ServLife’s Executive Director, Adam Nevins, sat down with Nepal Director Bekharaj to discuss issues of racism and prejudice. Bekharaj shared that racism and prejudice manifest in Nepal mostly through the caste system. “The lower caste, they won’t get the good jobs,” Bekharaj explains. “Even their work is determined by their caste system.”
The caste system in Nepal is based on Hinduism. They believe each caste emerged from the body of the creator god, Brahma. From his mouth comes the high caste, who are priests and teachers. The second caste is from his arms, and they are warriors and rulers. The next caste is from his thigh and are merchants, craftsman and farmers. And the lowest caste, the Dalits, are from his foot and are laborers and service providers. Even if those in the Dalit caste are educated (which is rare) and capable, they cannot get the same jobs and opportunities so readily available to the higher caste.
“The best way to fight against prejudice is, we need to change their heart,” Bekharaj shares. “And how we can change their heart, I think only God can change the heart of the people. So when we come to know Christ, Lord Jesus, then God can change our heart.”
When Nevins asked what encouragement Bekharaj would have for us in the USA as we are struggling with our deeply-seeded racism, he replied, “We all are created in the image of God. Therefore, everyone matters to God. Every life matters to God. Because we are special in the eyes of God. Therefore, even disabled people matter. Black people matter. And white people matter. So we have to love them… Because, if we love God, it will be very easy for us to love people as well. But if we say we only love God but we don’t love people, that is also, we are not obeying God… We have to fight against injustice and we have to give respect to people.”
In many ways, Bekharaj was summarizing 1st John, which says:
“Let’s not love with words or speech but with action and truth. Dear friends, let’s love each other, because love is from God, and everyone who loves is born from God and knows God. The person who doesn’t love does not know God, because God is love. This is how the love of God is revealed to us: God has sent his only Son into the world so that we can live through him. This is love: it is not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as the sacrifice that deals with our sins. Dear friends, if God loved us this way, we also ought to love each other.”
1 John 3:18; 4:7-11 CEB