India – The Domino Effect
India. Kolkata. And Dalits, known as the untouchables. This is not a metaphor. In this country, a centuries-old tradition has divided people into castes. Dalits have been at the very bottom of the many–thousand-year-old social hierarchy. They are condemned to the worst professions, which are called “unclean”. It’s hard to imagine how one could escape such stigmatization. And yet! Dominika Kulczyk reaches out to Kolkata in order to support the project aimed at helping the children of prostitutes and Dalits.
Urmi Basu, an amazing woman, who herself went through hell, runs a New Light organization. She works with the children of prostitutes and, among others, Dalits in the Kalighat district in Kolkata. Dalits have been suffering from persecution for ages. They couldn’t enter temples, draw water from public resources, and people from higher castes didn’t want to eat with them from the same dish. They believed they could get infected. Dalits were subject to violence as they were perceived as inferior. Although the practice of untouchability has officially been forbidden, and the Indian constitution of 1950 doesn’t allow discrimination based on castes, Dalits are still a social group in need of help, who slowly get on their feet after being oppressed for ages. That’s why the work of Urmi Basu, who helps the children of crematory’s workers, is so crucial.
Kalighat also provides another dark image of the reality. Near the temple of Kali goddess, after whom Kalighat took its name, there is one of the red-light districts. Many women working there are victims of human trafficking, who have been lured to Kolkata with promises of decent work. They are frequently forced to work round the clock, while their children are left on their own and are thus exposed to all of the dangers present in this dark district. New Light gives them shelter, a warm meal, and an opportunity to study and branch out in such dangerous conditions. Here, a desire to follow their dreams, regardless of the reality in which they live, slowly wakes up in the children.
Watch “The Domino Effect” on Sunday, April 22nd, at 11:00 a.m. or on www.player.pl
The partner of the information action is the “Fakt” newspaper.