Morales posted regularly to a UUA blog during the Feb. 14-28 trip. He wrote several times about meeting members of the Dalit (“untouchables”) caste. In describing a visit to salt workers in Gujarat, he wrote:
For me this would be life in hell. Nothing green in sight (and I mean nothing) for miles. Living in a small tent in a desert. No electricity. Hard work all day. And they love it.
They love it because here they are free. They set their own pace. They have no overseer. In the village they are Dalits, “untouchables.” They are dehumanized every day. I realize that I take so many freedoms for granted. These untouchables are happy to endure enormous hardship for a small taste of freedom.
Here, in the desert of Gujarat, freedom tastes like salt.
Dea Brayden, assistant to the president, was the photographer for the trip. Above is her portrait of Dani, the widow of a Dalit activist murdered 25 years ago, whom the group visited at her home in the village of Golana in Gujarat.
see below for links to related resources.
- Transforming the lives of India's 'broken people'
- A brief introduction to India's caste system
- Hut schools for India's child laborers