Although the caste system has been politically outlawed in India, it is so ingrained in Indian society that it is often adhered to still.
Hinduism is the dominant religion in India, so members of other religions, specifically Christians and Muslims, are often at a disadvantage. Most of India’s Christians and Muslims are part of the lowest caste. This caste, to which 70 percent of Christians belong, is known as the Dalit caste.
Dalits face discrimination and sometimes even violence.
Today, August 10, marks a particularly sad day for Dalits, according to Christian Today. On this day 67 years ago, a presidential order was signed by India’s first president, Rajendra Prasad, that stated, “no person who professes a religion different from the Hindu religion shall be deemed to be a member of a Scheduled Caste.”
Dalit Christians and Muslims have come to view this day as a “Black Day” because of this presidential order.
Activists have also marked this day as an opportunity to raise awareness and bring about social change. Rallies, meetings, and vigils have been held, and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India has called on campaigners to wear black badges to raise awareness of the Dalits’ plight.
The most Rev. Dr. A. Neethinathan, Bishop of Chingleput, wrote that August 10, the “Black Day” is “an opportunity for Christians to commit themselves to root out casteism and discrimination from within the Church. All of us acknowledge and even assert that caste discrimination and untouchability are against the fundamental tenets of Christianity.”
Publication date: August 10, 2017