By Kulsum Nakadar
Editorâ€™s Note: Kulsum Nakadar is a freshman in communications at a college in Bandra, Mumbai.
Mumbai, India–The injustice of caste system, and the means of addressing it, has been an active topic of modern Indian discourse, particularly in the last 80 years.
â€˜India untouchedâ€™ is a 2007 award winning documentary by Stalin k. This documentary takes us through eight states and 4 religions to make us realize that untouchability still exist in the Indian society. The journey starts from the villages of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu to the campus of the well known university in the capital named JNU, to interviewing the Banaras scholar who rightly believes that dalits have no right to education and decent living. Untouchability is not only practiced in the Hindu religion but also in other religions like Sikhism and Christianity hidden in different forms and names.
Itâ€™s really a film with a difference for it made me realize that how much backward and narrow minded our Indian society still is. How much oppressed the backward classes of the society still are today and how important reservation for these classes in different sectors of the society is .The film maker and activist Stalin has really put in all his efforts to make the people realize the plight of the dalits. Living in an urban surrounding and having to go to the best schools and colleges of the city it is difficult to be aware of such ills in the society though the urban dalit population too has its own share of urban discrimination. The discrimination faced by urban dalits is different from the rural dalits but after all its discrimination somehow or the other.
As for the film the better part about it was that it had interviewed the Banaras scholar and other Hindu scholars who believed in the caste system and preached to the people about it. This help show a better picture of both the sides of the story, as caste discrimination is a very complex and sensitive topic. It had also interviewed the urban dalit doctor and his wife who is a lecturer at a college .This made a better impact on people as the film showed both the urban and rural dalit problems. I was deeply touched by the story of the girl studying in the Jawaharlal Nehru University known as one of the best universities in the country to have such cases happening. All these accounts were eye openers to the audience for it made us realize that urban culture showing itself as liberal from the outside has caste based discriminations hidden in different forms and ways.
This documentary could also have elaborated and focused more on the caste discrimination in the urban metropolitan cities and could have interviewed college principles and school teachers on their outlook to caste discrimination. This could have possibly created a more powerful impact on the students and teachers watching this documentary. Everyone is aware of the caste discriminations and dalit conditions in the villages but having to look at the urban dalit populations problems would have made people realize that education alone cannot change the mindsets of the Indian society, religious backgrounds and family teachings have a more deeper influence on us as individuals.