Gospel for Asia: ‘Untouchable’ Boy Finds Acceptance, Love
WILLS POINT, TX — Gospel for Asia (GFA) — Discussing the cases of discrimination that many experience due to the difference in social standing, color or faith, and the God-inspired change through institutions like the Bridge of Hope Center, contributing a better future for many children and their families.
Through Bridge of Hope, walls of discrimination are being torn down for good, and Nihal’s future will be better than the generations before him.
It was 6 a.m. and the start of a new day for 6-year-old Nihal. He woke up knowing the first thing he had to do was feed the family pigs. It was a menial chore, and it would be his responsibility for the next six years.He headed out the door, grabbed a bucket and filled it with the thrown-away food he had collected from the nearest hostel. In about an hour, he’d walk a little over half a mile to a nearby pond with his father to let the pigs feast on roots before heading to school.Nihal enjoyed this work because he was proud to be like his father. But as he grew older, the realities of discrimination stole his joy.
He arrived at school after feeding the pigs looking disheveled and smelling a little like the animals he helped care for. When he tried to make friends with the young boys in his class, they pushed him away.
“You are a person who feeds pigs,” the kids at school mocked.
“It’s better you don’t come to us. … You are a very untouchable person and not clean people. So don’t come with us and don’t join [us in our games].”
Their words stung Nihal’s heart. He went home and lamented, “Father, why am I born into this family?”
Clash of Classes. Discrimination.
Nihal’s father, Santavir, had inherited the trade. Santavir’s father and grandfather both reared pigs for a living. It was all they knew to do.
“I can’t say whether I like raising pigs or not,” Santavir says.
“It has been passed down the generations. Now I am doing it as part of my professions and identity. I don’t know any other work.”
But in this particular region where they lived, rearing pigs was for the lowest of the low on the social ladder.
Those who belonged to the lower social classes weren’t allowed to drink water from the same well as those of higher social classes. They weren’t allowed to join in any community activities or visit anyone who had a higher social standing. They were considered “untouchable” and allotted the most demeaning jobs in society — which only perpetuated the discrimination.
“When people look down on me or ill-treat me,” Santavir says,
“I say to myself, ‘If only my father or grandfather had chosen a better job.’ … I am not able to do anything in changing the minds of those people … [But] I can teach my children and I can help them change their career, their future.”
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