Next DASJ Award Rescheduled

Ordinary people,
An extraordinary fight

The Darnal Award for Social Justice recognizes young leaders working toward a more equitable future

Eliminating caste-based discrimination

The Darnal Award for Social Justice unites people and organizations fighting for equal dignity and equal rights

Tomorrow’s leaders are already fighting

The Darnal Award for Social Justice recognizes and elevates the work of young leaders from Nepal’s Dalit community and other marginalized communities

Darnal Award Date Change to June 8, 2022

DASJ to be hosted on Suvash's birthday, June 8th.
In keeping with global tradition on commemorating human rights leaders, the Darnal Award for Social Justice (DASJ) ceremony and symposium will now be held on Suvash’s birthday rather than on August 15, the anniversary of his death. This reflects the purpose of remembering and drawing inspiration from Suvash’s life and legacy for recognizing new social justice leaders worldwide.

We believe in the power of
ordinary PEOPLE

Inspired by the short but extraordinary life of social justice activist Suvash Darnal, the Darnal Award for Social Justice (DASJ) is a biennial international award that honors emerging change-makers working to end caste-based inequities and indignities.
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More than
Just an Award

The Darnal Award for Social Justice recognizes and elevates the work of individuals, organizations, and movements that have been fighting for Dalits and other marginalized communities in Nepal and beyond. It is awarded biennially in celebration of the extraordinary life and legacy of Suvash Darnal.
About the award
Students at Darnal School
Suvash Darnal

We celebrate and honor
Suvash Darnal

Born into a Dalit family in a small village in Palpa district, Suvash Darnal grew up acutely aware of the caste-based inequality and discrimination entrenched in Nepali society. His childhood years, the 1980s, were a period of epochal transformation for Nepal: the decade-long Maoist rebellion, the fall of the centuries-old monarchy, and the establishment of a federal democratic republic had created an atmosphere where historically marginalized groups could finally raise their voices. Against this backdrop, Suvash devoted himself to pushing Dalit social inclusion to the forefront of the national agenda.
About Suvash

The Darnal award past awardees
Leaders fighting for change

Saraswati Nepali

Saraswati Nepali

2018 DASJ Awardee
Born in a Dalit family in the Far-Western Nepal, Saraswati has been making important contributions in the field of social justice and human rights for Dalits and other marginalized communities
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Raksha Ram Harijan (Chamar)

Raksha Ram Harijan (Chamar)

2016 DASJ Awardee
Raksha Ram Harijan (Chamar) is the first recipient of the inaugural Darnal Award for Social Justice. Only 28 years old at the time of the award, he had already made remarkable achievements in education, journalism and the law.
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Marching at caste protest

The fight against
Caste discrimination

The term “Dalit” takes its meaning from the Sanskrit word for broken, and is used today to refer to people belonging to castes that have been subjected to untouchability. Most Dalits live in Hindu-majority parts of Nepal and India—both countries in which the caste system and caste-based discrimination are officially illegal.

The enduring oppression that Nepal’s caste system inflicts upon Dalit communities appears in a multitude of ways, barring Dalits from accessing education, healthcare, justice, land, and economic opportunity in modern day Nepal. The notion of “untouchability” is used as a premise to prohibit Dalits from certain spaces and activities, particularly those involving food or water. They are often prohibited from entering temples, houses, hotels, and restaurants, and in other public spaces may be forced to physically separate themselves from others.
About Caste

Our Featured
Media articles

Ain’t we women: Multiple marginalisations of Dalit women in Nepal

Ain’t we women: Multiple marginalisations of Dalit women in Nepal

On March 11, 2018, Grishma Ram, a 15-year-old Dalit girl, was gang-raped in Saptari. Three were handed down sentences in connection with the case, but four perpetrators are still missing.
Full Story
Letter from founder

Letter from founder

As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has made Dalits and marginalized people around the world more vulnerable than ever before. For many communities, having to quarantine for an indefinite period of time is unprecedented; for Dalits, it parallels the social exclusion we have experienced for centuries, unusual only because distancing oneself in order to reduce the chance of COVID transmission has an actual scientific basis, in contract to the socially constructed caste system.
Full Story

A Touchable Woman's Untouchable Daughter: Interplay of Caste and Gender in Nepal

Drawing on more than a decade of multidisciplinary engagement with politics of dignity and social justice, this essay critically interrogates the influence of Hindu jurisprudence and its connections to the current Nepali constitution on the lower or ‘impure’ castes, especially women. The author argues that, notwithstanding the abolition of the caste system more than 50 years ago, the new constitution, which defines secularism as Sanatan Dharma–essentially preserving old Hindu traditions and practices under the law–continues to perpetuate discrimination against Dalits and other marginalized groups. She cites her own experience as an ‘untouchable’ child of a mixed-caste marriage and the tragic experience of an inter-caste alliance that led to the death of the ‘lower caste’ groom to examine our understanding of and prospects for love, violence, social inclusion/exclusion, family, citizenship, and society in Nepal. The essay succinctly focuses on the intersectionality of caste, class, gender, and religion that continues to shape everyday life and future of the ordinary people in the predominantly Hindu country
FuLl Story

Join our vision for a more
equitable world

 How does the DASJ story intersect with your own? The movement toward caste equality is a mosaic of ordinary people who have reached out and put their time and energy into pushing this cause forward. If you have an idea for how you can help, we want to hear from you.
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