Word Caste is derived from the Portuguese word “Casta”, which means lineage, breed, or race. Few years back, very interestingly few major cases of discrimination came into light from the developed nations such as USA and UK. (In one case an Indian millionaire couple was caught for exploiting a maid”, “in another case a Hindu father set on fires his daughter’s house in USA because she married a lower caste person”, one another news was “A Boston graduate was molested and sexually abused by a Hindu Priest of a Hindu temple in Moshi, Tanzania”). Today again, I read one another news from the newspaper – The Tribune – which reported “Indian couple in UK alleges caste discrimination”
Apart from all these there was news few days back that fanatic Hindus are strengthening their base in USA, UK universities through the Hindu students studying there. The mentality of these Hindus is if we can’t become like USA then what? We can make USA like India. I think one the same lines they have started working for! Around one in 25 people in the world experiences some form of caste discrimination. About 300 million people suffer caste discrimination throughout the world. More than half of these are in India.
Castes which earlier used to exist in India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh etc countries, now these incidents show that caste has been exported from India to the many other developed countries. This rising trend should be the area of concern of all the governments & all those who are concerned about the basic human rights and good community relationships. Despite India’s objection, first time in 2001 Caste Discrimination was brought in front of whole world (by the people working for Dalit Rights) at the World Conference Against Racism (WCAR) held at Durban. But still we see no change in the system, people those were suffering, still are suffering under the blot of caste system. When the darkness of casteism shed, no-body knows!
These incidents are not new, reports (July, 2006) of “Dalit Solidarity Network UK (DSN)” clearly showed Caste Discrimination prevailing in UK. When asked by DSN “Do you believe that Indian people in the UK follow the caste system? 84.67% people said YES. 80% agreed that caste divide people. Even in UK, USA, Canada and many other countries there are separate Gurudawaras (Temples of Sikhs) i.e. Ramgarhia, Jat (upper caste in Punjab), and Ravidasi (followers of Guru Ravidas) people can be seen visiting different Gurudawaras same as it happens in Punjab (India). Where Sikhism is heading? Sikh Gurus have treated everyone with equality and worked to abolish caste system but today’s Sikh leaders have lost that track.
Another research by Mark Juergensmeyer from UK states that, “Caste relationships between caste groups seem to be upheld to a great extent…the rules of endogamy (marrying within the caste group) are still strictly followed”. People face discrimination in political, education, employment & health sector mainly (as it happens in India), though may be somewhat lesser or to the same extant. The former Mayor of Coventry, Ram Lakha, a Labour Councillor who is a Dalit, faced intense discrimination from ‘upper castes’ when he stood for election in a largely Indian ward. ‘During campaigning he was often told that he would not get people’s vote as he was a “chamar”. So he filed his nomination in a non-Asian constituency and was able to win.
Few other past incidents reported are as follows:
A shopkeeper in Wolverhampton, England, tells of an incident where a customer insisted that their change be placed on the counter to avoid contact with someone from a lower caste.
On a factory floor, in Wolverhampton, England, women from so-called upper castes will not take water from the same tap as a lower caste person.
“Caste has caused division and it does cause social devastation. The problem is that nobody has accepted the problem within this country (UK). Caste is one area which is totally swept under the carpet”. — “The Caste Divide,” BBC Radio 4, April 2003
Rodiya community of Sri Lanka is considered as lower caste people, similarly Buraku community of Japan also have suffered same as Dalits are still suffering in India, but because of the Buddhism in Sri Lanka & Japan the condition of Buraku & Rodiya people is now somewhat better than the Dalits of India. It was considered that globalization will destroy the Caste but caste system is so deeply rooted in Hindu religious practices that there seems no such scope, wherever these Hindus will go, they will carry caste discrimination with themselves & will stop the development & harmony of that country. Is there any scope for human development if we continue to live with Caste Discrimination? As said by Dr Ambedkar that only escape is conversion from Hinduism, as such there is no use of living in the religion which teaches you discrimination & where there is no value of human & humanity.
Untouchables (Dalits) are made Religious, Economic and Political Slaves by means of Hindu Caste System. Noticing the new cases of caste discrimination in developed countries, I think it’s a hard time for the international leaders at UN to again rework on the present policies related to the “Caste Discrimination”. Also people who believed in “Basic Human Rights” from all over the world have to come forward to destroy “Hindu Caste System” and give justice to millions of people suffering since last thousands of years.
Listen to BBC4 radio’s documentary on caste system in UK at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b013rjbk and at http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/womanshour/04/2010_01_tue.shtml
P.S.: This article is continuation to my this post. Watch out the Segregation and Survival documentary from this link. Guardian Newspaper covered the story on caste discrimination at The Secret Scandal of Britain’s Caste System. To get connected please send your emails at email@example.com
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