K.R.Narayanan was a lauded hero and a distinguished victim of his Dalit background. Even in an international platform when he was on an official visit to Paris, the media headlines blazed, 'An Untouchable at Elysee'. He was visibly upset and it proved that a Dalit who rose up to such heights was never spared from the pangs of outcaste-ness and untouchability, which is based on birth. Thus, if the erstwhile first citizen of India faces such humiliation, what will be the plight of the last man who is a Dalit? As one of the world's largest socio-economically oppressed, culturally subjugated and politically marginalized group of people, the 138 million Dalits in India suffer not only from the excesses of the traditional oppressor castes, but also from State Oppression - which includes, but is not limited to, authoritarianism, police brutality, economic embargo, criminalization of activists, electoral violence, repressive laws that aim to curb fundamental rights, and the non-implementation of laws that safeguard Dalit rights. The Dalits were considered untouchable for thousands of years by the Hindu society until the Constitution of India officially abolished the practice of untouchability in 1950.
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[v1] 11 Mar 2010
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