"Caste is not a physical object like a wall of bricks or a line of barbed wire which prevents the Hindus from co-mingling and which has, therefore, to be pulled down. Caste is a notion; it is a state of the mind." - B.R. Ambedkar
A non-descriptive village in Birbhum district of West Bengal. The nearest railway station of Sainthia is 20 km away. Couple of km down a red soiled track, six hay thatched houses sit in a loose cluster. The main village is a further 5 minute walk down the track. The six families are victim of casteism. Owing to their low cast in the sombre social cast system that still prominent in the country, these people are looked down upon in this region, where their identity is known to others. Many treat them as untouchables.
Interestingly, the profession of these six household magically uplifts their social status, temporarily. They are "Bahuroopis", meaning chameleons - they dress themselves up as a hindu god or goddess and put up a performance. As they transform themselves, all the disparage and disdains fade away that are otherwise associated with their normal self. As they perform in local festivals, fair grounds or when, on other days, they roam around in the neighbouring villages, people come towards them, gather around, applaud their enactment, gets enthralled, smile to them. This transformation, the make-up, the pseudo-divine identity empowers them with social inclusion.
As for the Bahuroopis, they doesn't dress up for this stop gap upliftment of their status. It is their bread and butter. It has been so for many generations, as they were denied to practice any other trade. The term Bohuroopi has in-fact become a suffix to their name and is used to establish their low cast or untouchability.