Caste has such strong foundation in Asia that no tsunami can wash it, no earthquake can shake it and no flood can carry away the filth of it. Once again Dalits have been left out of any relief work in Nepal earthquake. According to the latest news from The Indian Express (29th April) Dalits are still waiting for any help from Government. Dalits houses have been devastated by earthquake but no Government is helping them. It is not the first time that Dalits have been ignored by Governments in natural calamities. One can check out from Gujarat earthquake to Tamil Nadu Tsunami to Kosi River floods in Bihar, who has suffered the most? Dalits. Dalits suffer the most in natural disasters and Dalits’ experience in natural calamities isn’t very good; Dalits have always been left out of rehabilitation.
Here is what Dr. Ambedkar had said about the discrimination in charity almost 70 years back and this is still true,
“Go into the field of charity. With one or two exceptions all charity in India is communal. If a Parsi dies, he leaves his money for Parsis. If a Jain dies, he leaves his money for Jains. If a Marwadi dies, he leaves his money for Marwadis. If a Brahmin dies, he leaves his money for Brahmins. Thus, there is no room for the downtrodden and the outcastes in politics, in industry, in commerce, and in education.”
A Buddha statue is surrounded by debris from a collapsed temple in the UNESCO world heritage site of Bhaktapur on April 26, 2015 in Bhaktapur, Nepal. Photograph: Omar Havana/Getty Images
It is unfortunate when relief and rehabilitation should be done without considering caste or creed, in reality it doesn’t happen. Research has shown time and again that in large scale disasters, communities at the bottom of the caste hierarchy are also the last to receive relief benefits, if they receive it at all. Government of Nepal, India and all other relief and rehabilitation agencies must ensure that Dalits are not left out of relief and rehabilitation.
Voiceless victims are crying for help and it is our duty to raise your voice against injustice happening to Dalits so that they do get timely help and they are not left out in rehabilitation process. Further, please support Dalit organisations such as EDWON — Empower Dalit Women of Nepal working in Nepal for relief and rehabilitation of earthquake victims, don’t donate to any other (manuwadi) organisation because they don’t help Dalits at all.
In the wake of the earthquakes in Nepal and the ongoing aftershocks, if you are looking to help, I would like to suggest EDWON — Empower Dalit Women of Nepal. EDWON is collecting money for a rebuilding fund for Dalits and tribal whose lives and homes have been decimated at the epicentre of earthquake in Gorkha. If you decide to donate, know that your contributions will go directly into the hand of Dalit and tribal women’s groups in their rebuilding efforts and will circumvent upper-caste village headmen. Many big relief organizations do not have this focus. If you have any question please send a message here.