Saturday, April 6, 2013

I am Nobody...

"Jesus loves the little children...
All the children of the world..."

"The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather, the feeling of being unwanted."  Mother Teresa, from the book she authored: "Where There is Love, There is God: A Path to Closer Union with God and Greater Love" p. 82

Chapter 2 of the book, "No Longer a Slumdog" opens with this quote from Mother Teresa.  The author explains the history and origins of the caste system in India, dating back to over 1,500 years before Christ.  A cruel and dehumanizing system devised to protect the imagined superiority of the newly arrived Aryans in India over the indigenous peoples, this system allowed the Aryan minority to enrich themselves at the expense of the native peoples of India.  Thousands of years later, even though this system is officially outlawed by the government, the caste system still rules the minds and actual practices of the people of India.

To us as Americans, although we do experience some "class warfare" in our own nation, it is difficult to wrap our minds around a system as dehumanizing and brutal as the caste system in India.  K.P. Yohannan's book introduces the reader to a world of unimaginable deprivation and cruelty that leads to the rampant abuse and murder of men, women and children, based simply on the caste into which they were born.

In this system, caste is determined at birth and, as such, for those millions who live under the teachings of the caste system, there will never be any opportunity to rise above the caste an innocent child is assigned at birth.  The child born into the caste system, especially the lowest caste of all, the Dalits, or "Untouchables" is "cast off" at birth as sub-human, unworthy of the most basic human necessities - a simple home, food, clean drinking water, an opportunity to grow up and make a living, or live with any sense of human dignity.

As a Dalit, you are worthy of nothing but contempt.  You live in filth and are considered deserving of nothing more.  Literally, no one in the castes above you is allowed to even touch you, hence the name "Untouchables".  You will live and die in the slum you were born in.  Those who are above you consider you to be on the same level as a wild animal that ekes out a living eating from garbage cans and rolling in the mud.  You are nothing more than a "slumdog".

As a child of the Untouchables, you have no value beyond what others decide to do to you.  You will likely starve to death before you reach maturity, or you will be sold into child labor camps or child prostitution, where you may be tortured and murdered at the pleasure of your owner, often by the age of five.  Your parents may sell you because they have no hope of even feeding you when they cannot feed themselves.  If you are stolen or murdered, no one will report it, because no one cares.  You are nothing. 

This book is a shocking and eye-opening expose of the caste system in India, and the devastating effects it brings upon the familys of the Dalits, particularly the children.  It is tempting to put this book down and refuse to look at the horrors it describes.  But, these are children who are precious beyond measure to the Lord of the Universe, who suffered and died that they might be redeemed.  As followers of Jesus Christ, we have a vested interest in these children, simply because He cares for them.

All throughout this startling and compelling book. the author challenges us to remember the words of Christ, the passion and compassion He always showed us for the little children that flocked to Him on the hillsides and roads of Israel.  He never turned them away, but always challenged His disciples to make room for the children - to care for them, for they are precious to our God.  On p. 72, Yohannan draws the reader to remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 18:10 (NASB) "See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven".  We cannont turn away from the cries and anguish of these little ones without turning away from Christ, Himself...

I would like to close this post with a poem included in this book
(p. 45) written by the author from the perspective of one of the Dalit children.  It is heartbreaking...

I am nobody
Worthless my life is
To Untouchables I was born.
A Dalit child my fate sealed.
I was born in slums
Rights?  We have none
To upper-caste our lives we owe
Slaves to serve all their wish.
Poverty and hunger
Is all I ever knew
If there is hope
Tell me how?
What is my future?
Do I have any?
It all looks so dark
And I wish I was not born.


*Poem "I am Nobody" published by permission of gfa books, a division of Gospel for Asia. If you would like to receive a free copy of the book, "No Longer a Slumdog" by K.P. Yohannan, please send your request to: You may also like to consider sponsoring one of these children monthly through the Bridge of Hope. Contact to be a blessing to a child in desperate need.


  1. I find it extremely a God moment that I read your story when I just recently received my copy of The Slumdog book. Looking forward to reading it . We certainly do think alike.

  2. Yes, we do, Lottie. Glad you're reading it too. Yes, it is amazaing to see the threads God is weaving throughout the Body of Christ - I think you are right - this is indeed a "God moment"...


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