To be a Dalit today

What does it mean to be a Dalit today? Perhaps a light at the end of the tunnel of marginalisation and discrimination is in sight? For 15 long years, the young dalit women of one particular village have been systematically and frequently raped and abused by ?upper caste? men. Today, after years of silence and of darkness, forced to live a life ?without rights?, a life determined from birth by ?divine will?, one of these women has been able to tell her own story at one of the workshops organised by SAPI. This is one story among many that were told and enacted during the three hours of a workshop, just one story from a section of humanity seeing the sunrise of something new, for the dalit community from this village has made an active act of proclaiming its suffering and has already started to struggle for its fundamental rights. To find oneself in the midst of all this shakes one up and generates an enormous quantity of feelings and questions that range from solidarity to embarrassment that there should be so much blindness towards the suffering of a whole portion of humanity. One witnesses a kind of ?re-birth? of women and men in the real sense of the word. Having become lawyers and local leaders, the Dalits of today struggle for human rights which they expect to get as human beings with the help of effective means. ?The Dalits speak as part of the official programme of the WSF, and in the first person; this is making history!? a dalit woman lawyer affirms proudly. An image rises in my heart: in these three hours we have been present at the delivery of an ?infant? born in difficulty and suffering! (Daniele Frigeri S.J.) [HL40130]