This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Youth Ki Awaaz. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Let Us Break The Chains Of Casteism

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

By Amarpreet Kaur:

India is a land of myriad diversity. The varied cultures and traditions, the cuisines, the flora and fauna, the festivals, the religions and their associated rituals; all form a wonderful kaleidoscope that is unique and cannot be found elsewhere across the globe. Despite these differences in culture, one thing that every Indian takes pride in is the fact that ‘We the people of India are a united lot’. To put it the other way, ‘unity in diversity‘ is the thread that binds all the people of the nation together; we all work as one for the betterment of our country so that it can reach higher pedestals of success.

How can a united India have place for a caste system? This is the question that we are faced with. How can there exist a system wherein you treat certain people in a certain kind of way depending upon the ‘caste label’ that the family they were born in, bears. Caste system in simpler language is nothing but division of the society into different classes on the basis of peoples’ inherited social status and the nature of the work that they do. Unfortunately, such a system has had a huge negative influence on the way people belonging to certain sections of our society are being treated. We talk of environmental issues; we talk of world peace and the likes; but what about the caste system? First we created this so-called ‘divide’ on the basis of caste and then began ill-treating our very own fellow countrymen. On a personal note, the present plight of the ‘Dalit’ community in India is something that breaks my heart.

Let us go a little into the background. The roots of the caste system can be found in ancient India where the Hindu society was divided into four classes namely: the Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras. Brahmins were the priests and the scholarly people; Kshatriyas were the warriors; Vaishyas the merchants and Shudras the labour class. The worst part came when certain people began to be treated as ‘untouchables’ altogether. They were looked down upon in society. With passage of time, these people came to be known as ‘Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes’ or sometimes as Dalits‘. The nomenclature changed from time to time but what remained static was the social status of these people.

To protect the interests of these people, the Government of India passed the ‘Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act’ in the year 1989. Article 17 of Indian Constitution seeks to abolish ‘untouchability’ and its practice in any form is forbidden. It is basically a “statement of principle” that needs to be made operational with the ostensible objective to remove humiliation and multifaceted harassments meted to the Dalits and to ensure their fundamental, socio-economic, political and cultural rights.

The law is there, but sadly the implementation has not been effective at all. Don’t agree? Then check out this stat which says that three Dalit women get raped, two Dalits are killed, and several of them beaten up on a daily basis. To say that this is shocking would be an understatement. The height of discrimination that Dalit children face in schools can be gauged easily from the fact that they are made to sit on the last benches of classrooms; the food they eat is simply thrown at them from a distance. The Dalit people cannot enter temples; they cannot bathe in the same ponds as do the people belonging to the so-called ‘higher’ castes; employment opportunities are denied to them in most of the cases; they are beaten up on many occasions; their women are sexually abused and harassed. This is really hard to digest; nobody has the right to treat an individual in that manner!

The very objective with which the ‘Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act’ was passed has not been achieved. The major reason behind this failure is that the people involved in the implementation of the Act; the police and the judiciary; all belong to the ‘higher’ castes. The appointment of a Dalit as an officer in police or as a judge is something that has rarely been heard of. Besides, a number of provisions pertaining to safeguarding the interests of the community, the children and women in particular are missing from the Act. These loopholes have only added to the woes of these people.

The Government needs to look at things seriously and press for making amendments in the Act at the earliest if these people are to be brought at par with other sections of the society. We all see India as a developed nation; but what we have forgotten is that development does not happen in isolation. You cannot expect your country to be amongst the top countries in the world if you have a substantial population of your society living in such pathetic conditions. Development is an ongoing, wholesome process which can only come through when all people can contribute equally. That said and done there is also something called individuality and self-respect as well. I personally feel that all these trivialities that we are so caught up with, the ‘caste system‘ included, are a creation of our small minds. Every human being is special and has full right to lead his or her life with dignity and utmost respect. So stop humiliating others.

You must be to comment.
  1. neeraj ramchandran

    True emancipation is possible only when a section of the higher castes takes the initiative to include the backwards in their lives.

    1. Amarpreet Kaur

      I agree with you Neeraj. There should be equal participation from both lower as well as higher castes in all spheres of social and political activities; only then can we talk about equality of our citizens in its true sense.

  2. ARSHI


More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts

By Saurabh Gandle

By Anil Kumar

By Ashmita

    If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

      If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        Wondering what to write about?

        Here are some topics to get you started

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

        Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

        Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

        The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

        Read more about his campaign.

        Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

        Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

        Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

        Read more about her campaign.

        MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

        With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Read more about her campaign. 

        A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

        As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Find out more about the campaign here.

        A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

        She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

        The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

        As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

        Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

        Find out more about her campaign here.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

        A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

        Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

        A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
        biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

        Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
        campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

        Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below