Caste-based discrimination has been lingering in India even in this age. Taking a different jab at the core of this horrendous tradition, a former rebel fighter who belongs to the caste of untouchables itself has come out with packaged foods that would have been regarded as impure just a couple of years ago. This is the first time that food has been shaped as a weapon to battle an age-old blasphemy.
Born into the Dalit Pasi community in North India, Chandra Bhan Prasad chose to deliver a strong message that would challenge cruelty towards what is considered as untouchables in the ancient Hindu social hierarchy. Prasad, who is now 58 years old, along with wife recently launched an online shopping site called “Dalit Foods”. This one of a kind online store sells pickles, grains, and spices but with a unique difference.
Prasad in an interview at New Delhi quoted that he was born impure, however, he had the right to sell pure.
The site isn’t just an online shopping website but it stands a chance to become a social movement as well. With the rise of a population that disregards all the social evils that we inherited from ancient times, the possibility of this site gaining popularity by setting a sentimental tone is huge.
To view this from a marketing angle, the branding of this site conceptualizes something that is out of the ordinary in the business world. Driving emotional attachment and picking on the sentiments of the consumers isn’t something which is new to the world of marketing. However, racial tension has never been touched by marketers due to its unpredictability of uncertain outcomes. Hence, “Dalit Foods” has done something which is out of the ordinary and shall present as quite the case to learn for marketers around the globe.
I grew up with untouchability and segregation. However, India has changed. I desire to watch how those who are born pure respond to my offering.
His statement and the social scenario clearly show that Indians are moving ahead from such social evils. However, we cannot ignore the fact that this perception may be a norm mostly within the urban areas. So, demographic positioning may be crucial for “Dalit Foods” to conduct their business as uncertainty lingers with the site penetrating less developed and rural regions.
A person who is believed to have been through the heinousness of caste discrimination, the sole motivation behind Prasad’s journey is his belief of Dalit edit being a healthy option.
Adulteration is a big problem within the food industry in our country. Therefore, it is probably the biggest reason for the lingering health problems today. And yet, I saw Dailts no less than 80 years of age who were healthy and performing hard labor, largely due to what they were eating; unprocessed, pure food.
As Prasad went on speaking his history, he said that they used be forced to feed on coarse foods that were reserved for servants and cattle. As gory it may sound, nevertheless, these food included millets and unpolished rice that currently are being considered as “Superfood”. His motive of taking the site live was to popularize Dalit foods, such as millets, and so on.
Prasad deliberately mentioned a large hotel chain that is buying Dalit Foods on a trial basis which has led to a rise in their number of customers.
“Dalit Foods” is surely a model worth looking into. Ending the interview, Prasad mentioned,
My business is a social experiment to see if India has really transformed, to see if people are willing to overcome their customs and biases for food that is pure.
[Image Source: Dalitfoods]