WNN World News Portal – Christian Science Monitor (originally published on February 21)
New Delhi: Hindus believe a dip in the waters where the Ganges, Yamuna, and mythical Saraswati rivers meet during India’s Kumbh Mela Hindu religious festival cleanses them of their past sins, giving them a clean slate and helping them attain salvation.
When a group of about 100 women from lowest rank of society, dalits – formerly known as “untouchables” or “manual scavengers” – took a bath at the sacred site, of itself an extremely rare if not unheard of event for members of their community, they came out of the water proclaiming that their low status as “untouchable” had been dissolved.
Dalits are known as one of the most discriminated against people in India, generally prohibited from even touching members of higher castes. They are not generally allowed to perform most Hindu rituals, including the Kumbh dip. . .