What Do the Mountains of Himachal Hide? A Simmering Caste Problem

Politics

What Do the Mountains of Himachal Hide? A Simmering Caste Problem

Illustration: Akshita Monga

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arlier this year, in the month of February, during a screening of PM Narendra Modi’s show Pariksha Par Charcha, Dalit students of a government school in Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu were made to sit outside the classroom, separate from the upper-caste pupils.

This might be news for those who know the state through the drug dens of Kasol – also part of the Kullu valley – that mix well with the sunshine and the supposed quietude of its mountains. Because who wouldn’t pick the fantasy of an apolitical, radically progressive pasture situated somewhere over the depressingly familiar reality? But for those of us who have grown up here know that the murder of Dalit rights activist Kedar Singh Jindan, about 10 days ago in the Sirmaur district of HP, is only a sign that perhaps, push has finally come to shove in a state that has callously looked over its casteism for decades.

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