New Internationalist

Cover for Combatting caste (Issue 380)

July 2005's Issue

In India, Leelaben has spent a lifetime carrying shit in a basket on her head. In the West, caste is still a criterion in some communities when looking for a bride or bridegroom. In Japan, the Internet is being used to incite hatred against the Buraku people.

These are among the countless examples of discrimination faced by the 250 million people who were born into what are considered to be ‘low’ or ‘untouchable’ castes.

Today, many such people in Asia call themselves Dalits – which means ‘the broken people’ but symbolizes their active resistance to the system that oppresses them. They are inspired by Dr Ambedkar, the Dalit who wrote the Indian Constitution, who said: ‘Ours is a battle not for wealth or for power. It is a battle for the reclamation of the human personality.’ The scandal is that in the 21st century this battle still continues.

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Featured in issue 380

Somalia

Somalia is the ultimate in ‘imagined communities’, the failed state whose fissiparous character is unique even in today’s splintered world. Situated in the dusty Horn of Africa, this is a country whose Transitional Federal Government (TFG) exists only cour

Riding for their lives

The bleak story of tiny children used as camel jockeys in the United Arab Emirates, told in photographs by Daoud Khan.

Interview with Israel's Refuseniks

Three of Israel’s refuseniks – Haggai Matar, Adam Maor, Matan Kaminer – explain why they could not serve in the army.

La Juderia

La Juderia by Yasmin Levy

Björk: Army of Me

Björk: Army of Me by Various Artists

Czech Dream

Czech Dream by Vit Viusak & Filip Remunda

Moolaadé

Moolaadé by Ousmane Sembène

Stop the War: The story of Britain's biggest mass movement

Stop the War by Andrew Murray & Lindsey German.

Shell Shock: The Secrets and Spin of an Oil Giant

Shell Shock: The Secrets and Spin of an Oil Giant by Ian Cummins and John Beasant.

Ao Toa: Earth Warriors

Ao Toa: Earth Warriors by Cathie Dunsford

Polyp's Big Bad World – July 2005

A bedtime story from the IMF Book of Fairytales.

Pope Benedict XVI

The NI predicted his ascent in this section back in September 2000 and now ‘God’s Rottweiler’ has become Pope Benedict XVI.

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Buried alive

A devastating industrial accident in Bangladesh puts the spotlight on global sweatshops

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China: demonstrable discontent

With China’s reforms crippled by political corruption and the rising gap between rich and poor, the Chinese Government is facing serious challenges from those who have been socio-economically disadvantaged.

Brazil throws Microsoft out of the windows

Brazil has pledged to invest heavily in its own software industry in a bid to keep pace with the technological advance of the developed nations.

Bolivar's broom

Argentine people power keeps up the pressure.

Ethiopia: Local people are out, wildlife is in

In November last year, 463 houses of the Guji-Oromo people in Nechasar National Park in southern Ethiopia were burned down by police and park authorities.

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South Africa’s prickly pear spikes poverty

Women in South Africa’s Fort Beaufort township can make a little money by selling prickly pear fruit on the streets, but a larger source of income comes from brewing the fruit into beer.

Hearts of Darkness

Massive military build-up in West Papua

On football

The inimitable Eduardo Galeano offers his thoughts on football.

Onnik Krikorian

On 24 April a march in Yerevan marked the 90th anniversary of the Armenian genocide and was photographed by Onnik Krikorian.

Between a rock and a hard place

Activist Sagar Bishwakarma argues that Dalits in Nepal are trapped between the Government and the Maoists.

A test of wills

Explosions rock Beirut, prompting in Reem Haddad fears of the bad old days of civil war.

Mariamma's shame

The girl had done nothing wrong – but her caste and sex meant that she was going to be punished all the same. By Dalit writer Bama.

I, A Brahmin

Why Brahmin writer U R Ananthamurthy got a hostile reception when he argued against the practice of Untouchability.

View from the top

An interview with KR Narayanan, India’s only Dalit President.

The caste system

The oldest social hierarchy in the world.

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The blacksmith and the noble

Stories that tell how castes came to be formed are no tall tales for people in Burkina Faso.

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Caste out

Nikki van der Gaag reveals how some practices persist even in the West.

Action and worth reading

Action contacts and resources for further reading

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Tied to the job

Caste still has to shake off its shackles in Africa.

The choice

When Manami Mori fell in love, her family saw only dishonour.

Combatting caste

Mari Marcel Thekaekara on the enduring evils of an ancient system of oppression and the struggles for dignity.

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Climate change adaptation (Issue 451)

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