In India, people are divided into societal classes known as the caste system.
The highest group, Bhramin, consists of priests and teachers. The second highest group, Kshatryia, contains warriors and kings. The third group is Vaishya, which is made up of merchants, landowners, and business people. The fourth group, Sudra, contains common people, peasants, and servants. The fifth and last group, the Dalit, are made up of the untouchables.
Dalit comes from the Sanskrit root dal- and means “broken, ground-down, downtrodden, or oppressed.” Another definition for Dalit is “those who have been broken and ground down by those above them in the social hierarchy in a deliberate and active way.”
Dalits in India are treated as outcasts. They are often mistreated, abused, ignored, and dehumanized. Many people have spoken out against the injustice of the caste system. One of those people was Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi did not look down on the Dalit. In fact, he came up with another name for them – the Harijan, or “children of God.” He saw the untouchables as blessed because of the hardships they had to endure.
In God’s sight, we are all untouchables.
Our sins make all of us impure before God. God does not save based on our wealth or based on what family we were born in to. The amount of education we receive is not what pushes God to redeem us. God does not esteem one set of people higher than any other. We are all the same to Him – sheep without a shepherd, sinners in need of salvation.
John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the WORLD that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOEVER believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
God is not willing that ANY should perish but that ALL should come to repentance.
Jesus came to preach the Gospel to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and to set at liberty those who are oppressed.
When we acknowledge how dirty we are and admit our need to be saved, we are no longer untouchable.
We are no longer outcasts. We are brought out of the darkness and into God’s marvelous light. We are made a part of His holy family.
We are loved as sons and daughters. We are crowned princes and princesses of the King and given a place in His everlasting Kingdom.
Indeed, we are the Harijan. The children of God.
Image credit: Indian Dalit women, members of the outcast community once known as untouchables, listen to a speaker at a sit in protest on Human Rights Day. ALTAF QADRI / AP, FILE