Inter-caste Marriage in Nepal
Rockland resident Meghan Vigeant will present her multimedia documentary, Untouchable Love, about inter-caste marriage in Nepal at the Camden Library at 7:00 pm on Thursday, February 13. Vigeant’s presentation centers on two young dance teachers in Nepal. Nisha and Raj Kumar kept their love a secret for five years; when they finally eloped, Nisha’s family reacted with rage, violence, demonstrations, and kidnapping. They did not want their high-caste daughter to marry an “untouchable,” the lowest rung on the social ladder of the caste system. Their story offers a surprising discovery of freedom.
The presentation uses a mix of photos, audio, video, animation, and Vigeant’s live narration to tell the story; “it’s like a cross between a documentary video and a PowerPoint presentation,” Vigeant explains. Vigeant traveled to Nepal in November 2012 specifically to document Nisha and Raj’s story, and to research the caste system in Nepal. She learned that the caste system is not unique to Nepal, and can be found in over twelve countries. Unions between different castes are still taboo in Nepal, despite new laws. Many of those at the bottom of the caste system suffer from everyday inequalities, as well as horrible acts of violence and injustice. Some untouchables call themselvesdalits, meaning “broken people.”
“I wanted to show audiences how discrimination can be subtle,” Vigeant says. “There are so many disheartening stories of the struggles dalits face such as rape, violence, aggression, and institutionalized discrimination. Untouchable Love is a story of hope in the midst of those struggles. Nisha and Raj represent an emerging trend in Nepal and Southeast Asia, and their story reveals a new Nepal where people are judged, not by caste, but by their hearts.”
Attendees can enjoy a cup of Nepali tea before the presentation. A question and answer session will follow the half-hour presentation. Untouchable Love will also be presented at the Sheepscot General in Whitefield on Friday, February 7 at 6 pm.
In addition to her interest in documenting stories like Nisha and Raj’s, Vigeant is a personal historian who helps people to write and publish their family history and memoirs. More information about Vigeant and her business, Legacy Preserves, can be found at www.legacypreserves.com. To watch a trailer of Untouchable Love or to find links to learn more about dalits please go to untouchablelovestory.wordpress.com.