If you've seen more mustache selfies on Twitter than usual today, it's not an early start to No Shave November (an annual campaign that raises cancer awareness). These men are using their facial hair to spark another important dialogue — and the story behind it will break your heart.
Recently a dalit boy, a member of a lower caste in India, was stabbed in the village of Limbodara in Western India as he was returning home from school, according to The Indian Express. The reason? For having a mustache.
Sadly, this wasn't the first incident either. Assaults of this kind have been reportedly running rampant in villages in India, with three other attacks reported just this week. The Times of India explains that discrimination against dalits is not just recent news. Historically, due to the caste system in India, dalit citizens have long been "forbidden" from wearing a mustache (or riding a bicycle or a horse during weddings), because it's below their "class." And people are rightfully horrified.
More than 300 men from surrounding villages gathered to stand up against the heinous acts — and the prejudice that fuels them. They designed a logo, which features a mustache with a crown and the words "Mr. Dalit" printed above it. The men have been changing their WhatsApp displays and Facebook cover photos to the image as a means to spread the word, protest, and raise awareness. "Casteism does not allow me to sport a mustache but this country's constitution gives me absolute freedom to sport one. I am in support of a casteless India," wrote Manish Manjulaben Siddharth, according to the Times Of India.
And now, many Indian men have taken the message a step further and are actually posting selfies of their mustaches with the hashtag #MrDalit, to show that they're standing up against the discrimination, violence, and unconstitutional treatment. The Indian Express reports that the Indian government has yet to make a comment, but we will update this story as it unfolds.
Read these stories next: