Originally from Rajound village in Kaithal district of Haryana, Dr Kaushal Panwar’s family was mostly engaged in scavenging and manual labour. Because of her father’s unstinting support, however, she went to school and college, and now teaches Sanskrit at Delhi University. Dr Panwar, who takes inspiration from none other than Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, shared her story on the Untouchability episode. Here, she speaks about the changes she sees around her today.
“The episode on untouchability was the first time that this issue was discussed so openly across all strata of society. After the show aired, many people from Delhi made CDs of the episode and took them to various villages. I feel that social sensitivity has increased, and people are more aware.
I get hundreds of calls every day. I was contacted by a professor from Trivandrum who told me that all his life he had been hiding the fact that he is a Dalit. He said that he was afraid to tell people about his caste, but was pleased to see me talk about it so openly.
The government too has been forced to take concrete steps in terms of Policymaking for example, the anti-manual scavenging bill was passed in 2013. There is greater social pressure now against untouchability.”