Bengaluru: She is a head cook in a lower primary school in Nanjangud. But in all the 16 years that she has worked here Padmini (name changed) has never been allowed to touch the food served to the children.
Although most people in the village belong to the scheduled caste, the school where she works has hardly 16 children from the community while the rest are Kurubas.
“All these years I bought vegetables and cleaned the vessels, and was never allowed to touch the food while it was being prepared or serve it. Only the Kurubas were allowed to cook while the scheduled caste were chosen as helpers. Later I fought my way up and became head cook in 2016. But whenever I make the food only the 16 SC children come forward to eat it and the rest walk away,” she recounts.
Her helper though is a Kuruba and when she prepares the food in Padmini’s absence it is eaten by all children.
But it's not only in Nanjangud that untouchability still continues , but in many other villages too, where the scheduled caste are still not allowed to make food for school children.
In one incident a woman from Nanjangud was reportedly warned with dismissal if she spoke to the media and the village heads instructed everyone not to eat the food she made or even touched.