"I want to share a childhood incident which made a huge impression on my heart. It happened when I was doing my university degree, I was about 19 years ago. One day I went to a little far away village to attend a wedding. I went to small village restaurant to have a cup of tea. I ordered tea, lifted a teacup to my mouth and took a sip of delicious Indian masala tea."
Writes Brother Elisha, an Indian Christian national - please read on...
Suddenly I noticed, out of corner, a middle aged man standing on the front porch. He was barefoot and dusty from the road. The man lifted a cup from a tiny alcove in the wall outside. Then he sat on the rock in the dirt next to the restaurant. A waiter eventually came just to the edge of the porch. The waiter leaned over, pouring tea into the man’s cup. The man slowly drank the tea, savouring it. Then he wiped the cup with his shirt, laid a few coins on the porch and walked away.
As I observed this my heart was crying as I could clearly see that the man who drank tea sitting in the dust was an 'Untouchable'. I almost wept. I was reasoning, “What is the difference between an 'Untouchable' man who believes he must sit in the dirt and me, as an 'Untouchable', who sits on the table?” Because I am also from the same caste. I questioned myself, “Why I had the privilege of sitting on table while my fellow Dalit ('Untouchable') had to sit on the dust?”
I couldn’t understand much at that time. But slowly I could understand that my education allowed me to be treated with dignity and respect. It left a big impact on my life. But I didn’t have any idea or dream to educate my people, the Dalits.
I am praising God for giving me freedom in Him, loving me immensely irrespective of my caste, changing my mindset of being low, giving hope and giving me dreams and passion for my people. I am so thankful and grateful to Him.
67 years of Indian Independence has not much changed for Dalits. Still millions of Dalits live in thatched huts with stick walls, as you can see in the photo. My dream for my people is to enjoy the social, educational and political benefits that rest of the Indian society enjoys. Our peoples' lives will not be changed unless they are educated. We are so happy that we are on the way to make it happen.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for standing with us and partnering with us. We together can change the lives of Dalits with the Love of Christ. Thank You.