In India, a broken system leaves a ‘broken’ people powerless

by Neeta Lal

In India, close to a million Dalit women work as manual scavengers: labourers who are forced to empty out dry latrines with their bare hands. Photo: Neeta Lal/IPS

As India paid glowing tributes to Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, the architect of its constitution and a champion of the downtrodden, on his 124nd birth anniversary last month, public attention also swivelled to the glaring social and economic discrimination that plagues the lives of lower-caste or ‘casteless’ communities – who comprise over 16 percent of the country’s 1.2 billion people.