Caste on camera

Communities across India document the continuance of untouchability in this Video Volunteers series

For all those who believe that untouchability practices are a thing of the last century, these videos will relate a different story. In the run-up to April 14, 2012, Ambedkar Jayanti, community correspondents trained by Video Volunteers captured images rarely witnessed by outsiders.

"As a child, I had experienced untouchability at school where I was forced to sit and eat separately from the children of upper-caste families," says 24-year-old community correspondent Neeru Rathod from Limbdi village in Gujarat. "We wanted to give viewers the responsibility, as witnesses, to end this age-old oppression once and for all."

Sign the Article 17: Campaign to end untouchability petition here:

Dalit children sit separately to eat their mid-day meals and their parents talk about how this affects their children. Gairsen, Uttarakhand. By Luxmi Nautiyal.

Women in rural Rajasthan pay their sweepers in kind with food, refusing to touch them, and throwing the stale rotis into their saris. By Sunita Kasera.

Dalits in Trichy, Tamilnadu, are told that they have to go to a separate temple and cannot enter the 'upper caste' temple. By Margaret Jeoji.

Dalits in rural Rajasthan have to take off their footwear while walking in the 'upper caste' neighbourhood.By Sunita Kasera.

Inter-caste marriage results in the murder of a dalit Sikh in Punjab. Caste continues to be practised by Sikhs. By Jai Kumar.

At a bus stop in rural Gujarat, dalits are not allowed to enter the parab, where water is served free to travellers. Instead, they have to help themselves from a small tap at ground level.  By Girish Parmar.

A dalit in Hissar, Haryana, dared to drink water from a water pot meant for the 'upper castes'. Angered by this they cut his hand. By Jai Kumar.

Dalits cleaning gutters with bare hands, and talking about why they still do this work, Walhe, Maharashtra. By Rohini Powar.

A dalit sewerage worker in Ludhiana, Punjab, was pulled out of the gutter, dead. Other sewerage workers describe the absence of safety nets provided by their bosses. By Jai Kumar.

On September 11, 2011, in Parmakudi, Tamilnadu, the police used teargas, lathis and bullets on an unarmed crowd of dalits peacefully protesting against the arrest of their leader. Five protestors were killed and 30 injured. By Mani Manickem.

Dalits have always had a separate crematorium. Recently, the land for their crematorium was taken over, forcing them to burn the bodies by the side of the road. By Satyawan Verma. 

Dalit in Kurukshetra, Harayana, try to enter a temple on Mahashivratri and are stopped by Jats. An argument ensues but they are denied access.By Amit Kumar.

A barber in Chhattisgarh will not service dalits. By Bhan Sahu.

Migrant tribals in Raipur are told to use a tap that is far away because, they are told, they do 'dirty work'By Sarwat Naqvi.

Midwives, who are traditionally dalits, are not allowed to attend the naming ceremonies of the children deliver. If a midwife wants to give a gift, she has to call the family outside. By Bhan Sahu.

Dalit houses in a village in Udaipur district, Rajasthan, are outside the main part of the village, and neglected by the panchayat. The custom of dalits living separately in Indian villages persists. By Shambu Kathik.

Dalits clean gutters with bare hands, and talk about why they still do this work.

Muslims in Chhattisgarh still abide by the dictates of caste. Kshatriya Muslims won't marry dalit Muslims.By Sarwat Naqvi.