Brahmin Priest Caste Four Brahmins, followers of the Hindu faith, wander the compound of the City Palace
Discrimination against India's lowest Hindu castes is technically illegal. But try telling that to the 160 million Untouchables, who face violent reprisals if they forget their place.
UNTOUCHABLES <ul><li>The total number of Untouchables in India is approximately sixty million, or 13.7 per cent of India’s population had to display extreme deference to high-status people, physically keeping their distance--lest their touch or even their shadow pollute others-. </li></ul>
UNTOUCHABLES <ul><li>The lowest-ranking had to jingle a little bell in warning of their polluting approach. In much of India, Dalits were prohibited from entering temples, using wells from which the "clean" castes drew their water, or even attending schools. In past centuries, dire punishments were prescribed for Dalits who read or even heard sacred texts. </li></ul>
CRUSHING WORK <ul><li>Hour after hour Untouchables break rocks to repair a rail bed in Rajasthan. They will earn one or two dollars a day. Because of their huge numbers—Untouchables now number 160 million, or 15 percent of India's people—many have had to leave their villages to seek work beyond their traditional caste occupations. Yet most Untouchable migrants merely exchange one kind of backbreaking labor for another, working in fields, construction sites, brick kilns, and stone quarries. </li></ul>
Water Rights Colorful jugs line a neighborhood well where an Untouchable family takes its turn at the daily ritual of gathering water. Across India members of upper castes often refuse to share water with Untouchables, convinced that any liquid will become polluted if it comes in contact with an Untouchable. In the countryside Untouchables are often forbidden to use the same wells and ponds as upper caste villagers. Municipal governments have begun to install separate water pumps. But in most rural tea shops, Untouchables still are not permitted to drink from glasses served to upper caste customers
<ul><li>Members of the Untouchable Dhobi caste beat the impurities out of clothes on the banks of the Yamuna River in Delhi. Life's "unclean" tasks, such as cleaning latrines and digging graves fall to those born into one of the hundreds of Untouchable castes. They face a lifetime of discrimination and brutality—prejudice that endures even though Untouchability is officially banned by the Indian constitution </li></ul>
<ul><li>Taj Mahal , is one of the most beautiful and costly tombs in the world. The Indian ruler Shah Jahan ordered it built in memory of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in 1629. The tomb stands at Agra in northern India. About 20,000 workers built it between about 1630 and 1650. </li></ul><ul><li>. Passages from the Muslim holy book, the Qur'an, decorate the outside along with inlaid floral patterns. Visitors can see the monuments through a carved alabaster screen. The bodies of Shah Jahan and his wife lie in a vault below. The tomb stands in a garden. </li></ul>