz Hasan June 26, 2010 at 1:24 am #

    Great article. It is absolutely shocking that this exists in such a degree even in the 21th century. As long as corruption exists these types of scenes will also exist. What makes it worse is that very little is done to increase the awareness and fight this atrocious acts.

  72. Indra June 26, 2010 at 1:28 am #

    As an Indian I do appreciate your concern for the untouchables and the downtrodden. But have you ever thought about the poor in the US or any where else in the world…..the people who sleep on pavements,curled up in rags and blankets to ward off the cold. It is not a pleasant site to walk in downtown San Francisco or New York and save yourself from falling over a human log. Let each country tackle its own problems then, maybe, the problems will get solved

    • erikaearl June 26, 2010 at 10:20 am #

      Indra, thanks for reading my blog and leaving a comment! Yes, I have thought about those that suffer in my country, and I have spent nights in places like Skid Row (in Los Angeles) offering warm coffee and breakfast to the homeless. It’s so true that every country has countless problems of its own, but I have to disagree with your opinion on each country tackling its own problems. No man is an island, and no country is either. Cultures and nations do not exist in a vacuum, but rather in a global context. Each country isolating itself is not the answer. God bless you.

      • Rajeev June 26, 2010 at 10:43 am #

        Hi Erika,
        There are many sayings supporting Indra, Clean your house first, before you comment about the street, Dont throw stones at others if you live in a glass house.. and what not.
        I appreciate your concern, sympathy for the downtrodden of India but because of your post, you are maligning a Nation.
        If you are coming and wish to work for these people in India, with the views expressed by the faithful here, how will you be successful in uplifting them? Changing their religion or Praying for them alone will not do the trick, (may be it will raise money for your charity, but) will not address the route causes.

      • Joseph June 27, 2010 at 7:00 am #

        we aren’t saying we shouldn’t be concerned….everywhere oppession and poverty exist gives every human with a heart pause for concern…..but we must also keep in mind another popular quote of Christ “before removing the splinter from your brother’s eye first remove the beam from your own”…..now when He said it he was speaking on the issue of hypocrisy……but it could be easily applied to the concept of ensuring the basic needs of your own people are seen to first before helping another society see to its own basic needs….the sad fact of the matter is we’d all like to help everyone….but at the same time our resources, both fiscal and natural, are not infinite….so that means we must use what little there is for our own basic needs first and then if there is any leftover then use it to help others.

      • Trip June 27, 2010 at 3:56 pm #

        Erika,

        Caste system may be indegenous problem of India but let us not forget where ever the white man landed the trouble began. The problems in the African continent and Latin America are not just colonization related but are missionary created. May be its time the white man/gal fixes her home 🙂 before she does anymore of mud slingging.

        By the way good Freshman level essay. Lacks well supported reasoning. No mention of source of data and no mention of current status of the caste problem. Are Indians doing nothing about it???

        The vedas you are talking about even the higher caste Hindus have not read forget the Dalits. Oral traditions passed down for thousands of years do not even matter until colonial bosses tried to divide the Indian masses for its own adminstrative ease.

        Wish you good luck on your trip to India. Avoid street food and tap water you’ll be fine just spare the sould of Indian 🙂 .

  73. Madhav June 26, 2010 at 1:52 am #

    Heart Touching post on People called untouchable !!

    Awesome

    • Rajeev June 26, 2010 at 11:55 am #

      I do not think you have read it fully.

  74. L June 26, 2010 at 2:39 am #

    Erika,
    Your post was a feature on wordpress.com’s page. Are you still a missionary in India? If not, do you plan to return? Please get back to me, as the Lord has you on my heart.

    Lauren
    soulreaching.wordpress.com

  75. Luke June 26, 2010 at 3:08 am #

    Well said and written. Thanks for this.

  76. framez June 26, 2010 at 3:22 am #

    i am from india, here the things are changing….you can find it in our politics, literature, art …..

    but what about the discrimation in black and white in US soil.
    ….why gandiji was thrown out of the train in South Africa.

  77. Madhav / Harshad June 26, 2010 at 3:29 am #

    Superb Post !!

  78. globalgirlbkk June 26, 2010 at 4:08 am #

    Great post! I appreciate the research you did and the facts you shared. It truly is amazing to see how others live in the world. I am an American who lived 12 years of my life in Thailand. My parents worked with CMA and I saw a lot of poverty and despair. So, I really appreciate you bringing to light these very important issues.

  79. sharma24 June 26, 2010 at 4:09 am #

    There is nothing to condone this wretched caste system. Things are changing in India though and those from the lower castes are doing well for themselves. The irony is that the Evangelical Christians see in this an opportunity. They forget that Indian Christians are as much a part of the caste system and are unable to shrug off their caste even when they cross over to Christianity. Dalit Christians have separate Churches and the Syrian Christians do not allow them into their own Churches. So lets not talk down….

  80. Logos Amicus June 26, 2010 at 4:17 am #

    “I can’t even imagine how the Lord must weep over this daily.”

    It’s impossible to imagine because He must do nothing.
    And apparently does nothing to help these people.

  81. Logos Amicus June 26, 2010 at 4:19 am #

    I can’t even imagine how the Lord must weep over this daily.

    It’s impossible to imagine because He must do nothing.
    And apparently does nothing to help these people.

  82. louisianefille June 26, 2010 at 4:22 am #

    Very informative. Thank you for sharing this. I knew about the caste system, but no details. I learned something from this that I didn’t know.

  83. Yummy4Tummy June 26, 2010 at 5:47 am #

    Nice Post Erika, but it is partially true what you have mentioned. At present lot of Higher caste people are suffering more than lower caste people becuase of Reservations in India which has been applied by the Indian Politicians for their own safety.

  84. Gloriadelia June 26, 2010 at 6:12 am #

    Moving photographs. Looking forward to spending more time on your blog. May God bless your efforts on His behalf in India, and on this blog. Gloris

  85. dolfinn June 26, 2010 at 6:16 am #

    I always read/hear about how the backward classes are treated here in India.Fortunately, I am yet to witness it and wish I never have to.I guess it happens in the rural areas mostly.Just so stupid.How can someone define, predetermine who is to be treated how because of what class they belong to?

  86. Joe June 26, 2010 at 6:33 am #

    Outstanding post. Thank you for taking time to write such an informative piece. Paz…
    http://cristocentro.net

  87. christinaaddie June 26, 2010 at 7:42 am #

    Hey! I am a fellow YWAMer and recently returned from Nepal with a different organization. I really loved how you explained the caste system- you did it brilliantly! THanks for your work… I am adding your blog to my blog roll… http://www.christinaaddie.wordpress.com

  88. christianitythetruths June 26, 2010 at 7:45 am #

    what we found is that the people in the western countries who had all along been following the Christianism for more than 1000 years, has finlly landed in the promiscous adultration,

    filing for divorce is as common as booking a flight ticket,

    family system is thrown away,

    is this the Jesus Christ expected his followers to live ?

    Now if an evangalist came to meet the Jesus Christ what shall he say to Jesus?

    “My Lord, we can not win back the western soceity into adultartion free faithful family life. But we are Successful in converting those who are already leading a family life. We hope that atleast for the next two to three generations, they would continue to lead the family way of living…”,

    http://christianitythetruths.wordpress.com/2010/06/26/do-the-christian-missionaries-work-against-jesus-christ/

    • Khawla June 27, 2010 at 2:20 am #

      You are right! Why not missionaries focus their activities in the West?

      • Arjun Pandava June 27, 2010 at 3:35 pm #

        Because being a missionary is no longer about preaching the word of Jesus. Being a missionary is now about gaining converts for Christ. Whereas followers of Jesus would throng to parts of the world wherever help is needed, followers of Christ only want converts.

  89. sandyvanasch June 26, 2010 at 8:07 am #

    Erika
    Thanks for the informative article on India and Indian culture.

    I am a supporter of Gospel for Asia, because they also reach out with nationals who bring the gospel to India. Gospel for Aisa also have a Bible College there.

    Have you ever heard of them?

    I will watch your progress as you prepare to go with YWAM to India.

    God Bless,
    Sandra Van Asch

  90. Hona Amer June 26, 2010 at 8:13 am #

    Hello Ericka! I just stumbled upon your blog 🙂 I love to see your heart for those who are in need. God Bless!

  91. Sekhar Vemula June 26, 2010 at 9:13 am #

    This article is misleading and mischievous with an agenda of missionary conversions in India. Caste System is a social evil, not a religious evil, just as racism exist in the West. No where this is apparent from those who were converted from Hinduism to Christianity in India who still follow after 5 generations and the church perpetuates it based on the fact that only a fraction of Pastors of Church coming from Dalit Community. Hindu scriptures affirm the division based on mental aptitude of person and that is not by birth. With the power money and organization Missionaries are controlling media and magnify any atrocities against Dalits. That is why Mahatma Gandhi called them deadliest poison. (Read about what Mahatma Gandhi has to say at http://hinduhumanrightswatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=35&Itemid=28). Missionaries better pay attention to the Islamization of the West that is fast losing control and will dry up their source of revenue than spending energies in conversions in Asia.

    • mindingthephysical June 26, 2010 at 1:44 pm #

      Thank you for your post. I believe this blogger is being deliberately disingenuous at best. She singles out Hinduism as the cause of this inequity, in the same way as Evangelical Christians single out the Catholic church in the United States, especially in minority/economically disadvantaged communities where Catholicism predominates. With a little literature for their insiders and true believers, as Ericka appears to be, they do this because these religions represent their biggest “competition,” very much as cynically as in any marketing scheme. I find it disgusting, especially given the brutality that a Christian nation, Britain, imposed on India. I also am not discounting that Ericka is motivated by pure love despite her obvious religious bias, but she is in the end pushing the agenda of a very desperate, very bigoted group of Christians.

      • mindingthephysical June 26, 2010 at 1:48 pm #

        Edit: I meant to say “with a little research of their literature” up above. Anyway, last word: What actually help me see Christ/Jesus in a positive light was leaving Christianity altogether. I took refuge in/coverted to Buddhsim, and it helped me to see that while my heart was against all odds yearning to follow the teachings and example of Buddha, that Jesus was at the very least a Bhodisattva, and that Jesus did not deserve the denigration of his name and heritage by the warped thing that so many Christians made of it — the dogmatic, sexism, homophobia, justification of slavery and segregation in the American south, the list goes on and on. Namaste & Namu Myoho Renge Kyo 🙂

    • Flo June 26, 2010 at 2:20 pm #

      Sekhar Vemula,

      I was born, raised, and religiously taught in this country and yet I was thinking this very same thing.

      “Missionaries better pay attention to the Islamization of the West that is fast losing control and will dry up their source of revenue than spending energies in conversions in Asia.”

      I hope the “missionaries” in this country “see the light” before it’s too late.

  92. ba June 26, 2010 at 9:17 am #

    Reading “Dreams from my father” by President Obama tells me about the racism against blacks in the US and the treatment of the kenyans at the hands of the european colonizers. We definitely need to work on erasing discrimination worldwide.

    Good luck.

    • Arjun Pandava June 27, 2010 at 3:00 am #

      Instead of policing the world, why not start at home first? The US was once a isolationist nation, that was when industry and capitalism was at it’s peak. As the 20th century progressed, the US began to poke into international affairs more and more. That is also when government regulation started. The two may be unrelated, but it’s just an observation..

      • Joseph June 27, 2010 at 7:10 am #

        I think that the true sovereignty of a nation is neither 100% isolationist nor is it 100% global….I think the goal of every nation is to be an independent nation yet one that will do everything in its power to help another nation in distress………so I think it’s a combination of factors largely owing to the wholesale rejection of the self-evident truths which provide the foundation for liberty…..espoused in both the Declaration and the Constitution….this is because anybody knows that the best way to bring down a house is to strike at its foundation….and this is what liberals are doing in our country….unfortunately with an alarming degree of success

      • Arjun Pandava June 27, 2010 at 3:38 pm #

        @ Joseph
        Nothing is 100%, if that were possible then human perfection would also be possible. But that would probably be blasphemy according to you..

        At last! Something we agree on! I agree that liberals are going a bit too far when it comes to religious “tolerance.”

  93. nigne June 26, 2010 at 9:45 am #

    thans for great sharing

  94. mantraroy June 26, 2010 at 10:52 am #

    Hello everyone,

    It’s good to know that people are concerned about social ills beyond their national scopes. It’s also good to recognize that social ills assume different faces in different societies. But it’s probably instructive to acknowledge that inequality and injustice in the name of religion is reprehensible anywhere and everywhere.
    Just as Hinduism is brought into the spotlight for endorsing the caste system, similarly the Bible was used to justify slavery in America. Should we blame the religions or the practitioners? The Gita specifies the origin of the caste system. Those interested may want to look into it. Several ancient Indian texts critique the logic of the caste system (as Amartya Sen demonstrates in The Argumentative Indian, another book I suggest because it’s written by one of the best Indian scholars).

    I recently researched the caste system in India and race in USA for my PhD work, and I found that the logic behind the caste system and the race structure in USA work very similarly though not exactly as carbon copies. But the resultant crises of identity, discrimination, and inequality are astoundingly similar.

    What can be done to alleviate inequality and injustice should ideally be our shared concern instead of giving in to the temptation of comparing one society with another or getting into a blame-game. The fact that all of us are responding to Erika’ s sensitive post perhaps points to our concern for the dispossessed.

    Peace. Shanti.

  95. bradshimomura June 26, 2010 at 11:11 am #

    Thanks for sharing… This is an unspeakable autrocity! We are called to speak on behalf of those who have no voice of their own. Keep it up!

  96. Oliver June 26, 2010 at 11:11 am #

    I thought I would spend my Saturday morning blogging about all things useless and useful,but I stumbled upon your post and now I feel a sense and desire to do something about this atrocity called the caste system.

    I can not believe that this day and age we are still faced with these primitive believe systems that have done nothing but harm the very fabric of human living.

    Great post….

  97. solitudeinbliss June 26, 2010 at 11:23 am #

    Hi,
    This is the 134th comment. So, i don’t think many people are going to have a glance on it. But, still i would like to say, that the problem you discussed here had engrossed India for all the past. But now, there are lots of measures government has taken. I live in India and in the past 21 years of my life. I’ve been to most of the parts of it. For an outsider, yes it looks like a big thing. But now a days, the situation is lot better than what u’ve said here.

  98. Evie Garone June 26, 2010 at 11:38 am #

    When will people learn that we are all created EQUAL!! No one is better than another. So sad!! Let’s keep religion out though. I will keep positive thoughts for all people, especially for oppressed people everywhere!

    evelyngarone.wordpress.com

    • Trip June 27, 2010 at 4:04 pm #

      Evie Garone,

      People will learn all are created EQUAL when women will start making a dollor for every dollar a man earns not just $ 0.70. 🙂

  99. Sanchari June 26, 2010 at 12:30 pm #

    You make it sound like all Hindus believe in the caste system. Like any other religion, the caste system is a part of Hinduism. I agree that there are people who still believe and support this system (whether overtly/covertly), but there are many fighting to remove prejudice and discrimination against this marginalized group of people. An example would be Dr. Arun Mukherjee who translates Dalit literature from Hindi to English (“Joothan” and “Hindu”) in a bid to make it available to the general public who are unaware of such existing conditions. She also always has one dalit book as part of her English courses at York University, Toronto.

    Also, religion isn’t the answer to getting rid of such a system. I applaud you for posting this in order to bring attention to issues connected with it. However, I feel compelled to point out that its the attitude of people that must be changed instead of religious faith. Education and awareness is the answer, which your blog post brings about, to an extent.

  100. Linda June 26, 2010 at 12:42 pm #

    I don’t understand how anyone could ever live with theirselves in treating another human like that. You gave us a very good description of the caste system and what the lowest endure. After all of these years and its still going on! Even if I were not a Christian I still would not be able to understand how someone could ever do this to another human being. I am wondering how easily do the Dalits come to Christ? I have heard that it is very difficult for Indians to do so. That they might say they have but still keep many of their old ways also. How is it possible for a civilization to never progress beyond this?

    • Arjun Pandava June 30, 2010 at 5:06 pm #

      I don’t understand how anyone could live with the constant threat of being lured to hell by the devil. I also don’t understand how women were burned at the stake for being “witches.”

      How daft do you have to be to ask a question like that? People will go to Jesus when they feel like he is their answer. They won’t go because someone offered them money and told them to. I heard that it was very difficult for the Visigoths and Franks to accept Christ too..

  101. Logos Amicus June 26, 2010 at 12:59 pm #

    Justice is a human value. It does not exist in natural world. Nor equality. India’s cast system is just trying to organize this phenomenon, and – as a reult – is making it more profound.
    One should demand more from civilized culture.

    PS. Moving photopraphs, indeed.

    • funstuffindia June 27, 2010 at 5:44 am #

      This is not such a huge problem in todays India and surely we cant blame hinduism for all this .. coz every religion has got its backlogs but that would be inappropriate if we say that christianity is the only solution . Plz dont waste ur energies and your time like that. I dont believe in christianity but Jesus wont be happy with these silly tricks for converting people. HAVE SOME DIGNITY !!!

  102. Flo June 26, 2010 at 1:22 pm #

    Stumbled upon your blog quite by accident and was truly saddened when reading about the cast system in India.

    As caring humans we could bring this kind of thing to an end before too long. We need only insist on doing business strictly with “Shudras” and “Untouchables”. At least until the entire Indian cast system is broken down legally and in practice.

    If God truly was God and cared about these people and others like them, he could change all this in the blink of an eye. Right??

  103. codycrowder June 26, 2010 at 1:42 pm #

    I love how the caste system plays a huge role in their religion. I guess living there, or even studying Hinduism would help me to better understand this whole system; forgive me if I sound naive in anyway. But, as most of you know after European expansion into India, the country was never the same. Many things changed, including the caste. Many nationalist parties we’re made during the time of European colonialism to ensure the safety of their culture as well as their people. When they gained their independence a declaration was made, and many changes to their country had to do with weakening the caste, and it has. Although, many traditional Hinduists still follow their ancestral traditions, I feel that the caste system is unjust and simply not moral or not in focus with the rest of the world. Say you are born a Brahmin, you have all these expectations, freedoms, and glamour that the lower classes don’t have. Now, with knowing the true capability of human defiance and distrust; as an American I used to believe these Brahmin’s did no bad deeds. Clearly, human’s are the major inhabitants of this world, the apple doesn’t fall to far from the tree. Money, greed, ego gets to many people, and Hindu’s aren’t an exception. The Caste prove’s nothing, their’s no solid proof of anything. There isn’t even a founder for Hinduism, honestly, can you prove that we reincarnate? If so, can you prove your deeds on this Earth earned you your rightful place in a society?.. I don’t think so, that’s a long stretch from religion. I have faith, but looking from an obvious ethnocentric point of view, I just feel like the early rulers of India tied government and religion together, made a little fairy tale about reincarnation to create an orderly society, end of story.

    Just an opinion though, I don’t see myself better, or worse.

    • Arjun Pandava June 30, 2010 at 5:08 pm #

      I’m sorry, I just can’t take you seriously if you’re going to call the followers of Sanatan Dharma “Hinduists.”

  104. codycrowder June 26, 2010 at 1:48 pm #

    Oh, and I am a Christian, but in no way would I perform in such missionaries. I am entitled to an opinion, not change a countries religion..

  105. rohitmaiya June 26, 2010 at 3:29 pm #

    You have been selective in approving the posts. People should read everyone’s point of view for a free and fair debate.

    • rajeevelkunchwar June 27, 2010 at 10:04 am #

      Agree.

  106. alemfronteiras June 26, 2010 at 3:39 pm #

    This story parallels the experience of “African-Americans” and possibly many other instances of racial and ethnic discrimination. In the history of the African experience in America, there were such things as the civil rights movements and other demonstrations that fought for their civil liberties. I think the Untouchables are in dire need of representation on the political front, they need to organise and show the rest of India that they are also humans entitled to the same rights and privileges as higher caste Indians.

  107. Chirag Deshpande June 26, 2010 at 3:57 pm #

    nice.

  108. newsicare June 26, 2010 at 6:49 pm #

    Thanks EriKa, this is a great article elaborating the social injustice of India. This is very inspiring for a big country like India still having such 5 castes.

    The question is how such caste structure impact the Indian’s past and future. Do they want to change? or do they want to keep silent and continue…

  109. matheikal June 26, 2010 at 7:52 pm #

    Yeah, India has its religion-based caste system which keeps a large number of people poor and oppressed. But what about the West-created system known as Globalisation which creates larger numbers of poor and oppressed people in the name of economic policies?

  110. bilalamjad2 June 26, 2010 at 8:27 pm #

    sexy girl

    • boo July 6, 2010 at 1:08 am #

      haha, awesome.

      let’s come to the real point people – the author of this blog is a ‘sexy girl’. Lol.

  111. Prem June 26, 2010 at 9:15 pm #

    Isn’t this a hardcore ‘Christian’ post? Aren’t you saying that blessings of ‘Lord Jesus’ let them open their eyes? I’m born in a Hindu family in Southern India but brought up in a Moslem Country with a lot anglo-indian Christian friends around in my school residence. No wonder i turned out to be an atheist, because even my personal research finalised that blood is not divine made. Coming back to this subject of ‘untouchables’, these people are suffering for sure from a major deal of problems like poverty. Untouchability existed in very bad forms some seventy years ago, where these low-caste people had to stand hiding themselves when the high-caste people passes by. Touching them was considered dirty at the times of kingdoms. Now it’s 2010, the Indian Government has brought a lot financial and development plans (though not fully implemented because of corruption) for these backward castes like Dalits who were considered as untouchables in the past time. Generation by generation, poverty is something adopted by them and the education their children deserve is not being achieved because of some reasons (ie, Money-eating politicians, less-budget, high population… What exists now in the community is a desperate partiality based on the difference of their low-level lifestyle, lack of education, and poverty from the higher communities. Inter caste marriages are discouraged for this reason heavily, and honour killings happen to keep the pride of higher castes (Now the police is strong and tracking down everyone who did an honour-killing with low-caste people). What matters here is lack of education/lack of money to educate them. I have seen many ‘Christian’ Organizations opening up their centres in such rural areas and opening up school, but on one condition of converting them to Christianity. I noticed this starting trend some four years ago and now the missionaries are strong, pushing people to wearing a necklace with a big cross and making them believe that there’s only one lord to believe in; ‘Lord Jesus’. Un-educating them is what happening here more often. They are not getting what they are in need of, while the ‘divine sisters’ increase the number of Christians for their respective Pops. I again say i am an atheist, i believe in giving food to those in hunger, giving cloth to those whop are naked, and giving shelter to those who live in rain and sun. Shielding them from the attacks of higher caste is what we can do, while providing their children with free and better education so that they will grow bigger than others once 🙂 India is not in a state to achieve that for sure, because of its growing trillion lacs of population and limited resources. Apart from believing in different god and differently written divine books, we should promote the fact that all humans are one; they all run blood in their veins. Everyone has a same rate of heart-beat.
    I was approached by a guy while crossing the subway last month, and he looked confident enough to invite me for a seminar that was supposed to change people’s life in the divine way. I attended, on a big hall, that was covered 85% by hindus (i later came to know that they approached only those people who had a hindu look!). The seminar started; it was all about our thinking level, our foolish activities, foul-mind. They wanted to transform us mentally so that we could lead a better life. They slowly slipped in to the divinity of Jesus, how he came to earth and how he healed people. Ultimately the seminar transformed into a religious-conversion centre. They said, ‘Stop thinking foul, Come to the only Lord; He can save you!” I jes laughed and got out. That day evening i jes took out my drawing board, sketched something, and it turned out to be a god; Jesus and Zeus incorporated. Now i jes have to name him. Now i have a God too. 🙂 Thank you Guys.

  112. ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE OF AFRICA, ADLA appreciates Ms. Erika’s courage in publishing this article about Hindu Caste System and thousands of years of discrimination, subjugation, enslavement, exploitation and evil done to its Sudra and Untouchable classes. It is heart rending that we live in a world where innocent young Americans and Europeans are sent to fight wars and die to defend and uphold democracy and yet in India, more than 200 million people, mostly of African descent and ancestry have been in bondage and misery for thousands of years. ADLA desires to know what United Nations and America (the land of the free) have done to end the Caste System in India and what they are presently doing. We urge UN and America to champion this cause and fight to wipe out caste system in India permanently. It is the most heinous crime against humanity and injustice of epic proportion that is worth fighting for. Dr. Martin Luther King has said “Injustice anywhere in the world is a threat to justice everywhere on earth.” CHAIRMAN BENNEY IKOKWU, (SCOGOSTOLOGIST,360 DEGREES)

    • Arjun Pandava June 30, 2010 at 5:12 pm #

      You sir, are a hypocrite. Also, you have no business throwing whatever weight your group may have into supporting this post. Have you forgot that it was people like the one who wrote this blog post who brought civil strife to Africa? Hypocrite indeed..

  113. smalltroubleinhk June 26, 2010 at 11:04 pm #

    Thank you for such a well written piece of article.

  114. fikalo June 26, 2010 at 11:51 pm #

    How truly moving, well written.

  115. sinBalas June 27, 2010 at 12:39 am #

    I put myself standing up, to applaud this type of article, that gives Truth, Education and Communication. It is a contribution that we watched we read and we do not do anything. Erika very well.

  116. soratothamax June 27, 2010 at 1:51 am #

    What saddens me is that people who commented feel that there way is the only way to solve this problem. We have people here who are reading this and thinking their religion is better. Though I feel sorry for anyone who is down-trodden, that is not to say that there is not one nation that doesn’t do things just for money, and in turn it makes SOMEONE down-trodden, like Capitalism. In this kind of system, the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. But Americans don’t want to change it because they want to make money. They are GREEDY. I’m from America, I should know. I am actually one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and I’ve seen hypocrisy in almost every religion imaginable. I still keep my eyes and ears open and make sure that whatever religion I’m in speaks the truth, even about themselves.

    The “Lord” doesn’t support war, so why does America constantly fight in one? Greed is also outlawed so why try to make some more money and get rich? Instead of becoming a missionary to CONVERT people, you should be come a missionary to IMPROVE the Christians that already exist in your own nation and religion. Everybody has their own beliefs. It’s alright to discuss your beliefs, but take into consideration others’ beliefs and try to improve your own religion first. You can’t clean someone else’s house when yours is just as dirty.

    • Joseph June 27, 2010 at 7:36 am #

      typical liberal lies and claptrap in the area of economy and warfare…a true capitalist system…one based on liberty and not on greed…gives everyone the opportunity to earn their wealth based on the fruits of their own labor….and also gives them the freedom to choose whether or not to use a portion of their fruits to help those who are less fortunate……there may be many reasons for choosing not too….could be that someone just doesn’t have the money left after having taken care of his own basic needs first…as for war….the Lord does support warfare but only if arms are taken up as a last resort and provided they do so justly (i.e., do not intentionally target non-combatants, etc.)….this doctrine is known as the just war doctrine…where Christians are exhorted to not love violence but must be willing to take up arms if necessary to ensure peace and liberty to the people they protect

      read this – http://www.catholic.com/library/Just_war_Doctrine_1.asp

      • Arjun Pandava June 27, 2010 at 3:51 pm #

        Free capitalism causes a greater rift in the class structure, the rich get richer etc. There are only a select few individuals who have the necessary skill set to rise from dirt to CEO of an international corporation. Everyone else gets to work 12 hour shifts in the local factory, recieve minimum wage and harsh treatment from overseers.

        I don’t think you, being a conservative, should bring up a “just war” here, given what the last President of the US did.

      • Joseph June 27, 2010 at 4:54 pm #

        @ Arjun…who said the capitalism I was talking about was the kind which you are fighting against? free-market capitalism is actually the one without the shackles of greed……the kind of capitalism you are talking about is one shackled by greed

        but here in the USA…..since the source of our liberty is based on self-evident truths given by moral precepts which we are fully cognizant of…it leads to a capitalistic economy that is based on the same principles….i.e., we are free to conduct commerce as long as no crimes are committed

        our capitalistic system…based on these principles which guide the free-market…gives rise to businesses which aren’t in business to make a profit….but exist to help those in need…these businesses are called non-profit organizations….and historically speaking many of them have done great work in providing for the basic needs of the needy while at the same time teaching the needy how to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps so that they can obtain these things under their own power….by contrast the government welfare spending that liberals are so fond of constitutes a form of slavery…….by its very nature government welfare is designed to keep people dependent upon those in political power at any given moment in time for their livelihood instead of showing them how they can put their nose to the grindstone and earning their livelihood….which is the only fair way to obtian a livelihood is to earn it…not have a livelihood handed to you on a silver platter

      • Joseph June 27, 2010 at 5:20 pm #

        also Arjun….just because past presidents have abused the tenets of just warfare does not in any way diminish the truth inherent in the doctrine itself….and we’re right back to that whole “the abuse of a good does not diminish the good of a good” thing…as it pertains to the war in Iraq…..I find it highly unlikely that while the precept for engaging Saddam Hussein in war was a bit shaky….that all of our brave soldiers are goin’ around willy0nilly killing anything that moves….true there are some soldiers where the bad effect of warfare takes a psychological toll o them and they snap and go on a spree….but those soldiers do on in any way diminish the good that our soldiers seek to show in their bravery in assisting people in their fight against oppression

      • Arjun Pandava June 30, 2010 at 5:20 pm #

        All capitalism is shackled by greed because it’s humans who are responsible for it. And as you would have us believe, humans are naturally fallen so we are all greedy.

        A business that isn’t focusing on making profit is doomed to failure. I’m a business major, I know these things..

        Have fun trying to say that the government are slavers.. fortunately, not very many people will listen.

        I don’t think you read my comment regarding that whole “diminishing of a good” thing. If every president diminishes his powers, then it becomes the new good. So, let me ask you this. How good is the present good? And who defined this good?

        Our brave soldiers are going around killing more civilians than insurgents. Innocent children have been killed, women have been murdered in broad daylight. Why do you think those soldiers developed those psychological problems? And why do you think the insurgency problem keeps getting bigger?

  117. Nixthings June 27, 2010 at 2:30 am #

    I spent some time in southern India living in Bangalore and a couple of trips out to Kanataka and Tamil Nadu. I don’t know much about you (will start to read your blog a bit!) and I have to admit I’m a little jealous as I’d love to go back to India again, but I sincerely hope you don’t go with either
    1. An agenda
    2. A Compassion that is misplaced.
    Regardless of poverty, illness, hunger and need you will still find the cruelest people, and the kindest people you will ever meet amongst the slums, the rich, and the poor. India’s problems are as cultural as America’s, England’s, Australia’s. It is a mistake to blame all of India’s ills upon the caste system. Go with an open and caring heart, be prepared to be hated for a message of love and to find God in strange places! India is so different to any predominantly Western culture that it is an important mind-blowing experience in itself even without an agenda. All I can advise is remove as much western culture from your message/religion/beliefs as you can and you will do both the people and yourself a much greater service. But good on you! Better to want to bring a message of love than seek after the fake plasticity of Hollywood celebrity, or the emptiness of amassing wealth and happiness. Maintain your innocence as long as you can! Now that I have completely judged you, I will pop along and read your blog!

  118. rubiescorner June 27, 2010 at 2:56 am #

    This is very moving, and informative, heart rending. The photo of the hands was stunning. Thank you for the hard work and research to put this out.

  119. harryplusk June 27, 2010 at 3:15 am #

    Your post is really educational. I would like to translate it in my language (i’m greek btw) and publish it to my blog. Can I have your permission? Of course, a copyright, yours and your blog’s name and a link to the original post will be included at the bottom. Thank you.

    • erikaearl June 27, 2010 at 9:21 am #

      Harry,
      Thank you for your kind words. Of course you can translate it and publish it! I’d be honored.
      God bless you!

      • hplusk June 27, 2010 at 11:08 am #

        Thanks a lot. I’ll let you know when I publish it.

      • Joe June 27, 2010 at 3:14 pm #

        Hi,

        Once again, great post! Could I also translate this for my blog? I will also give you the credit and link it to you…It would be in Spanish…Thanks. Joe

      • Jorge June 27, 2010 at 10:01 pm #

        I would like to translate it in my language too, greets from spain and thanks a lot

      • erikaearl June 28, 2010 at 1:52 pm #

        Thanks Jorge… I’d be honored!

    • Vishu June 28, 2010 at 7:29 pm #

      you want to spread mis-conception to your people also? God!

      • Arjun Pandava June 30, 2010 at 5:21 pm #

        Yea, they like doing that kind of stuff. They think it’s to help the word of God.

      • PeACEMAKER July 8, 2010 at 11:37 am #

        Why cant people do their own research than just translate an illusive post? To gain popularity in their limited circle or to continue bashing the Indians?

  120. hany June 27, 2010 at 3:59 am #

    articles are quite interesting to read, who would have thought such an article is worthy to be a reference to all the people, give more benefits to others to share information with us to achieve common progress.
    greetings from us blogingtrick

  121. Yogesh Singh June 27, 2010 at 5:13 am #

    A truly, truly, truly touching piece. This post is an excellent mirror with 100% reflection of our society.

  122. funstuffindia June 27, 2010 at 5:35 am #

    Hi truely touching piece …. sure u dont know much about india … and surely u dont even know too much about christanity … more than a million women were killed coz they were thought to be of bad character .. and untouchables …… really …. how many british considered their slaves to be touchables … when u come back to india next time .. come with a open mind and a open heart not because you want to increase ur blog posts or u think that india or hindus cant handle themselves.

  123. babytyche08 June 27, 2010 at 5:46 am #

    It sad but this is reality. Up to know such discrimination still exists specially on rural countries.

  124. palaceofmuse June 27, 2010 at 6:48 am #

    I was struck by the photo on the front page of wordpress… I had to click on it and read your article. I spent almost a year in India over two visits…
    And as well, I was struck by the caste system.
    I recall sitting above the Burning Ghats in Banaras, and thinking about the male children of the fire tenders.. How they must feel knowing that they too will spend their days burning the obdies of wealthy people. How they themselves would never be afforded such a “funeral”
    And the thing I seemed to find again and again in my travels, was how the most physically unique and beautiful people I saw, were “untouchables.” A grace and beauty that most of the upper caste, wealth clad people do not carry in the same way.
    I pray often for thier liberation….

  125. donnyhink June 27, 2010 at 7:12 am #

    Thank you so much for this article. You explained the caste system very well. Now it’s time for me to do something about it.
    I have done mission work in Bulgaria with the gypsies. I lived where they lived, ate what they ate, and went where they went. I have seen firsthand the treatment of those who are deemed untouchable or unlovable, even within the church. As believers, our call is to love those who have no love; to offer hope to those who have no hope; to be Jesus to the least.
    Thanks again!
    http://www.thebalmofgilead.wordpress.com

  126. cliffdaniels June 27, 2010 at 8:39 am #

    G0D is and will continue to work among the people of India. Only Jesus can free these people from the blindness and oppression that the enemy has had over them for thousands of years. Only the Truth will set them free.

    “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,
    and crying out with a loud voice, Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

  127. sonyaruthphotography June 27, 2010 at 9:40 am #

    I visited India last summer on an 8 week trip to share the love of Christ to the exact people you are talking about. There’s nothing like it. I had the honor of meeting beautiful children of God who had nothing, absolutely nothing tangible, but it looked as if they had everything because they knew of God’s love. Your post is very touching and I pray you continue to learn more and pray more for these people. I was skimming through the above comments and all I can say is that God can move a country. I’m originally from South Korea and you all probably know this but South Korea use to be a predominantly Buddhist country with immense poverty from the Korean War. My mother lived through those times and she is the strongest and most passionate lover of Christ because she knew what it was like to be physically and spiritually hungry. If you visit South Korea now, you will witness some of the largest Christian churches in the world with the largest Christian population. I’m telling you this because I want people to know God can transform a country. Fifty years later, there’s barely any poverty in South Korea but among one of the most wealthy and growing economies. There’s hope for change. This post is not meant to offend anyone but to show some proof that when a people believe in Christ, Christ will feed you in all ways. Matthew 7:7- “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

    -Sonya

    • Arjun Pandava June 30, 2010 at 5:28 pm #

      Here’s some surprising facts for you:
      46.92% of South Koreans are nonreligious, this forms the majority.
      29.25% are Christian
      22.8% are Buddhist

      And guess what? Even those Christians live life as they did before, and that is as Buddhists.

  128. odidis1 June 27, 2010 at 9:50 am #

    I am piqued when people try to divorce religion from social issues. Religion is supposed to be all good. It is supposed to bring about justice by shunning injustice. I agree that bad people do take advantage of religion and use it to encumber the less privileged. The Untouchables are in every society and they are not allowed to participate as equals in all aspects of live including religion.

    What I ask is why does God allow injustice? Why was all the prophets of God and even His Son die in disgrace? Why does God allow 160 million people to suffer so much disgrace and injustice? Is religion really Godly?

    • Khawla June 28, 2010 at 1:43 am #

      I believe it is the people of power who can affect people’s lives. People themselves can try to make their lives better. They can work hard to get their rights as well as to make themselves heard. If we sit and do nothing and accept that it is God’s wish that we are to be poor, then it is ridiculous to link it to God when we are the ones who made ourselves poor. There has to be actions for reactions to take place. Those 160 million people can make India a better country if they were given the chance to. But are they being considered an active part of the country? All the people of India must get up, hold each other’s hand and cooperate to eradicate the discrimination and prejudices that have stopped the country from moving forward.

  129. Ams June 27, 2010 at 9:51 am #

    || Hare Rama, Hare Krishna ||

    So you chose to reduce Hinduism to the caste system that you described and thus play messenger of GOD in full glory! Must I remind you that Hinduism is the oldest religion being practiced on this planet? Can you also explore and enlighten us all O messenger of God, as to how the oldest religion survived?
    Must I also remind you that Hindus are among the few faiths (if not the only faith) who have never invaded nor sought to conversion of people from other faiths.
    While the GODs were shouting command(ment)s, Hinduism was asking: “Who am I?.

    All that missionaries of God do is teach ‘There is no God other than Jesus’. Their sole objective is to convert people by doing small favors. This is no charity by the way!
    Hindus proudly believe in “All religions are equal” and have long accepted people from various faith to co-exist. Something that Christians and Muslims have sadly never heard of in their own faith.
    Hindus will continue to exist as they have for 5000 yrs and will remain spiritually enlightened. No matter how man missionaries try to invade us through ‘My God is the only One’ kind of gimmicks.

    || Hare Rama, Hare Krishna ||

    • nipunablogs June 27, 2010 at 4:03 pm #

      I don’t think the whole point of this blog was to criticize Hinduism. It clearly criticizes the archaic caste system.

      I have great respect to Hinduism, and I just don’t believe that such a great religion came with childish notions like the caste system. These were obviously developed by a cunning group of Brahmins who wanted to be in power.

      • nipunablogs June 28, 2010 at 5:38 am #

        Wait. I take that back. I see that this blog was written with the idea of converting people into Christianity on the back of author’s mind.

        I respect all religions, and I know enough to say that conversion is NOT an answer. Sure, you might convert Dalits to Christians, but will that make their problems go away? Of course not.

        The ignorant people in the mainstream society will just have one more reason to discriminate against the Dalits–their alien religion.

        Things aren’t that simple. You cannot simply convert people’s religions and expect the people to change, or expect their problems to vanish. That doesn’t happen. I know from my experience that this always creates clashes in society.

        Sure, if they want to, any Dalit should have the right to change his/her religion. However, one should not give them the impression that converting into a different religion will solve their problems. That is simply giving false hope to others in order achieve your own ends. That, in many ways, is WORSE than direct discrimination.

        Why not educate the ignorant society? Isn’t that ultimately the only REAL solution? Humanity often speaks louder than religion. It is humanity that should be our weapon against this kind of ignorance, not religion.

        If you really think that converting is the only solution, then you need to think whether you’re GENUINELY interested in Dalit peoples’ welfare, or you’re taking advantage of the situation to promote your religion (which is quite selfish).

        I don’t want to take sides. All religions– and I mean ALL religions teach the importance of humanity. There are of course philosophical differences, but keep those to yourself. If somebody shows interest in your religion, explain it to them from your point of view. What’s more, listen to their point of view with neutrality. If they agree and want to convert, that is fine.

        If you forcibly try to show others “the truth”, there’s only going to be bloodshed. We have enough examples in history to see that. No matter how convinced you are about the validity of “your” truth, remember that the other person is just as convinced about the validity of “their” truth.

      • Arjun Pandava June 30, 2010 at 5:29 pm #

        Thank you Nipuna (is that your name?) for correcting yourself..

      • PeACEMAKER July 8, 2010 at 11:41 am #

        Correction! Not Brahmins, Cunning Rulers!

  130. Nationalist June 27, 2010 at 10:06 am #

    This is exactly the same attitude that destroyed a wonderful nation. Colonizers believed that theirs was the true religion to realize and burn in jealousy that their holy book contained a fraction of esoteric knowledge in Vedas and Upanishads. Caste system was brought by the 16th century invaders and so did they sow the Aryan Invasion Theory myth and converted most in the name of dalit and untouchable classes. Come on grow up people India is not what this author learnt in 8days about a peerless religion. No photos can actually talk of a dalit. Its not the case as shown in most evangelical media houses owned by the church of south India.

  131. mallo June 27, 2010 at 10:06 am #

    I was always despised when I was a little younger and many people seem to do same today at first glance. But time and space is the judge of us all. Today I understand that no one despises me and goes free though I will not commit any violent act against anyone who does so.

    The truth is only an ignorant person downplays the importance of another soul. When we allow our ego to take control over us we treat others with disrespect forgetting to know that we all come from the same source and share the most important things in common; the sun, the air, the rain,the sky and much more.

    We forget to know that we have a piece of each other in ourselves. Think of the air we take in and send out, our next neighbor just a few centimeters away or thousands of miles away will take in the same air and then release it for another life to use it as well.

    How come we do not understand that all of us are one; members of the same body and need protection, love and reverence? I will conclude by saying that once the ego takes control ignorance sets in and we loose grip of who we are and begin to segregate, label, hate and hurt others. The final result is self destruction.
    Emmanuel Mallo

  132. Nikhil Kardale June 27, 2010 at 10:32 am #

    Being an Indian, I appreciate your efforts to understand and document our culture and its religious structure, but I am afraid the view shared here isn’t complete, and is rather skewed. For one, is the pyramid shown based on current population of each caste, or is it based on their ‘interpreted’ importance? ‘Coz if it is based upon population then it is not quite true. Agreed that the people under the poverty line outnumber the ones above it, but its not as linear. Moreover, as people are getting educated, the lines are getting blurry as people are slowly shunning the discrimination and even marrying into higher castes.

    Plus, any study of the castes in India cannot be complete without a thorough understanding of its multi-milenia history, both colonial and pre-colonial. Why the caste system was initiated in the first place and how ‘people in the position of power’ have misinterpreted this fact to their own advantage, should be researched. I think this factor is common with many social systems in other parts of the world, irrespective of what religion the people practice. The geography, remoteness of certain places, regional politics, economy, access to education should also be considered.

    To look at it practically, God doesn’t send a beam of enchanted rays to the people who are under duress to alleviate their condition; that only happens in the movies, and you don’t have to be an atheist to admit this. What we CAN do to alleviate their condition is to provide them with proper education, social awareness, medical aid so that they can take care of themselves and can fight for their rights. Many organizations and missionaries are doing this all over the world, not just in India. I think it will be more prudent to focus on that.

  133. alanfriday55 June 27, 2010 at 2:18 pm #

    A very very sad situation, proving the point that being human is not necessarily being humane. I’m not sure that praying will fix this. Its misguided religious and cultural beliefs that have caused this situation. If there is a solution its solely on mankind’s shoulders to find it.

    RELIGION

    Most religions, I have seen,

    give good advice on how to live, as a human being,

    containing good principles, with dignity and decency

    as their theme,

    are still valuable and applicable in this modern

    scene.

    The historical supernatural part, should be set-aside,

    invented by humans to manipulate, push and to guide,

    rituals, carrying symbolism, with the mysterious

    implied,

    an invisible deity, to reward/punish those

    who do and don’t abide.

    Alan Friday

    • mallo June 28, 2010 at 9:00 am #

      I just love this comment… you are right on the point
      Emmanuel Mallo

  134. karthikeyanblogs June 27, 2010 at 3:31 pm #

    Untouchable is one among many evil thing our religion (Hinduism) has created. The fact is, it still exists. The war between upper and lower cast is going on. There are many rationalist movements like the Dravidian movement which strive to uproot it. This caste difference is exploited by politicians to gain secure vote bank. Remember its not the AlQueda who are religious fanatics, long long ago it was Bhramins (and they sill are) a religious fanatics.

    • Arjun Pandava June 30, 2010 at 5:37 pm #

      You’re confused. It was not the brahmins, they slacked in their duties but were never religious fanatics. The people responsible for the caste issue are the British and the Mughals. Stop spreading confusion.

  135. eliciaruth June 27, 2010 at 3:37 pm #

    I found this through the wordpress home page, and what you wrote is really touching. I noticed two other people also commented about Gospel for Asia, but I’ll also add my thoughts. My family is staff in part of the non-profit organization Gospel for Asia, which reaches out to those in South Asia (particularly India) who do not know the love of Christ. Through national missionaries and a children’s program called Bridge of Hope, we strive to share the message of Jesus’ love with all people, regardless of caste. The Bridge of Hope program helps many Dalit families and their children. Gospel for Asia’s website is http://www.gfa.org. You might also be interested in one of our books, Revolution in World Missions. It changed my life. You can order a free copy at http://www.gfa.org/freebook.
    I’m really excited to see that other people are learning about this, and are seeking to do something to change it. Praise God.
    -Elicia

  136. nipunablogs June 27, 2010 at 3:56 pm #

    I don’t want to make this into a religious debate. However, it is worth noting that the Buddha strictly opposed he caste system and treated all casts similarly.

    Hindus believe that Buddha is an avatar of Vishnu, and he quite explicitly criticized the caste system. According to Hinduism, could it be that Vishnu came to Earth to show how wrong the caste system was? These ideas of casts were obviously developed by the early Brahmins who wanted to remain at the apex of society. That much is obvious.

    It is very, very wrong to judge the nature of Hinduism through this lens. I do not agree with Hinduism in many cases, but I have great respect for the religion. The caste system, however, is purely an invention of the powerful people, and intelligent Hindus know not to discriminate people based on the caste system.

  137. wearelittlespinozas June 27, 2010 at 4:19 pm #

    What really gets me about this caste system is about WHO created it.

    It was created by humans, and it can confidently be concluded the motive was political or economical gain. It is not in God’s character to define people in ANY class system, so God could not have created this system.

    The families in power want to stay in power which has horrendous consequences for the a whopping 95% of humans, as you said. I will not stand helplessly by, but will challenge this until the day I die, which could be any, any, any day.

  138. Indian June 27, 2010 at 4:33 pm #

    Situation is changing in India, well problem still persists in rural areas but its not as evil as it was in 1950s. And please for God’s sake if you truly want to help them as a human being I really appreciate your efforts . But do no color it by the name of Jesus , we don’t want another mass conversion to christianism (well its happening since centuries).
    Its all about education, when the so called Dalits get access to education and their standard of living raises automatically the barrier is diminished. Current generation of India do not worry about caste and its importance, its Politicians and the religious extremists who commit crimes in the name of uplifting of the Dalits.

  139. hisfool June 27, 2010 at 5:15 pm #

    A very good article, thanks. It seems you have rubbed some the wrong way … too bad for them and it seems in most cases their closed minds … keep on speaking the truth in love and keep your eyes on the prize! Be blessed.

  140. christiancorner3 June 27, 2010 at 5:15 pm #

    Interesting breakdown of the Castes! Thanks for this information and the call for loving souls to contribute in prayer. I will join you in prayer for not only the Indians, but all suffering nations of the World. God Bless you, your work, and this blog.

    CC

  141. Krutika Anand June 27, 2010 at 5:32 pm #

    I just read the whole long list of comments here and how all the comments bounced back and forth between religions,cultures and nations.
    I would say religion is NOT the solution. Neither is God.
    This is the problem created by humans. It is to be solved by humans.Diamond cuts diamond.
    When every human being takes responsibility for his/her behaviour and treats them with equal respect for the only fact that the other is also a human, heart and soul, only then can this be solved. Of course, its too tough when we are thinking about the second most populated country. But things will change. The most efficient solution in my opinion is education for it is only this that equips you to decide what is right and what is wrong and allows you to decide for yourself. My heart wrenches when i see the amount of money spent on building and maintaining places of worship and not even comparable amount of money is spent of education.(Ohh ! exploding point. I can whole lot replies in the making) Primary education, mind you since most drop outs occur at that level.Not even talking abt the IITs and IIMs and all. Primary education that is. And this solution is again linked to all the economic and social problems. Its a complex web.
    Hope atleast we all who have commented here, live this hope.

    • Krutika Anand June 27, 2010 at 5:42 pm #

      And when i said this : “When every human being takes responsibility for his/her behaviour and treats them with equal respect for the only fact that the other is also a human, heart and soul, only then can this be solved.”, I meant it as a solution for every nation and culture. Not specific to India.
      Indians have a great policy of treating each other with respect. Its just that people forget that policy. 😦

  142. Lao Tzu June 27, 2010 at 6:03 pm #

    Great article. Very informative and well written. I share your spiritual concern for this situation. The people in India are in desperate need a re-awakening of their religious beliefs. I believe India is a great example of a culture using religion to enforce its own economic or political ends. Nice job!

  143. ex hindu June 27, 2010 at 6:34 pm #

    I am a convert to Christianity from upper caste Hinduism, my educated parents always taught me that lower caste people are unclean and not fully human, I heard this throughout my life until I came to Christ.

    I was baptized by Christians who came from the “lower castes”, on that day I and they ceased to be upper and lower, and we became one in Christ and embraced each other as equals.

    Hinduism is worse than Islam, more people have died in Hinduism’s oppression than by Islam or any other religion. The world needs to talk about it.

    • Arjun Pandava June 30, 2010 at 5:43 pm #

      “..more people have died in Hinduism’s oppression then by Islam or any other religion.”

      Facts and numbers, otherwise you can stop posting lies.

    • anildubey July 7, 2010 at 5:36 am #

      Ex Hindu,
      Please give us your past and present names (if different), I would like to check your antecedents before communicating any further. Unless you do that, you will be an IMPOSTER.

  144. Arla June 27, 2010 at 6:56 pm #

    Wow!What a conversation you set off! Wish I had time to read all of it. Thanks for your clear and informative post. It was very helpful.

  145. payald June 27, 2010 at 7:01 pm #

    I completely agree with your thoughts. Being an Indian & that too brahmin, i have seen my own parents & dear ones following this practice. I really feel sad when my own relatives treat lower caste people with superiority complex. Thank god, i am not following their actions.

    And what can be of more pity that even me & my partner are unable to marry each other since 3 years, as he’s of lower caste. We have been facing strict objection from my parents due to his caste. I wish to eradicate this caste system from its root & make my country more beautiful with people of good thoughts. Hope your post attempts to do so.

  146. Nidhi Manocha June 27, 2010 at 8:37 pm #

    It indeed is a good throw over the social evils prevalent in our society. The saddest cry is when I see people agreeing on the same and yet remain as a pure non-chalant to it. The best of educated class or the or dogmatic religious pepole..the issue seems to dissolve the thick line between the two. Yet Education is the only way to work on it. Progress and prosperity resulting from education might ultimately bid farewell to the inhuman blot on pious Indian Faith/

  147. glnmurthy June 27, 2010 at 10:11 pm #

    The article is false and mud slinging on Hindu religion This blog is not explaining what is there in scriptures and what whent wrong in social customs
    Hindu believes that god is there in every creature-
    ” Ya devi sarva Bhuteshu Shakti Rupena Samsthita”
    The saying from Devi Purana is that God is in the form of Energy in every creature of the world-
    Whoever believes in above concept and say ” Sarvejana Sukhino Bhavantu “-Let all people dwelling in the world live happily ,only Hindu can say this in the world –
    All others say believers live happily but Hindu say believers and non believers also should live happily ,thats the greatness of Hindu Religion

    Hanuman- The god is actually a forest dweller -no religion pray forest and forest dwellers as god

    Krishna-Born as cow keepers family belongs to so called 4th calss could become god

    Arundhati-Lady born in Chandala Family could become star in the sky

    Valmiki- A forest living theif became first writer in the world writing Ramayana

    kabiridas/ravidas- A cobbler became bhakta of Rama and inspires with his speeches

    There are lakhs of incidants showing that Hindu scriptures or Hindus never discriminated the people in the name of religion-Caste is based on work what you do …its nothing to describe about the hierarchy-
    Request the author of the blog to understand Hindu society after living with one hindu family for a month,
    Dont write rubbish in web reading some nonsense books

    nOW iN iNDIA ALL DALITS ARE QUESTIONING ” How christ born to Virgin Women? “”” Hindus are more scientific –be careful

    The Word “Untouchable “became worsen after Britishers came with their whiteskin prejudices-

  148. abhinav kumar June 27, 2010 at 11:44 pm #

    hello erika
    i have gone through your article and what ever you have written, that understanding have come through your study of Hinduism. I AM REALLY SORRY FOR your horrible understanding of hinduism and its presentation. now here some critic of your article.
    (1)god has not done anything to bring human beings where thay are. human beings are responsible for their conditions.
    (2)you have given a elaborate discription of caste system of india and their proffession. if you will really scrtinize it you will find that it is all related to economics. the economics of a person defines his caste. the proffession they choose. in india brahmins may be considered the greatest but their is a line that they have right to full fill all of their desire.
    now this is completly ridculous. you have to really know india and hinduism before making such a statement.

    (3) through out world their is only one discrimination that is based on your proffession and econmics. even if you will fill any form this question is asked to discriminate you. it is rampant i think in the country you reside also.

    (4)today the country in which you resides discriminate everything through out world.
    (5)rape has nothing to do with caste. it the conditioning of a human being. assault has nothing to do with caste again human being conditioning. it is relate to the society.
    http://www.paralumun.com/issuesrapestats.html please visit this site. in heading it states that
    “Somewhere in America, a woman is raped every 2 minutes, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.”
    now caste system does not exist in us then why rape.

    i admit that it exist but you to be very critical in your wrting which can really give a reader a better understanding of the whole scenario. god will be more happy if you do something for them any whre in the world instead of weeping. please dont represent india in such a way.
    thanks and reagrds
    abhinav kumar.

  149. castrojun June 28, 2010 at 12:28 am #

    I’ll be eagerly praying for our brothers in India. Thank you for your post erika. God bless.

  150. Datta Ankushe June 28, 2010 at 2:10 am #

    Actually, I feel that there is another angle to this “Untouchable” issue. Many things have been changing with the passage of time, and Indian society is not an exception for this universal rule. I firmly believe that the problem lies in the character not the Religion. The class system had started with different goal and later some evil minded used it for their means. Now, Indian mind has changed to liberty, equality and fraternity..Slowly and gradually the remains of this evil behavior will also come to an end.

  151. Bhanu June 28, 2010 at 2:42 am #

    Before we begin the debate of untouchables, we need to examine where and why does it exist. this is a social problem and has nothing to do with religion. The aryan religion “Sanatan” religion which later on was termed “Hindu” was done so by Mughals meaning the settlers of Hindukush mountain in Afghanistan. A thorough study of Sanatan religion would reveal that caste was based on the profession of humans and not by birth. A brahmin was anyone who was learned. Besides, such discriminations existed in the western world as well, the slave trade of US, apartheid of SOuth Africa and “White man’s burden” of Uk are some such examples.

  152. Alex June 28, 2010 at 3:17 am #

    It would be better if the discussion also includes the ERA/ PERIOD, i.e., Historic Era/ Pre Historic Ear/ Stone Age/ Ice Age etc about which the discussion is being done.

    Besides “Hinduism and the culture of India” has probably nothing to do with “Caste System”.

    If compared on same line and era — Same be found in Christianity–Mohammedans– and Others too or rather worse.

    We can see and are witness to a Nation Culture Religion & Society which could not properly survive for even four century as discovered in 1600 by Columbus a trader and in 2010 nearly lost its visibility on world scene.

    What happed to culture there or religion there or do they practice worse than discussed above for discussion.

    Revisiting the issue may help correcting facts.

    To get visitors on a blog by penning too many stories of miseries and other items that can get sympathy is a cheap trick.

    Try to go for mature writing in place of misguiding the other scholars.

    Study Roman and Byzantine empire supported by Kautilya and Machiavelli.

  153. christinaaddie June 28, 2010 at 6:39 am #

    Christianity does call for submission, however, the difference from other religions is that it is the only religion you see where God comes to man. Where God reaches down to man (Jesus Christ). Every other religion, it is man trying to reach towards God.

    • Linda July 3, 2010 at 11:40 am #

      perfect. thanks for pointing this out.

      • Arjun Pandava July 3, 2010 at 3:52 pm #

        You two have got to be kidding me. Are you trying to say that Christianity claims uniqueness in that God comes down to Earth as a human? Or are you trying to say that God shows compassion to humans and helps them? Because neither concept is original to Christianity.

  154. christinaaddie June 28, 2010 at 6:40 am #

    Christianity does call for submission, however, the difference from other religions is that it is the only religion you see where God comes to man. Where God reaches down to man (Jesus Christ). Every other religion, it is man trying to reach towards God. http://www.christinaaddie.wordpress.com

    • Alex June 28, 2010 at 8:28 pm #

      Dear Christinaaddie
      I am again mentioning few words from my comments “’Hinduism and the culture of India’ has probably nothing to do with ‘Caste System’”. So Our discussions may get derailed from the domain addressed in above Post.
      In short I would love to add that “Hinduism” is not a religion, as dubbed by who are not from clan. Its a way of life. It is an example of Unity at best in Extreme Diversity. It has 330 million gods and goddesses and their followers.
      On the line as posted by you and presented here in quotes as ahead “Christianity does call for submission, however, the difference from other religions is that it is the only religion you see where God comes to man”; the only fact I would love to add is that if you get time go through two religious epics 1. Ram Charit Manas by Tulsi Das and 2. Mahabharata by Vedav Vyas, to learn how god reached his lovers in person as human to set ideals and values by living with and making them learn along how to live. Its only way of life that preaches you the concept that “truth shall always triumph”.

      Probably the reply to your comment is enough. I would once again love to remind that we started with the topic ‘Hinduism and the culture of India’ addressing the issue of Cast System.
      If you still have some prob take help Google and put key words [Saurabh + Singh + pant + Nagar ] and hope to locate me comfortably.

      Thanks & Regards
      Alex

  155. Ajay Mishra June 29, 2010 at 3:12 am #

    The author has written about the thousand years old caste based system. But he has not written that Indian Government is taking various measurements to uplift the standard of living of these people. This is in the form of reservations in Educational institutions and services. About 50% seats are reserved for these people coming from the lower caste based societies. It is also not allowed to call these citizens by their caste – it is an offence in India. They have been given good reservation in promotions also. If certain posts in a Government Company cannot be filled because there is no suitable person available from these caste, then that post lies vacant until suitable candidate is found. Also, it is an offence if any Dalit is not allowed to enter in any common places like temple, schools, prayer places etc. They have been given equal rights in the constitution. Even certain constituencies are reserved for them in parliament. They are now categorized in Scheduled caste or Scheduled tribe. and not Shudras.

    I would have appreciated this blog had there been some positive things written by the writer to show that the Government is doing various steps to improve their living standards.

    Thanks

  156. newsicare June 29, 2010 at 7:56 am #

    I have commented before, but i think it could be better for me to contribute more.

    I am one of the open technology backers.

    I just wrote another article:

    http://newsicare.wordpress.com/2010/06/29/all-about-empowering-people/

    welcome to read and share your thought with us. Thanks!

  157. dckirba July 1, 2010 at 2:35 am #

    The fact that India still has a caste system in place is one of the few things that embarrass me about my country.

  158. Eugene July 2, 2010 at 11:25 am #

    Cool post thx a lot for it!

  159. massila July 3, 2010 at 10:29 pm #

    During the 200 years colonisme by the white christian people, what they have done to abolish the caste system? Nothing! The white community have exploited it to better control the populations. It was also benefited them to convert the poor untouchable people to the christianisme.

    (Sorrry for my poor english!)

  160. Alex July 4, 2010 at 11:07 pm #

    Erika, thank you for your post. We’re looking at working with a Dalit pastor in India and this was very enlightening.

    • erikaearl July 17, 2010 at 4:10 am #

      Alex,
      Thanks for your encouragement! I pray blessing on you and your work in India. I hope you find great success here. It is such an incredible nation.
      In Him,
      Erika

  161. niconica July 5, 2010 at 5:08 pm #

    Amazing and very touching post. I agree with you.

    Cheers, Niconica
    http://niconica.wordpress.com

  162. Australia immigration July 6, 2010 at 2:49 am #

    which century is this?

    Dont lie

  163. zero1ghost July 7, 2010 at 9:06 am #

    Christians have their own “untouchables.” sometimes they are a different skin color, they are atheists, muslim, gay, white-trash, whatever and what not. the hindu system has it’s problems, but they are our problems too. at least, if you subscribe to a doctrine of sin, this holds true.

  164. Tom July 7, 2010 at 1:42 pm #

    For a way to impact the Dalits who are in slavery in India right now, check out International Justice Mission (at http://www.ijm.org). A Christian ministry, they send lawyers to India and other countries who use laws on the books(but not enforced) to free slaves and provide follow up care.

    • PeACEMAKER July 8, 2010 at 11:55 am #

      Nice to know that. It would be good if you send lawyers to secure the rights of the victims of Bhopal (Union Carbide) tragedy also.

    • erikaearl July 17, 2010 at 4:09 am #

      Tom,
      Thanks so much for this great link. I have researched IJM before and really admire their work. I pray that God will bless you and your journey. Keep fighting the good fight.
      Erika

  165. kylintz July 14, 2010 at 4:24 pm #

    So, is there anyone called to give hands to society there ?

  166. Jerry Jacques July 15, 2010 at 4:59 pm #

    Wonderful post, thanks for sharing!

  167. Linda July 25, 2010 at 5:25 pm #

    to ardjun pandava. no one said anything about offering anyone money. just the knowledge of jesus. if you don’t want it then go away. mind your own business. daft!

    • Arjun Pandava August 14, 2010 at 5:25 pm #

      Do you really think that all the money that’s collected from various churches across the world for missionary activities goes towards just building churches and clinics? I’d happily “go away” if all these people were pushing was the knowledge of Jesus, but unfortunately that’s not so.

      Why don’t you go and check out my blog? Write a response to one of my posts, and IF I’m not able to write a proper response back, then you can call me daft. Until then, I’d advise you to hold your tongue.

    • Nagaraj September 5, 2010 at 2:54 am #

      To Linda, I pity, “Man is for religion and against other religions”, – if any religion teaches hatred – we don’t call it a religion, The Spread of Gospel has become business to bring hatredness among other religions. Many had mis-used money for their greed and need in the name to spread religion..

  168. Nagaraj September 5, 2010 at 2:46 am #

    Caste was divided on profession – Kings, Rulers, Priests, Businessmen and peasants, the Untouchables were the helping class like cobblers, cleaners, scavengers, undertakers etc., – these people were not civilized, less or no education, poor sections, naturally they will be untidy, – the other class of people fear to touch or entertain due to their way of living, course of time, they were distinguished as a untouchables, as the people feared of infectious diseases, I pity, during their time the depressed class weren’t supported nor educated, Now-a-days Untouchable has become politics and business for the politicians to claim reservations.

  169. darks0ul October 20, 2010 at 9:06 am #

    very well written Erica,but i guess your information is a bit old…(only about a century old:P)

    Your “Untouchables” or also know as SC/ST and OBC … now holds 50% reservations in prestigious institutes like IIT and NIT.

    Brahmins or “General Category” don’t have such reservation,(Oh GOD why am i not born in SC/ST family?)

    The equation holds
    below average SC/ST student>=Brilliant Gen. Cat. Student

    And not only this your “Untouchables” demand for more reservation, even in Government as well as Private Jobs.

    Definitely my Great Great Grand father might have ill treated your Untouchables,but i guess in todays world “General Category people” needs more of your sympathy 😛

  170. ZooroutBrerty December 4, 2010 at 2:34 am #

    Wow all I can say is that you are a great writer! Where can I contact you if I want to hire you?

  171. dr george pradhan, md,ind. February 4, 2011 at 6:25 am #

    20.Erica Earl has written well. but her solution that my Lord will help is doubtful. for after 400 years of Missionaries, just under 3% of a billion indians have converted to nominal christianity. [cf 10% muslims.]=and there is high caste discrimination even among Soodraas and untouchables/outcasts.= Parayaah is actually Paraaya Outsider who came from somewhere and is a suspect in the society till he is accepted or joins the stream, of that outside the gate peoples of that village, beyond the IV castes already here.= there are virtual unmixables even in the higher three castes!!!= the tragedy is that once you are unfortunate to have been born outside the four castes, you are doomed to remain outside the 4 castes, whatever you have achieved in your this life.= rare exceptions are when the society needs you and then all castes come to you. ..like a person with divine traits and powers.# i have 1/8 untouchable blood [leather worker]and am fully accepted in all but the kitchens of the high,.# I have traveled and mixed with white black brown yellow. I see the color and race prejudice as bad or worse than the caste system of the India.# this prejudice is woven into the culture, and we better live with it.

  172. Bon Vishu February 13, 2011 at 11:32 pm #

    Here, We have a small organization called ‘Humanity’. We were just born day before yesterday and live to keep helping poor kids with food, clothes and enough money to go school. We haven’t studied any philosophy, or any religions and we are completely unaware of anything other than the geography of this earth, how the universe works, dark matters and nebulas and stuffs. Yesterday, somebody came in and said “Believe in Jesus, the Only God, and you will all go to heaven.” We were startled. Questions popped up from our small gathering. ‘What’s Jesus? What’s Heaven? What’s a God?’ He kept on saying, “Come to My church, surrender yourself to Jesus, the only true God, and you will all go to Heaven.” We said Okay, and we went with him to his place called ‘Church’ where we were all washed our heads with some kinda water, and made to wear a long necklace of beads with a long cross stuff at the end. Then he said to us, “Dear children, you will now have to attend the church classes about Holy Bible and counsels every sunday, and work for spreading the message of Jesus, the only true God, to the rest of ignorant people.”

    We were confused. We had to go to university mondays to fridays, saturdays we had to supply our ‘Weekly Help Cargo’ to kids and take them classes, and Sundays we
    had to go for providing free medical camps for old aged homes. He said, “First listen to me, You will go to hell if you don’t believe in Christ, the only God.” Okay, we said. “If the Person you talk about come directly to us and tell this, we are ready to do whatever you say.” Then we sat there, on the ground, facing the higher ground of altar meditating for a long time, so that this guy he talks about, Christ, could come to us and convey whatever he has to say directly to us. Nothing happened. We lighted candles, read bible, submissing ourselves to Jesus and prayed to him, but he didnt make even a single signal of his ‘Divine Existence’. Then there was this evening puja ritual in the nearby Hindu temple and we could hear the sound of bells and chants. Along with that, a mosque was callling out for Allah on the other side through the loudspeakers fitted accross all directions. We asked him, “Are they all calling out loud for this God guy?” He nodded, saying an obscure ‘Yes’. Then we were more curious to know about the Theory of Gods. He told his, that the only true God, Jesus and his stories who came to earth since 2000 BC. Then we went to the Temple, asked the Priest about God. Though he didnt mention his name or caste or creed, he told us the history of Ishwar (means God) since 75,000 years ago. Then we went to the Mosque, and the guy taught us about this Allah Dude and the prophets. From all these theories, we understood the basics of human religious and activities and formations, and we then created a religion of ourselves, called You & Me. The theory is simple and is extracted from many religions around the world:

    1. Thathwamasi : Look into yourself, You can see a person in you. And that’s you.

    Worship that person and make your heart a holy sanctum sanctorum. Fill it with the good flowers of deeds.

    2. You are God, You are divine: When you look at one person, think of this “You are God, You are divine”. See him/her more superior than you, see him/her divine.

    Give him/her your respect.

    3. Move an amount from your wages for those who are in need. Let them be happy and let you be happy.

    4. If there are two members in your home, make meal for three. One extra meal could save a burning stomach.

    5. Never attend churches, temples or mosques, better take that time out to spend time with your lost friends or grandparents or any old age homes, making them meal and helping out things.

    6. If your name is something that talks out what religion you are, change it to something that is easily understood by those innocent kids out there.

    7. Love your neighbors, Share with them.

    8. When you have Kids, let them be better than you are now. Teach them about Humanity rather than Jesus, Hindu, or Islam. I recommend Buddism or Jainism or anything that does only good to each other.

    9. If someone behaves bad to you, let them, just walk out your way. They are jes being themselves. Earth is full of many kind of animals. They all live their own way.

    10. Care for what you are standing on, Care for nature. Everything you see around yourself is much more superior than you. Trees, or plants or hills or mountains. Let them live as they are. Care for them. We cut a tree to free some space for our house. Why don’t we just find another free space or alter our house design so that the tree can stay where he want to be happily ever after?

    —————————————————————————————————————
    I apologize for my bad English, or any unwanted things you find disturbing above, but i and my friends live for the people who need us. Every humans run on blood and has a heart beat of average 70 per minute. Does that differ according to any religion? And if you discriminate for the skin color, any white dude would become black with 10 minutes of burning under the Sun 😛 ..
    —————————————————————————————————————-
    I am an Indian Boy who wear PepeJeans Tshirt ‘n Lee Jeans, Woodland Shoes ‘n holds a Google Nexus, walk out to any street and use the Wifi hotspots, We have glittering airport terminals here, Metro and lowfloor buses, radio-taxis and barista creme ‘n lavazzas, and what i dont understand is where the heck the Author found these untouchables 😛 May be in a very very rural village somewhere here (better write about the aboriginals in Australia, they are more freakishingly abandoned), but i have travelled to most corners in India and enjoyed the very social forms of life. They were just awesome and Me, who one time dreamed of going to Europe or Americas in childhood (10 years before, there was nothing here), now never wanna leave the cosmopolitan life of my cities here. Many of my friends are dalits, brahmins, chinese, moslems and christians too, but i havent seen anyone discriminating each other for their beliefs and stuffs. I am in heaven right now, ‘n i’m sure i’ll go heaven 🙂 😛 India is a rich country, but there is too much of poor people who cant just keep up themselves with the changing technologies and needs of modern India. So comes the gap! Take care guys!

    —————————————————————————————————————-
    P.S. Hey those who still believe in missionaries and stuffs, get out of those filthy traps! The star dust is really cool to see!

  173. Andrew Hsu May 14, 2011 at 7:07 pm #

    Hi, i’d like to know who took the picture of the hands covered with mud? I need to speak to the owner about an important issue regarding his or her image.
    Please reply ASAP.

  174. Schnettler September 4, 2011 at 8:59 am #

    Wonderful post, I like your impressive blog, found you on FP.

    Please visit my interesting training blog.

  175. Karen McLinton August 15, 2012 at 9:08 am #

    Very good writing but prayer won’t help! ACTION WILL!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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