How Can Dalit Rights Activists Use Crowdfunding?
Caste is an ancient and exploitative institution in India. It relies on the idea that some people are less human than others. It depends on the Varna system where society is divided between the educated Brahmins, the warrior Kshatriyas, the businessmen Vaishyas and the menial labourer Shudras. However, many more subcastes are prevalent and the usage of the caste system varies from region to region. Various castes live beyond this four tiered system that are made to clean toilets, denied education and entrance to temples and access to drinking water. Moreover, as Dalit activists have found out eventually, various educated savarnas are willing to defend this system simply to retain their own social privilege.
Dalit activists work with a population terribly disenfranchised. Dalit history, much like adivaasi history is not taught in schools. Most people live under the assumption that caste is a thing of the past. Yet, it exists like an open wound on our society which we choose to ignore while more and more Dalits get disenfranchised.
The first way of empowering Dalits is through education. And this education must be on scientific, rational basis. Dalit activists have long led campaigns to set up better schools for Dalit children. In rural India, most Dalit children go to a school different from the one savarna children go to. If Dalit activists groups took to crowdfunding to set up high quality schools for Dalit students, the problem can be solved to some degree.
Crowdfunding platforms like Impact Guru have already worked extensively on medical crowdfunding and NGO crowdfunding. Crowdfunding for Dalit rights is the next gradual step.
The second way in which crowdfunding India can help Dalit rights activists is by raising money for cases of SC/ST atrocities. Although an SC/ST Atrocities Act is existent in the country, the legal process is expensive and tiresome. Dalit individuals may shy away from filing cases simply because of this. If a collective of financial resources can be built to fight SC/ST atrocities cases, finding justice might get easier. Crowdfunding can help Dalit rights activists achieve this.
Another way in which crowdfunding India can help Dalit rights activists is by allowing them to set up funds for the higher education of Dalit students who often find themselves unable to pursue specialized education in shining fields. For example, Dalits can rarely be found in the area of editing and publishing, newspapers etc. Dalit art is never considered good enough for galleries and literature by Dalits is considered to be second class. Dalit rights activists can set up an alternative system by crowdfunding.
If this kind of parallel Dalit system is set up where only Dalits can have access, then a lot of things might change. Dalit activists can crowdfund these ventures as they can be expensive. I could go on about all the various parallel systems they could set up, but literally every system is dominated by savarnas. This means every system can have its own parallel Dalit version. Crowdfunding India can ease the process.