The word Dalit literally means “broken,” “crushed” or “oppressed.” In Indian culture, Dalits are at the lowest rung of the ladder. The vast majority of them are impoverished, exploited and powerless to change their fate. Considered to be polluted or unclean, they are called “Untouchables.” If they were to touch someone of a higher caste, the upper-caste person would supposedly become contaminated. This is why many Dalits are not allowed to drink from community wells and are discouraged from attending schools with other students.
Why are some called slumdogs?
The majority of these exploited peoples live in rural villages and communities, slaving away to eke out a living. But great numbers of people are moving to cities in hope of a better life, causing the population to grow faster than what the government can sustain. The result is millions of people living in destitute conditions. “Slum” is the name given to the areas where such poor people dwell. These people have no homes, no land, no plumbing or infrastructure and often no education.
Most slums are filled with Dalits and people from other low castes. Those on the outside looking into the slums began to see these people in the same way they saw the wild animals that run down the narrow dirt streets. This is where the name “slumdog” comes from.
Is there any hope?
The filthiest, most degrading and menial work in society is relegated to Dalits. They are the ones who harvest the fields by hand, working for hours in backbreaking labor. They are the ones who clean the open-air toilets, latrines and sewer lines with their bare hands.
For the most part, Dalits have no one to turn to for help. Because they are at the bottom rung of the proverbial social ladder, they are routinely denied even the most basic human rights. Many truly believe they have earned this life and have no right to expect anything different.
Yet, hope for the Dalits is on the way…
You can provide hope for the poorest of the poor!
God has given a widespread opportunity to bring hope to Dalits and other impoverished people in India.
More than 1,000 needy children are receiving an education, daily meals, regular medical checkups and, best of all, love! You can help even more children by partnering with LNFI’s Bridge of Hope Program.