27 August 2007

Tiny Dalit paper makes waves in India

The Din Dalit is one of the huge number of newspapers in India and it has some degree of influence: for instance, it helped a man get his social security, which the government had previously denied him.

However, the Din Dalit is also a newspaper with a difference: every week since 1986, its part-time editor, a Dalit (untouchable) man named Gaurishankar Rajak, has written most of it himself by hand, and then photocopied it into 100 copies. Nowadays, the paper also has a reporter. Over the years, the paper has developed a following in Dumka, Jharkhand. As Dhrub Rai, a rickshaw driver, observed, "Rajak has simply waged a war against corruption and social evils here" (BBC).

On the one hand, it is sad that so much effort on the part of one person -- and thousands like him elsewhere in India -- has to go into demanding rights the respect of Dalits' rights in modern-day India. On the other hand, the very fact that the Din Dalit has been published for 21 years and has not faced attacks from high-caste neighbours, shows that India has come a long way from the days of prevailing caste-based oppression.

No comments:

Something Even More Magical

In other news...