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March 31, 2009
One woman fights for members of India’s lowest caste

The Worldfocus signature story “India’s untouchables trudge through sewers” explored the fate of India’s lowest class, forced to work in the sewers as a consequence of the country’s caste system.

Hema Konsotia is a member of India’s lower-caste Dalit community, known by some as the “untouchables.” She is also a college graduate and union activist who works with Dalits, teaching skills and urging political involvement.

Worldfocus correspondent Martin Himel introduces a pioneering young woman who advocates for others as she struggles to fulfill her own dreams.

For more information on her organization’s activities, Hemlata Kansotia can be reached at the Jaipur or Delhi offices of the Labour Education and Development Society.

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Comments

27 comments

#27

Hema is a very noble person.So she is from the “untouchables”.She wants to be married & have
a family.This American would marry her.

#26

I am both humbled and inspired by Hema for doing far more than what would normally be expected of one in her situation.
I was brought to tears seeing Hema speak of her mother being her primary guru, and persevere in her cause despite personal and social barriers.
I logged on to contribute financially towards her worthy cause.
re; the history of the caste system & comments: It is what it is ! Overcoming it is the Goal. This will take much time, and is done through education of the masses rather than the law. This is Hema’s cause. Let us support her!

#25

And here now come the missionaries just as they had been spoken of. Why don’t these brave courageous men of “god” try to proselytize in an islamic nation state to see what would happen?

#24

I meant to ask how we can support her financially. Thankyou.

#23

I also want to help Hema Konsotia. Please post the comment as soon as you come to know, how!

Also how do we contact Hema Konsotia? We would like to invite her for a talk as well as seminar in USA.

I write for Intercultural Magazine – Circles of Seven and I would like to get coverage there for Hema. The web link is http://www.CirclesofSeven.com

Thanks,
Paul

#22

There is only one caste here, it is called the human caste! http://www.youtube.com/user/50MillionMissing#p/a/u/1/3Yfnd8my6EE female genocide in India due to female feticide, dowry murders etc.

#21

The reason that the “dalits” are poor vagrants is due to the fact that their ancestors had historically chosen to be poor vagrants. This has been well reported in the past by people such as Fa-Hsien. The “chandalas” segregated themselves from mainstream indian society. The caste system was used as a division of labor in pre-industrial times, it should not be relevant in modern times. There are truly no “upper” castes, a person of an “upper” caste could change his/her trade and change his/her caste. The identification of a dalit was and is political, it was also used by christian missionaries to marginalize Hindu Brahman preists. Now that being said, of course the Indian government is totally corrupt and is an unmitigated disaster. India cannot even deal with failed and/or globally insignificant states such as pakistan, bangladesh and sri lanka (which are backed by foreign powers). The situation in India is similar to that of kmt China. The whole land/political/social system needs to be reformed dramatically if india is to even survive as india let alone becoming a major world power.

#20

Many viewers ask how can they contribute to this woman’s work? I join them and ask Worldfocus to respond, and not simply ignores us. Thank you.

#19

How can I link up with local or international groups involved in Dalit (Harijan) development projects? I am a social scientist with extensive rural development experience in Asia and Africa. This, I feel, would truly be spiritually fullfilling work.
My e-mail: ruslcramer@yahoo.com

#18

Amazing story, inspirational woman. Thank you World Focus for bringing this story to us. Yes, how can we send financial support to Hema?

#17

Caste system is always a problem in India. But dalit’s are now more organized and supported by the all the political parties in India. They have more benefits thn anybody else. Too many religion in India plus too many sects in one religion as well.
But the system is very corrupt. I think people should not descriminate whether you r dalit or other upper caste.
Hema is doing a good work,she belives equality for dalits why not for everybody. We are human first.

#16

I would echo sentiment of other writers: how does one provide financial support to Hema Konsotia? Or otherwise reach her?

#15

Prof. Ramaiah sent me your interview. I am glad that you are aware of this serious issue.
Our Center has done pioneering work at UN for last 2 decades which finally started a debate in UN. We also helped CNN to make a documentary in 1999.I would love to give u more information if you give me a call.
Yogesh Varhade, Founder-President, Ambedkar Center for Justice and Peace, Kingston,PA,USA, Tel.570-362-3885,

#14

I worked in India for 8 months at a steel company in a relatively remote part of India. Safety concerns were absent. I mentioned that people cannot wear thongs (flip-flops) for foot wear and believe it or not they got boots — atleast for the guys I was working with. I saw people changing lamps in the high bay standing on a hoist/desk/and chair with no tie off! This was 1996 time frame.

I agree with other comments — nominate Hema Konsotia for the Nobel Peace Prize. She is shaking the belief system and it needs shaking. Perhaps it isn’t her time but it should be.

Problem is, discussions I had with Indian engineers while in Pittsburgh, PA (for training) was “we can hire people to shop, clean, garden, and take care of out children — can you?”. Middle class people like the way it is! Not to mention the better off.

#13

I have spoken about haves and have-nots. To satisfy their hunger, the haves misutilize their physical and intellectual wealth and force the have-nots to become slaves and sinners to try to appease their own hunger. In the background there is a big exploiter; in the front, as his agents, are half-naked children. This is the cause of the downfall of society.

#12

Lila it dharmikas that is protected by Dharma. Religion has nothing to do with Dharma. Dhrama is the natural movement of life foward. Religion is generally dominated by backward thinking and clashes of the various scriptual differences.

#11

thoes who protact the religion are procted by the relegion keep going i apprecate u lot

#10

Jammer, democracy has a problem with propaganda coloring the minds of the citizens. That is why we have the term, “Foolarcy”. Yes, I agree – the US should not turn it back on international violations of human rights – just because the country is a “democracy”, however, the home country is the main problem when it does not try to prevent human exploitation.
Those who protect dharma are in turn protected by dharma.
Certainly, dharma stands for unity, social equality and social justice.

#9

Strong, inspirational woman.

#8

The grestest crime about is the West covering up these crimes simple because India is a so-called democracy. They can’t let it be known that democracries are very capable and no less a criminal in human rights violations of this magnitude. It goes against all the bull about how democracies care about human rights.

#7

A wise man said, “I often say that the caste system is hypocrisy – unreal. If you analyze the caste of human beings you will find that the ancestors of every human being were monkeys. In that case everybody’s caste is monkey caste. All this hypocrisy is to be given up. Is it that the ancestor of a Brahman-caste human being was a Brahman-caste monkey and that of a Untouchable-caste person a Untouchable-caste monkey?”

#6

Those who protect dharma are in turn protected by dharma.
Certainly, dharma stands for unity, social equality and social justice.

http://50millionmissing.wordpress.com/

#5

brilliant piece of work, and lovely woman, i hope she continues to find her way past her fathers understanding of life and continues to find for herself and her mother more and more. thanks for sharing this. somehow i had thought possibley hoped it was past us now.

#4

wonderful expressions of support. Thank you Martin Himmell, Sean McGinn and WF. Knowing such stories helps us to know there is need for help.

We must nominate Hema Konsotia for the Nobel Peace Prize that would really shake up the caste system in India.

#3

How can financial support be sent to Hema Konsotia? Can an account be set up for her, here in the USA?
Thank you

#2

I would also like to send support. WorldFocus should put together a facebook page for her and her mission.

#1

How can financial support be sent to Hema Konsotia? Thank you.

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