The Untouchables

Unlike Eliot Ness’s squad of prohibition cops, the untouchables of India are a far far more fearsome proposition.

The dalits or harijans are people who were part of the castes who were associated with the traditionally unclean work. Leather work (hindus still wear leather despite not consuming cows), slaughter house work (the crime is in the killing not in the consumption), removal of rubbish and in one of the most abusive aspects of human existence, in the removal of human waste from latrines. The practice has died out in most of the cities but in rural areas it still persists. Which means its wide spread. Remember nearly 70 percent of India lives rural. Much like the 1950s and america, there is segregation in India. The idea is that uncleanliness is contagious and that contact with the dalit means that you are tarnished by association. Still many places have a practice where they refuse to let the dalit touch the same wells or even drink from the same cup. They will pour out water for you and you sip from the stream rather than a cup. Different temples, schools and funeral areas. They stay in their own ghettoes. [Read more...]

Age of Kali – A Year On

I got this mail last year. It effectively asked me why I wasn’t willing to stand up and say something about the Indian rape. Why my blog was filled with the stories of women and indeed men who fought against the rape.

Why not my story of the Indian Rape Riots and Protests?

I had a good reason. I am Indian by ethnicity. Not by nationality and my culture is “British Asian” which is a weird amalgam. That was the story of women in India, not my story of my time on the lines.

But it’s been a year. So I wanted to write about what I did and what I saw. [Read more...]

Progress Report

Sustainable progress is the name of the game.

When I first started out in India one of my projects was a tiny fishing village. Owing to sustained and interactive charity development we not only created economic growth, a lower environmental impact and progress through education but also improved their overall health. [Read more...]

My Day

Medication is a powerful thing. The medicines we prescribe and take can change the lives of people.

So when they stop using the medicine the change is phenomenal.

On the train back home, I watched an old lady suddenly turn her head and fall to the floor while convulsing. I responded and identified myself and then began to administer aid. [Read more...]