Present day India
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.