Are Untouchables still discriminated against in India?

I read that India’s new President, Ram Nath Kovind, is a Dalit or Untouchable and assumed that this meant the caste was no longer treated as pariahs by the other castes. But I’m sure I saw recently that the caste system is still very much alive in India, especially in rural areas. If so how can the President do his job properly if he is seen by a substantial part of the population as the lowest of the low?

What’s the straight dope on this?

I am not sure if there is a factual answer to this question and it may better belong to GD.

In many ways, Caste System discrimination in India is much like Racism in USA. In Indian villages and small towns, caste system still has its hold just like Racism in the Deep South.

In one way, it is different from the US, is that India has been big on affirmative action for the lower castes. Affirmative action has been active in all federal and state jobs, colleges / universities and many public offices are reserved too.

The situation is much better than when the Brits left India.

It should be noted that Kovind is not the first Dalit President of India. KR Narayan, a Dalit, was President from 1992 to 1997. And Dalits have served as provincial chief ministers, as federal cabinet ministers, as Chief Justice of India, as Speaker of the Lok Sabha, etc.

Thanks, guys. I had no idea there had been a previous Dalit President. And I take the point about this being more suited to GD. Please move, mods, if you feel so inclined.

From what I’ve read, the comparison to US racism is apt. More common in rural areas, and you still have the attitude “I wouldn’t want my family to marry one” from many people - simply also because of a far of how other people would see your family. Plus, India still has a dowry system (expectation?) in a lot of places and the population groups that tend to be poorer can’t give as much.

Here is the review of a book that was just published on the topic. GQ answer? Yes.