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A caste of millions

India's 160m Dalits, or untouchables, have turned to the internet to combat their mistreatment at home

By Dale Fishburn   May 2007

India’s river of life sweeps you along in a torrent of sounds, faces, smiles, smells and above all of distinct and individual-looking people. This diversity feels unlike that of the familiar modern metropolis. Many of the faces appear to be inhabiting their own universes, set off from the people around them. Some find this daunting. For others, it’s an exhilarating contrast to the world’s conformism. Welcome to the caste system.

Hereditary caste permeates Indian life to an extent that is hard for the outsider to appreciate. It defines almost everyone, and is elaborated through a myriad of sub-castes. A recent…

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