Spotlight on Injustice
Injustice's such as poverty are not a natural phenomena, they are man-made, created and upheld by power structures that ought to be opposed, but how? Fighting injustice with violence, only brings more violence and, at best, merely reorders the power hierarchy. Challenging the system itself requires more then just rejecting the current order, it needs a living, breathing alternative. One that models an equality and love so oppositional that it shines a spotlight on injustice and those that inflict it. It’s the confrontation found in the caring for of widows and orphans, the sacrificial service and exaltation of those at the bottom. It’s 16 brand new, top of the market homes, built for a forgotten lepers colony in the small town of Narsapur, India.
Most of India still operates under the caste systems, a social and political pecking order that determines ones worth, their occupation and future. The name “leper’s colony” isn’t a term we use to describe the medical condition of these people, it's their caste. It's the name that places them at the bottom of this oppressive system and enslaves them to poverty. Or at least it was!
Last week we held a huge celebration to mark the opening of the colony’s new homes... and their new name. For the first time in the State of Andra Pradesh, local government approved the renaming of a caste. They shall no longer be known as the “lepers colony” but the “New Life Colony”. In a system that says these people shall have the least, they are now the proud home owners of the best. Where their worth and rank were determined by the name an oppressive system gave them, they shall no longer answer to that name. It is a feat that was celebrated with the party of all parties! Indian politicians and dignitaries gave their speeches and as they left the place erupted with music, dancing and fireworks.
These houses haven’t just provided safe homes to people whose lives were threatened everyday by a concrete ceiling that could of fallen on them at any given moment, these houses have defiantly confronted the exploitative system that impoverished them in the first place. The generous people that made this project a reality, they have not just changed the lives of over 60 grateful individuals, they have dared to turn an entire system on its head and change the lives of many. The oppressive hierarchy of the caste system has coped a blow and the cracks are spreading in this little town. Those in "backward" castes, who have only ever known poverty and have resigned to the fact that they deserve nothing else, are now re-imagining new, different possibilities. So, to those who gave; to the rebels, the agitators who refused to accept the inequality enslaving these people, to those who have shone a spotlight on injustice, thank you… let’s do it again!