HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
DAILEKH: Call it a segregation or discrimination, but the hard truth is in Dailekh’s Bastakot village one cannot miss the spectacle of four separate water taps for four different castes.
And this is nothing new here or that matter in other parts of the country. It has been the way of life here for ages, and if some locals are to be believed it has come down the ancient times.
Four separate water taps for Dalits and non-Dalits in western Dailekh’s Jambukandh-8, Bastakot village was the life that nobody appears to have any problem anymore.
According to locals, these taps were constructed according to the caste hierarchy. Lowest tap has been allotted for Damai, medium sized for Kami, a bit higher for Karki and highest for Brahmin communities.
Local Dalit women said that the trend to give priority to the higher caste people to use their taps first then only the lower castes people can do their daily works is still prevalent here.
Lalsari BK, a local, said that they can use their taps freely when any so-called higher castes people would not be there. She further said that Brahmins and Karki first sprinkle gold-water to purify the taps used by them before using theirs.
Earlier four castes people were using four separate taps but now Brahmin and Karki use two taps and Kami and Dami use the other two.
Social activist Jhaaka Prasad Sharma said that only four castes people live in Bastakot village so the trend of using separate taps has been still prevalent since the ancient period. Such discrimination regarding the use of water is rife in this village, he added.
Eight Damai, seven Kami, four Karki and six houses of Brahmin communities use the four taps.
Similarly, there were three separate ponds for three different castes people in Dailekh’s west VDC Rakamakarnali some months earlier.
VDC secretary Ganesh Ban Sanyashi said that with the cooperation of people from three castes and with the support of VDC one pond has been constructed to eliminate the existing discrimination in the village.
Dalit rights activist Prem Bhurtel said that a strong campaign should be conducted to eliminate the existing caste hierarchy discrimination in Dailekh. He said not only in villages, but discrimination still exists in the headquarters as well.
Bhurtel said that Sete Damai (52) of Toli-2, Dhani village, had lost her life just because his son had tied the knot with a girl from another caste. Many other couples who have got inter caste marriage have been displaced due to the discrimination based on the caste system.