A Dalit mother from Bihar is determined to “continue to stay a Dalitas mother” and her family in Bihar has not only left their home, but also her husband, two children and a relative.
“I am still a Dalite mother and my family will continue to be Dalits mothers,” said Maheshwar, 42, who is married to a Biju family member.
Mahesparyam, an engineer, said her husband and her two daughters and a brother-in-law were among the family that left their homes in the town of Thane and their belongings in an abandoned building in Mahabalipuram district, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) west of the city of Kanyakumari.
“They were all Dalit,” Mahespuram said.
“The situation has changed in Bihar since they left.
There is no caste system here.
The government should not be interfering in the lives of these families.”
Mahesmaryam’s husband, Bijulabhai, a construction worker, and his family have settled in a bungalow near the house where they were born.
“It is not the right place for us to stay,” he said.
Bijulsarabhai has left behind his two sons, Anil and Gajendra, and three daughters.
“We were born in the house and have never been to a school,” he explained.
“After we left, my wife said, ‘It is better to go and work abroad or find a job abroad, than to live in a house and be a burden to my family.’
We had nothing.
It was a very difficult decision.”
Maesparyan, who has been working in construction since she was eight years old, said she did not expect her family to leave but decided to do so because she was told by her parents, “they will leave you here.
You can’t stay here and you have to go to work in a foreign country.”
The family was planning to move to a nearby village.
“My wife and I were happy that the government had given us a new house,” she said.
In Bihar, Dalits make up about 5 per cent of the population.
“Dalits are poor and they are treated as second-class citizens in many places.
But it’s very difficult to leave the place where you were born, where your family and your parents are,” said Sivakumar, a journalist who has lived in Bihar for 15 years.
“Most Dalits do not leave their homes.
They want to continue living in the same place as their family.
They do not want to leave their community and they don’t want to go out.”
The government of Bihar said the decision was made to ensure the welfare of Dalits and ensure the well-being of their families.
“A Dalit has no rights but he has a duty to his family and he has the right to leave his home,” Bihar Minister of State for Home Prakash Javadekar said.
Javadek said the government has a programme to create jobs for Dalits in construction and other sectors.
“Our programme is to ensure that Dalits continue to grow and prosper,” he added.
In Kanyagiri district, the home of the Bijudu family, the family is living in a single-room-occupancy bungalows built on land belonging to the Jadhavu family.
The family moved into a two-room home near their house in the district’s village of Nanda.
They were given a new place in which to settle.
The Bijuds are the second Dalit families in Kanyagarhi to leave for the capital city.
The village was one of the last bastions of Dalit communities in Bihar.
In the village of Dharapur, which lies just 200 kilometres (125 miles) from the capital, a Dalita family was told that the new home would be their last home.
“Even now, the people of the village are against us.
They are saying we are criminals,” said Nandan, a resident of the Dharpura area of Kivir, where the Bodi family lived.
“Now, they want to keep the village as a Dalitha village,” he told The Times.
The new house in Kiviri is a three-bedroom house and has a garden.
“At the moment, I am living with my mother and father.
My family is not coming here.
We want to live a normal life here,” said Pankaj.
Nandan said the family was offered accommodation by a government agency.
“But they said, “You have to leave us here because we have been given a house.
If the government doesn’t help us, we will leave