On a wooden chair on a makeshift stage at Cat Café Studio, standup comedian Manaal Patil is holding forth to an appreciative Mumbai audience.
In his green striped T-shirt, he may not look like a pioneer, but Patil – who is getting laughs from poking fun at India’s caste system – belongs to the Dalit community, formerly known as “untouchables”.
At the bottom of the hierarchy in the Hindu social structure, Dalits still face discrimination, exclusion and poverty in modern India. In rural and urban areas, Dalits can usually get only menial jobs; many scavenge or clean sewers, even though “untouchability” was officially banned by the Indian constitution in 1950. Upper-caste Indians presume a supremacy over those in the lower layer of India’s entrenched system.
Source: The Guardian