Although the Indian caste system was outlawed in the 1950s, even today caste discrimination is still rife in Indian society. The position of many Dalits, who occupy the lowest rungs of the social ladder, continues to be quite desperate. But there are exceptions to the rule. Kalpana Saroj is a Dalit, who was once an abused child bride but later became the head a multi-million dollar company.
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Most Dalits, or “untouchables”, are condemned to illiteracy, poverty, doing dirty and dangerous jobs nobody else dares to take up. Even if you beat the odds and get an education for example, you’re still looked down on.
Kalpana has managed to take her future into her own hands and as a real life Slumdog Millionaire people now applaud her strength. But she maintains to be humble.
“I was born a human being and I will die a human being,” she now says. “I’ve looked after my parents when they were old and ailing. I’ve helped my society and my caste. I think I’ll die having fulfilled my basic obligations as a human being and I’m happy about that.”