The Christian community in Nepal has not been spared the wrath of society’s caste based inequality, even though bottom-rung Dalits are increasingly turning to Christianity as a means to escape their fate.
Religious conversions are illegal in Nepal but the numbers suggest many consider it a risk worth taking as the “untouchables” are among the most oppressed by this complex social system, which leaves no sphere untouched. Testament to how legions of Dalits are prepared to gamble on breaking the law in search of a more dignified life, Nepal now harbours one of the fastest growing Christian populations in the world. At least 12,000 churches have been built and millions are believed to have turned to Christianity despite a 2011 census claiming Christians make up just 1.4% of the population, or several hundred thousand people. A whopping 65% of the newly converted are Dalits, according to the National Christian Federation of Nepal.