ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Power to Dalits through Self-help Groups

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After reading the article “Women Break Hierarchies, Walk to Freedom” by Swapna Majumdar (EPW, 1 October 2016), I am shocked that, as recently as 14 August 2016, Dalits were being discriminated by the so-called higher castes in ­Uttar Pradesh. I have heard and read of Dalits not being allowed to enter temples earlier but this incident is different as Dalits have to take off their footwear while passing by the houses of the upper castes.

According to the ­article, “over 300 women from marginalised communities in the villages of Jhansi district came together to celebrate their freedom from the tyranny of an age-old social custom requiring them to take off their footwear while passing the houses of the upper castes. On Independence Day, by wearing their footwear in doing so, the women reaffirmed not just their liberation from this humiliating custom, but also underlined their power of self-determination and collectivisation.”

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