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So You Think There is No Caste-based Discrimination in Nepal? Think Again!

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Having heard again and again from fellow Nepalis — both on and outside of social media — that there is really no or very little caste-based discrimination in Nepal, on June 7, 2018, I made a series of tweets starting with that fact (see image above). Then over time, underneath that thread, I documented news articles that reported on discrimination faced by Dalits, the lowest caste in our social system, the caste system. The last addition I made to the thread was less than a week ago.

Discriminatory behavior againsts Dalits runs the whole gamut of teasing and humiliating them to refusing to rent out rooms to them to refusing to custom non-traditional Dalit businesses ensuring their failure to thrashing them for minor “infractions” or “transgressions” (some made up) to raping them to even murdering them.

Here to begin with are the first two tweets from the original thread. The second one is about a Dalit MP struggling to find a house owner (and NOT a tenant as I mistakenly say in the tweet!) open to taking her in as a tenant. I have heard about this from Dalits directly as well.

Here are the next two from the original thread. The first one is about the alleged displacement of a Dalit family for one of the members daring to marry someone from a higher caste. The second one is about the brutal attack, by three women, of a Dalit representative leading to her death.

The following are the final two from the original thread. In the first one I counter what some may be thinking about the attack described in the article shared in the above tweet — that she might NOT necessarily have been attacked so brutally because she was Dalit.  I argue that the attacker “didn’t stop, or weren’t stopped…BECAUSE she was a Dalit.”

The final one, the second one below, is a link to a blog post of mine. In the blog post, I tear apart the fallacy-ridden meme arguing that there is no caste-based discrimination in the country.

The following are the rest of tweets documenting reportage which appear to be about caste-based discrimination or arising from discrimination and prejudice against Dalits.

The next tweet is an update on the Dalit victim who tried to kill herself.

The first one below is about the struggles of just attending and staying in school as a young Dalit girl — struggles arising from obstacles, opposition, and hindrances put in front of her by fellow Nepalis! And the only reason we know her story is because, in spite of all that, she succeeded academically and was able to make something of herself through education!

The headline of the article shared in the tweet below reads: ‘Complaints of a Dalit community — “We are treated like as if we were animals.”‘

Dalit girls and women are raped by men at disproportionately higher rate than non-Dalits.

And can you blame them from converting to Christianity? (The second tweet below is an article about that.)

Not surprisingly, someone who apparently is the Chief of The Education Development and Coordination Unit blame the Dalits for their lack of awareness and poor economic conditions! Clearly, the chief doesn’t know or, if he does, is in denial of how Nepali society has failed Dalits. On the one hand, the society constantly tells Dalits how they are failures while, on the other hand, constantly prop up virtually insurmountable barriers to their success and advancement! Forget about providing the social and economic support and opportunities they need for success.

The second tweet is actually some good news out of Sindhupalchok.

The one below is about how a six–SIX!–year-old Dalit child is forced to quit school because of discrimination. And how does the principal react? By saying, “No student is ill-treated because of caste.”

The second tweet is about a hill high caste Hindu priest who says he would rather die than touch and bless a Dalit baby!  

The first tweet below is a correction to the one above.

And the final one (the second one below), which I added just a few days ago! The article actually is written by a Dalit girl about her struggles with being a Dalit. Even her teachers scoff at her for staying on in school and daring to make something of herself through education.

 

Of course, it goes without saying that these are but just a sampling of news reports about their plight. Of course, the level of discrimination and abuse is probably much higher than what these articles would indicate. Most stories of caste-based discrimination and abuse don’t make it into the news. What gets reported on is just a small tip of the iceberg that is the discriminatory and prejudiced people, society, systems, and institution of Nepal.

And to be sure, Nepalis do NOT only discriminate, or are NOT only prejudiced, against Dalits, the lowest caste. Nepalis can and do discriminate and are prejudiced against others too, others who they view as of lower caste than them or inferior than them in some way (for example, females) or poorer than them, for example. My people, ethnic Tibetans whose original and ancestral homes lie along the mountainous Northern border of the country are discriminated against. I have blogged about that here, here, here, here, here, and here. Others of Tibeto-Burman stock are also discriminated. The indigenous people of the Southern Plains, the Madhesis, are discriminated against. I have blogged about that here, here, here, here, and here.

I have decided that Nepalis generally are considerably more discriminatory, prejudiced, and misogynistic against and judgmental of their own people than they are of others. Part of the reason for that, if not THE reason, is, I think, our patriarchal and highly stratified society, stratified along, of course, caste lines, among others.

 

 

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