7. Discrimination

In the Suri of the late 1980s, social discrimination was strong, if not at first utterly obvious to an outsider. However, it did not take long to realise where people were placed in the social hierarchy. This chapter explores the position of Dalits and women as it was then, and how it is now.

What is it like to realise, from the moment that you are able to start to make sense of the world around you, that you are considered inferior to everyone else? That by touching someone you pollute them, that you must always show respect to other castes – turn your eyes away when speaking, never raise your voice to express an opinion (yours is worthless), wash out your glass if given something to drink (to remove your pollution), always squat outside a house when visiting rather than sit with others, be excluded from sacred places (as otherwise they too will become polluted)….