People of Kasalpura break bread with Dalits in mass feast

Mehsana, Jan 12 In order to fight the scourge of untouchability rampant in north Gujarat villages, people of Kasalpura village of Jotana taluka in Mehsana district have decided to break barriers between them and Dalits. They have chosen to break breads with Dalits in mass feasts.

“During mass feasts in the villages of north Gujarat, it’s a general practice to segregate Dalits from upper caste Hindus, by making them sit in separate lines or erecting a separate mandap (canopy) for them. However this time, we have decided to break down all the walls that separate us,” said Vijay Patel, a social worker and one of the organizers of the feast.

The three-day feast is being held from January 17 to January 19. The feast is being organized to mark the resurrection of Ramdevpir Temple in which the temple’s dome construction ceremony is going to be performed. Kasalpura has a population of just 1,250 people with majority of Patel community, followed by Thakors, Prajapatis and Dalits.

“In the past generations of this village, untouchability did exist, but it is no longer in existence in present time. Vijaybhai has taken the initiative of bridging the gap between Dalits and Savarns (upper caste Hindus). If the children of Dalits and Savarns sit side by side and eat the same food, a sense of brotherhood will be cultivated among them since their childhood. I congratulate the Savarns of my village to agree to participate in such a noble event,” said Mangal Chawda, a Dalit who retired as a class three officer from Mehsana taluka panchayat recently.

This is the fourth time, Kasalpura village is organizing such a feast. “In the past feasts too, Savarns of our village chose to eat with us,” said Chawda.

“Our village sets an example for the other 15 villages that surround us to emulate. In other villages, Dalits are still discriminated against when it comes to their participation in mass feasts. They are made to sit in separate lines or a separate mandap is erected for them with a separate kitchen,” said Kasalpura sarpanch Natu Patel.

“With such events, we want to convey the message of anti-casteism and abolition of untouchability to other villages,” he added. Credit

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