Friday, May 30, 2008
Here in Kathmandu, the declaration of the new Republic of Nepal is met with celebration and hope. Hope for peace, development and prosperity for the entire country and hope for the individuals who have been marginalized. For the Dalit man interviewed in today’s edition of The Himalayan, the hope is that he will no longer have to live like an outcast. He hopes that he can now eat in restaurants and be served tea without having to bring his own cup (considered dirty because of his caste). He hopes he can make new friends unavailable to him before. Yet, he worries that even though the system has officially changed and the new Constitution legislate will legislate equity, he may still be shunned by certain people and institutions. I am reminded of our own civil rights movement in the United States and how we continue to struggle for equality despite the rule of law. This Dalit man already knows that cultural norms and generations of bias are much harder to change than law. Here’s to hope!