Before leaving for India in 2009 to dedicate 10 newly drilled wells funded by our team of Sonoma County kids, we discussed the cold hard facts of life as a Dalit with our 8 year old twins. There’s only so much an 8 year old can wrap their head around, and the falsities behind years of oppression are really too much to expect anyone to grasp. The term “untouchable” is just one of these terms we had laid on them at their tender age.
Weeks later as we stood at the mountaintop of a tribal village waiting for the rest of our team to arrive by motorbike, we adults laughed, and talked with each other, and drank from our water bottles. The people from the village, most having never seen anyone outside of it, lined up in two rows, waiting to welcome us in the hot hot sun.
With my back to them I looked down the hill for my husband to arrive safely with my young son, only to feel his twin sister slip away from my side.
She had waited long enough. I watched in silence as she made her way down the lines of people. One by one she touched them. On their arm, shaking their hands, with her smile. She was doing the only thing she knew how to do to rectify the injustice based on her understanding of “untouchable”.
For someone who has been told their entire life they are “untouchable”, and their very presence contaminates those around them… In one touch we dispel this lie. No training required. No age limit. No degree. No religion. No human effort does this.