In India, the caste system is a system of classification of people into groups based on shared socio-economic conditions ... a relational set of inequalities with economic, social, political and ideological dimensions." When differences lead to greater status, power or privilege for some groups over the other it is called social stratification. It is a system by which society ranks categories of people in a hierarchy. Varna is the term for the four broad ranks into which traditional Hindu society is divided. Certain groups, now known as "Dalits", were excluded from the varna system altogether, ostracized by all other castes and treated as untouchables.
Although strongly identified with Hindus, the caste systems has been carried over to other religions on the Indian subcontinent, including Buddhists, Christians, Sikhs.
INDIA UNTOUCHED will make it impossible for anyone in India to deny that Untouchability is still practiced today. Director Stalin K. and his team spent four years traveling the length and breadth of India to bear witness to the continued exclusion and segregation of those considered as 'Untouchables' .
The film introduces leading Benares scholars who interpret Hindu scriptures to mean that Dalits 'have no right' to education, and Rajput farmers who proudly proclaim that the police must seek their permission before pursuing cases of atrocities on Dalits. The film captures many 'firsts-on-film, ' such as Dalits being forced to dismount from their cycles and remove their shoes when in the upper caste part of the village.
It exposes the continuation of caste practices and Untouchability in Sikhism, Christianity and Islam, amongst the Communists in Kerala and within some of India's most revered academic and professional institutions.
In an age where the media projects only one image of a 'rising' or 'poised' India, this film reminds us how far the country is from being an equal society. Traveling through eight states and four religions, this film is perhaps the deepest exploration of caste oppression ever undertaken on film.