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Mainstream, VOL LI, No 35, August 17, 2013 - Independence Day Special

Great Britain under the Spreading Fangs of Caste

Sunday 18 August 2013, by A K Biswas



Caste in New Home

In the voyage of caste to the Western hemi-sphere, the first port of call was Britain. The Hindus take pride that they did not conquer any nation with sword. But they exported caste to sabotage England internally. The cancer has gone deep and assumed so critical a dimension that Queen Elizabeth assented to an amend-ment in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill in April 2013 when the House of Commons bowed to reassure from the House of Lords to include caste as an aspect of race as part of the Equality Act 2010.1 This is the first country outside India where caste discrimination has been put on the statute book to contain, if not crush, the exploding malignancy.

The 2011 census returned 816,633 Hindus, including 450,000 untouchables referred as Dalits, in England and Wales while the figures for Scotland are yet to be released. Dalits account for 55 per cent of the Hindus. They face the same caste discrimination and atrocities their brethren have to contend with in India. A realisation is yet to dawn on the Hindus in their overseas homes that their conduct and behaviour, practices and peculiarities are anathema to civilised society or congenial human environment. “I shall be satisfied,” said Ambedkar, “if I make the Hindus realise that they are the sick men of India and that their sickness is causing danger to the health and happiness of other Indians.” The British Hindus have proved his apprehension infallible. The caste malignancy is not confined within the four walls of India; it spilled over as a “danger to the health and happiness” and infected others, forcing the hands of the rulers to act for its suppression. Ambedkar foresaw this: “As Hindus migrate to other regions of the earth, Indian caste would become a world problem.” Caste has become a global nuisance, threatening the delicate fabric of social peace, happiness and unity wherever the plague visited.

Caste had tall and talented protagonists, native and foreign. A nineteenth century ICS officer, Sir George Birdwood, a member of the Indian higher judicial cadre, who rose to be a judge of the Calcutta High Court, wrote: “So long as the Hindus hold to the caste system, India will be India; but from the day they break from it, there will be no more India. That glorious peninsula will be degraded to the position of a bitter ‘East End’ of the Anglo-Saxon Empire.”2 By prostrating before caste devotedly in obeisance the White man anointed himself to be an ‘avatar’ from the West. His pro-caste advocacy had laid the devout Hindus under deep layers of gratitude.

Caste is the pivot of Hinduism with graded inequality bearing the badge of superiority and inferiority. M.K. Gandhi portrayed caste as the natural order of society. He believed that caste was prevalent in other countries also and taunted them saying: “Those countries have not derived from the caste system the same degree of advantage which India has derived” because India applied a “religious coating” to it.3 The insensitive leader cited the blessings of caste:

The Sudra, who only serves (the higher castes) as a matter of religious duty and who will never own any property, who indeed has not even ambition to own anything, is deserving of thousands obeisance. The very Gods will shower down flowers on him.4

A religious coat over caste renders exploitation unobtrusive and painless as if under sedation. Exploitation of a large masses yields high economic bonanza and social prestige. A religious coating relieves the exploiter of any taint or feeling of moral guilt. The elite Hindus, therefore, instantly discovered the Machiavellian traits in Gandhi’s advocacy. His subterfuge came to be hailed as philosophy. His pro-caste thoughts, arguably, earned Gandhi the pedestal of the nation he occupies. All castes found justification to exploit and suppress the Sudras, including the untouchables, without any qualms of conscience. The Hindu would suffer no moral guilt even if he violates any law banning exploitation or slavery, till he subscribes to the Gandhian tool, which, of course, reflects scriptural ordinance. It is a fraud to claim that gods shower flowers on the Sudras for slavery of the upper castes. This is fit to be dismissed as hogwash with the contempt it merits.


Great Britain a Caste Colony: Case Studies

Caste is a living reality and posing a serious concern to the UK. The British Hindus, of course, loudly deny its existence. The Dalits face discrimination by and large from the upper castes. A British NGO, the Anti-Caste Discrimi-nation Alliance (ACDA), undertook a study in collaboration with Dr Roger Green, Director, Centre for Community Research, University of Hertfordshire, Professor Stephen Whittle, OBE, Professor of Equalities Law, University of Manchester, and advice from Annapurna Waughray, Senior Lecturer in Law, Manchester Metropolitan University. Its report, Hidden Apartheid—Voice of the Community: Caste and Caste Discrimination in the UK, A Scoping Study, November 2009, makes disturbing disclosures of caste discrimination.

The British Government commissioned a survey and entrusted the task to the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR). Under the joint authorship of Hilary Metcalf and Heather the Rolfe, its report, “Caste Discrimination in Great Britain: Caste discrimi-nation and harassment in Great Britain”, was released in December 2010.5 The Anti-Caste Discrimination Alliance (ACDA), Dalit Solidarity Network UK (DSN), CasteWatch UK, Voice of Dalit International (VoDI) and the Federation of Ambedkarite and Buddhist Organisations (UK) (FABO) submitted their memorandum on caste discrimination to the NIESR. The Hindu representative organisations, for example, the Hindu Forum of Britain (HFB) and Hindu Council UK, (HCUK), were consulted besides the British Sikh Consultative Forum (BSCF) and the Network of Sikh Organisations on the issue.6

The Hindu Forum of Britain (HFB) is the largest umbrella body for British Hindus with more than 350 member organisations from around the country. The Hindu Council, UK (HCUK), on the other hand, is the foremost and largest national network of the Hindu temple bodies and cultural organisations, co-ordinating all different schools of Hindu theology within the UK. A few of its primary objectives are: (1) articulation of issues that concern Hindus at the local, state and national levels in the United Kingdom; and (2) negotiation with the government at all levels or other organisations/associations in matters related to Hindu culture and religion. It also organises functions, festivals etc. for promoting Hindu culture and religion.

Two survey reports explicitly present the anatomy of caste and behaviour of the Hindus towards the low castes in dark colour. The NIESR identified Birmingham, Coventry, Walsall, Willenhall (Staffs), Wolverhampton, Southampton, Stroud, Slough, Bedford, Hitchin, Luton, New-castle, Bradford, Derby, Leicester, Erith (Kent), Gravesend, Glasgow, London, East London, Southall etc. for high concentrations of Dalits. The surveys give an impression that any British Hindu meeting another probes his caste status covertly, if not overtly, to establish his identity. Caste-centric discussions, insinuations or innuendos and behaviour in educational institutions, work or marketplaces, even health centres are very common. Friendship, social intercourse, services are determined on caste consideration. Hindu parents make it a point to warn their wards to spurn the company of Dalits in schools. Employment, promotion, work-shifts, place of postings, marriage between young boys and girls of different castes are under the shadow of caste. Intimidation, bullying, harassment, slander, prevarication, lobbying against dalit interest are normal. A few instances culled randomly from reports under consideration or media are cited below.


The former Mayor of Coventry, Ram Prakash Lakha, OBE and Labour Councillor for 23 years now, had migrated from Punjab to the UK. An Indian daily says, Lakha himself battled caste prejudices when he was first elected a councilor from an area with a sizable South Asian population in 1989. “When the local Brahmin leaders got to know that I am from a Dalit community,” said Lakha, “they started lobbying against my candidature. The only option for me was to contest the next election from the predominantly White neighbouring constituency.”7 The Indian community did not even give him a formal reception which all his predecessors and successors received. Caste alone can give any Hindu such right to brazenly dehumanise lower social orders.

Harbans Lal Bali, a retired employee of the UK’s Royal Mail, who lives in the suburbs of London, did not forget the harassment he faced at the Post Office when he was temporarily promoted to the post of supervisor. “I got to know that some of the people under me, who were Indians of a higher caste, complained to the management about my promotion. They said that they were not used to taking orders from people of my caste,” he says.8 Such behaviour is common in India.

Let me cite two instances based on personal experience. A Deputy Development Commissioner reported his District Magistrate to the Divisional Commissioner alleging wasteful expenditure on account of security arrangements for the visiting Bihar Chief Minister in his district. The Divisional Commissioner post-haste recommended for action to the Chief Secretary. All three belonged to the same caste. In another, a District Magistrate complained to the Chief Secretary against his Divisional Commissioner in a case of land use. The DM and CS were of the same caste. The subordinate officers went over the heads of their immediate controlling officers, both Dalit IAS. Their misconduct strangely did not invite the predictable admonition from the government. In both cases I, as the Divisional Commissioner, was asked to report to the government.

The ACDA surveyors were told: “We have four temples here because of Caste. They used to call us ‘Chamar’ and say they did not wish to eat rotis [Indian flat bread] at the temple because Chamar ladies had cooked them.”9 Another focus group from Coventry also cited caste as responsible for the establishment of a number of Gurdwaras: “...........the number of gurdwaras we have by different communities basically says caste discrimination exists. That is a very interesting point because we got nine Sikh Temples here in Coventry.”10


The NIESR found that X had applied for a job in the company (in which he later worked) and helped a Jatt to complete the application form because he could not write English. The Jatt got the job and X did not. X considered he was much better than the other appointee, with better qualifications (he has a post-graduate management qualification.) However, those making the appointment were Jatt Sikhs and X is a Chamar and Ravidassia.
[NIESR, Caste Discrimination Report, Case study 8, p. 37]

The All Bengal Namasudra Association and Bengal Depressed Classes Association submitted in oral evidence before the Simon Commission in 1928 at Calcutta that a Kayasth undergraduate got an appointment for a clerk’s job over a Namasudra postgraduate at the Dacca Collectorate because the former’s brother-in-law was a Head clerk there.


“......a Khatri was in love with a different caste girl. They decided to get married......The girl’s the parents said, ‘If you marry this boy we are going to kill ourselves.’ I’ve so [seen] this happen to others.”11

In Dharampuri, Tamil Nadu, a Dalit married a Vanniyar girl. In protest her father committed suicide. In retaliation, 250 Dalit houses were burnt down. About eight months later the Dalit youth’s dead body was found near a railway track.12


X is Hindu and low caste. He worked for a temporary agency and was placed at Company Z, noted the NIESR. The senior management at the company were White, but the majority of relevant line managers/supervisors for X were Punjabi Jatts. When a permanent job came up, he applied for it, was interviewed (by a Punjabi Jatt and a White British man who was friendly with the Jatt supervisors) and was rejected. This happened seven or eight times and it was only when the Managing Director (a white British man) became involved that he was appointed. Perception of merit, efficiency, competence, etc. vary if a Hindu is the boss of a Dalit.


In 1999, X, a Ravidassia, bought a private hire company, employing around 50 drivers. He heard many comments from drivers about caste, referring to low-caste Indians in derogatory terms. In 2001, he was involved in a discussion about caste in the office which led to him objecting to the views of his employees and telling them he was from a low caste. Following this, five employees from the Jatt caste left the company, saying they did not want to work for an untouchable.


The United Kingdom has become a caste colony. The illustrations vouch for the dimension of caste hatred that has poisoned British social relations and environment. The prestigious London School of Economics is not out of the supremacists’ reach. Upper-caste students have vandalised Dr B.R. Ambedkar’s statue there.

One respondent told the ACDA: “My daughter graduated with a degree and was working in a radio station as a secretary. ….No one can even imagine she belongs to the untouchable class. After two years, her boss started to smell something—she is not in high Caste. He started investigating behind the scenes. …......He never rested until he found out she was from the Chamar community.” She confronted the boss for his nauseating conduct and left the job to join an airlines. The Chamars alone account for 175,000 in UK.

Jatt and Chamar women worked in a factory. The Jatt women told the managers that the Chamar women used to do the menial jobs—cleaning etc. in India. They asked the managers not to give them work next to Chamar women but to give them jobs like they used to do in India. The managers put a few Chamar women on cleaning jobs. They protested against it and told the management it was wrong. “We said that we have a mind too and can also think for ourselves—what is going on here? This was a factory in Birmingham.”13

An Englishman married a Jatt girl and picked up caste hatred from her. He thereafter started hurling derogatory remarks against Chamars and Churhas. Instance also suggests Hindu health workers, after discovering the low-caste status of the patients, refused to attend them, while others had no problem to do the same job!

The effects of discrimination on its victims, according to the NIESR, are: reduced career prospects; lower earnings; detrimental effects on education; social isolation; reduced access to social provision; depression; loss of self-esteem; loss of confidence; and anger. The consequences also include public violence. A Dalit reacted as saying: “It makes us feel like a piece of dirt. They treat us like a piece of dirt, like from a different planet.” This is the social cost of discrimination. As may as 4.5 lakh strong British Dalits are under psychological trauma. The garbage from home, cherished as cultural values by the Hindus and dumped in the UK, has been polluting the social environment the way it does unfettered in India. Nonetheless a pro-caste Hindu believes: “Caste is no longer (in the UK) relevant and it follows that caste discrimination in either services or employment is something of a red herring. [ ….......] Those who campaign for a caste discrimination law are therefore using the issue as a smokescreen in an attempt to promote themselves and their real cause—which is to convert people to their faith.” In a diversionary tactic they allege conversion and resort to a bundle of lies in the face of hard evidence.


Anti-caste Discrimination Campaign

Caste did not invade the UK suddenly nor stealthily. The innocuous invasion was over-looked, if not courted or tolerated. Had the British authorities crushed the fangs of caste at its earliest or slightest manifestation with an iron hand, the cancer would have ended there and then. As the colonial rulers of India, the British were thoroughly equipped with the knowledge of the monstrous ramifications of caste. They naively believed that a liberal environment, complete freedom of choices, unrestrained social intercourse and, above all, modern education would detoxify migrant Hindus of the caste virus. It was a grave blunder that they reposed faith on the Hindus over caste.

The Dalits in the UK have been campaigning against caste discrimination for the last three decades though the abuses, indignity and humiliation started even earlier. Members of Parliament, domestic and international human rights activists, secularists and academicians persistently lobbied the government to outlaw caste discrimination. Under pressure from the caste Hindus and their benevolent protectors, the authorities feigned that sufficient evidences for caste abuses or discrimination were wanting.

Political analysts and Hindu-watchers, however, have not failed to note the real reasons for the government’s lackadaisical approach to caste discrimination. “As the parliamentary debate showed, human rights will not generally take precedence over class interests for the defenders of capitalism. The Conservative-Democrat government will vigorously defend their allies, the Hindu elite and their businesses, including the profit-making temples and faith schools.”14

The grateful defenders are responsible for the effervescence of the caste virus there. Such perception about the government, however, does not augur well. The authorities, federal and provincial in India, have shown lamentable lack of commitment in the face of acute pressure exerted by Hindu lobbies of the elite, intellectual classes, academicians, businesses tycoons and industrialists even to enforce many laws designed to safeguard and benefit the vulnerable sections subjected to gory victimisation. In Britain, they did not succeed because “the treatment of untouchables is one of the great unmentionables of British politics. They are certainly the victims of a form of religious prejudice—the sanction for the oppression of lower castes in a preordained hierarchy comes from Hindu creation myths.15

However, the NIESR concluded that “There is clear evidence from the survey and the focus groups that the caste system has been imported into the UK with the Asian Diaspora and that the associated discrimination affects citizens in ways beyond personal choices and social interaction.” ‘Asian diaspora’ in respect of caste actually refers to Indian Hindus. During the parliamentary debate Ministers, led by the Equalities Minister, Jo Swinson, nonetheless continued to chant there was insufficient evidence of the extent of caste discrimination. After ‘outrageously’ dithering over two years, the government finally outlawed caste discrimination.


Hindu Reaction to Outlaw Caste Discrimination

The Hindus are unhappy with the government for outlawing caste-based discrimination in the UK. Their mood and reaction have been articulated by the Hindu Human Rights, UK. “The whole caste debate has needed mindless sheep..........Scratch the surface of any anti-caste group and you will find hardcore Christian involvement even while it is denied.”16 An article, captioned ‘Caste Game: Battleground India’, went ballistic: “Caste discrimination has now been included as a provision within the Equality Act. At the outset there may seem nothing objectionable in this. But scratch the surface and a sinister agenda emerges. The prime movers behind the new laws are not actually those suffering from caste discrimi-nation but in fact a powerful well-funded apparatus which sees Hinduism as something that needs to be wiped out. Why is it that Right-wing Christian fundamentalists have taken such an interest in the issue of caste?”17

Serving Hindus worldwide is the motto of the Hindu Human Rights, (HHR) UK. All those advocating against caste discrimination from any forum in the UK are branded as Christian fundamentalists. The British Hindus have not hesitated to air their orthodox and anachronistic mind. They aimed to instigate their lobbies in India and elsewhere by alleging that Hinduism is in peril. Their actual objective is to create an impression that Hinduism is facing threats of elimination from the Christians! Their defenders, though also Christians, have defeated every move since 1977 to ameliorate the fate of the British Dalits. In course of the debates in the House of Commons on April 16, 2013, the UK Equalities Minister Jo Swinson stated: “A range of groups has expressed significant concerns about legislation on this issue, including many Sikh and Hindu groups, some of which represent low castes, such as Gujarati Arya Kshatriya Mahasabha UK, the Sikh Council UK, the National Council of Hindu Temples UK, the Rita Trust, the Hindu Forum of Britain, Vishwa Hindu Parishad UK, the National Hindu Students Forum UK and Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh UK. All those organisations have expressed their concern about legislating, and we need to listen to their voices.” In orthodoxy the Hindus abroad are at par, if not ahead, of their brothers at home in every respect. The objectives of some of these organisation are known to Indians.

The Minister, Jo Swinson, was opposed to bring any anti-caste discriminatory law on the statute book. Hinduism is perhaps the only religion that grants licence to upper castes for outraging, oppressing, humiliating, harassing, bullying, exploiting even killing the untouchables with least apprehension of punishment. It is simple that these Hindu organisations want an India in the British isle with Dalits under their boots. They expect the British administration to be insensitive, judiciary out of bounds, police unfriendly and ruthless against Dalit victims. No right-thinking man can be proud of the treatment Dalits receive from any organs of the Indian administration because of impervious Hindu domination and influence.

The British Hindus want to replicate their vices and intervention from any corner is attacked with allegations of conversion to Christianity. The protagonists of caste forget that in every age and every country the world over the victims of violence, injustice, persecution, inhumanity, torture, or exploitation get unreserved and unrequited support and sympathy from liberal humanists and right-thinking people. The Hindu does not believe in it. His sympathy or humanism is circumscribed by the vision of caste. Caste has robbed the Hindu of his fine and sublime human qualities, if any.

This view is reinforced by the HHR. It pointedly targeted the Dalits in their fight against injustice: “The anti-caste legislation is the result of persistent lobbying by organisations such as Castewatch, Dalit Solidarity Network (DSN), Voice of Dalit International, ACDA (Alliance Against Caste Discrimination) and Dalit Freedom Network (DFN). On the surface such organisations follow the politically correct line that the problem is not Hinduism but caste and indeed that caste discrimination happens in many communities, not just Hindus. But the mask does not stay on for very long. While admitting that caste discrimination is a problem for many Asian communities, it is nevertheless said to have spread from Hinduism. Hence Hindus are the real target. No Hindus, no caste. Simple.”18

The HHR’s objective now is to create a global alarm or scare in Hindu minds. This is a clever ploy to incite, instigate and involve them in a fight for perpetuating discrimination they pursue and practice in UK though they are highly critical of the British MPs, academicians and rights activists who have championed the causes of the Dalits there. The HHR’s aim is to urge the Hindus to collaborate with their anti-Dalit and pro-caste discrimination campaign for frustrating the law of discrimination.

These organisations too indulged in discrimination. According to the Hindu Council’s news release, “Hundreds of devotees, representatives of interfaith institutions and prominent members of the community gathered in vigil to pay tribute to Jyoti Singh Pandey, 23-year old medical student, who was gangraped and brutally assaulted on a moving bus in Delhi on 16th December 2012. She later died of her injuries at a hospital in Singapore on 29th December.”19

It is a noble gesture that the British Hindus mourned the death of a rape victim in Delhi. It is simultaneously sad to note their blindness did not permit them to see beyond caste lines Their sentiment did not urge them to to mourn the deaths of hundreds of tribal and Dalit victims of rape in India. Why do they fail to treat them on equal footing and accord similar condolences given to Jyoti Singh Pandey?

The Hindu Council, Hindu temples, Hindu Human Rights, Hindu Federation of Britain breath caste and pulsate caste. So, the Hindu mourners are not known to extend the same courtesies to all rape victims, irrespective of caste, creed, or place of birth, etc. The British Hindus are selective and discriminatory. If Jyoti Singh Pandey alone caught the Hindu attention, humanity is put to shame because of the narrow outlook, caste-centric attitude and yardstick of the community! They seem to have taken a leaf out of the outlandish behaviour of demonstrators on the streets of India, following the incident hyped by the media. Does it edify them with glory?
The two groups—haters and hated, discriminators and discriminated—are not only divided but also have positioned themselves strategically in warring camps. The upper castes are oblivious that Dalits have long endured harassment, humiliation, bullying and taunts in their lives. Their practices and conduct vis-a-vis the Dalits in the Western hemisphere are now destined to be stamped out, if and only if the British bureaucracy laboriously implements the amended Equality Act 2010 in letter and spirit with honesty and uprightness.


Defenders of Caste

British Hindus scorned the voices of sanity. Lord Inderjit Singh stated in the House of Lords that Hinduism had to get rid of caste just like his own faith did. The HHR attacked him, saying: “A cursory look at instances of caste discrimi-nation indicate that it is actually worse among Sikhs. Those from castes variously called Chamar, Chuhra and Ravidassia constantly complain of harassment, bullying and discrimi-nation by Jatts. The examples are in fact not just disturbing but too common to merely dismiss out of hand. But we need to ask ourselves just what does this have to do with Brahmans, Vedas and Manusmirti?”20

Anybody with an inkling of the origin of caste is aware of the architects and craftsmen of caste hatred and discrimination. Brahmans, Vedas and Manusmriti unstintingly hog their focus. The HHR deceptively threw the entire burden of blame for caste discrimination on the British Jatts. In Haryana and Punjab Jatts indeed are perpetrators of crimes against Dalits. It is a different matter that the government cannot punish the perpetrators of crimes. They carried their hatred and prejudice to overseas destinations. This does not mean that other Hindus are bereft of hatred for Dalits. None stood by the victims of discrimination ever.

In 2008, Raj Pandit Sharma’s labour of love produced a dissertation on the caste system, which created laudatory ripples in far-off India.21 The researcher says: “It was the British who single-handed formulated the caste schedules that remain in place today…... The evils manifest in the current form of the caste system cannot be ascribed to the Hindu faith. The current adulteration of the Hindu varnashram system is a direct result of generations of British colonial bureaucracy.”22 The scholar is prevaricating. His observation is anachronistic, a result of his misjudgment, parading his deplorable lack of knowledge of history. His understanding of the Brahmans, Vedas and Geeta and all other scriptures and epics that propagate as also uphold caste or Varna vyvastha is utterly poor. Sharma’s streak of mind comes out unguarded when he declares: “Historically, Varnashram has enabled Hindu civilisation to survive repeated invasions. It has made the Indian society stronger. It has served a purpose, performed certain functions, and met appropriate needs at appropriate times in history.”23

His readers will have little doubt about where his loyalties lie and his hostility is directed. With an attitudinal make-up as this, Hindus do not believe Dalits have a mind to understand, analyse and appreciate caste discrimination in absence of Christian incitement. Such belief leads Sharma to claim: “There are anecdotal accounts of prejudice experienced by Dalits resident in the UK from various Christian backed Dalit groups.”

Part VI

Brahman Victim of Discrimination in UK?

The Hindu Council’s General Secretary, Anil Bhanot, says: “HCUK is not aware of caste discrimination here in the UK” while Raj Pandit Sharma presents a case of reverse discrimination. He believes “there are a growing number of attacks and abuses against Brahmin priests both in India and in the West. The perpetrators are often from within the wider Indian community and fuelled by Christian evangelical elements. There is a worrying trend in India and beyond to vilify the Brahmin caste blaming it for the social and economic problems seen today. This anti-Brahmanism is fully exploited by certain politically motivated groups.”24 A rare self assessment and vision by any insider!

Sharma is aggrieved about “the deep hatred some Christian politicians have of Hinduism” in the heckling of a Hindu priest, Rajan Zed. The US Senate had invited Zed from Reno, Nevada to give its opening prayer on Thursday, July 12, 2007. After sprinkling ritual water from the Ganges River around the Senate rostrum, he proclaimed: “We meditate on the transcendental glory of the Deity Supreme, who is inside the heart of the Earth, inside the life of the sky, and inside the soul of the heaven.” As he stepped up to the podium for the landmark occasion when three protesters interrupted him by loudly asking for God’s forgiveness for allowing the ‘’false prayer’’ of a Hindu in the Senate chamber.25 Three protesters, belonging to the Christian Right anti-abortion group, Operation Save America, were arrested immediately. Hate-mongering against its own followers is a cardinal principle and integral practice of Hinduism. High priests of the caste system never noted its capacity to evoke such swelling emotions.

Jeremy Corbyn, a British MP, rightly asks: “What I cannot understand is that, if there is appalling treatment of Dalits, as the Hindu Council report agrees, and if they are opposed to such treatment – presumably both in India and the UK – why not support the inclusion of CBD (caste-based discrimination) in UK law?”

Corbyn is the Vice-Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Human Rights and Chairman of the Dalit Solidarity Network, UK. Any sane person will ask: what prevents the aggrieved Brahmans to join the Dalit movement for outlawing caste discrimination? Why are they not ashamed of what the Vedas and Manu teach, apart from what the Brahmans propagate against the Sudras and untouchables? The Brahmans never made common cause with the Dalits for elimination of the vices caste symbolises. So, this argument cannot be taken seriously. In fact, the Government of India should have publicly complimented the statutory safeguard for vulnerable British citizens suffering caste-based discrimination. Alas! India officially refused to acknowledge the prevalence of caste discrimination in the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, that took place in Durban, South Africa, from August 31 to September 8, 2001.26 Sharma picked up his defence from the pages of India’s official book.

Anil Bhanot defended caste, hinting what prompted him to do so. “Only one element of the caste system do I hope Hindu society will retain, its respect for the Hindu priest. Sadly, anti-caste propaganda seriously threatens this respect, as people develop misguided contempt for the Brahmin and attempt to do away with the core and beautiful values under which Adi-Manu, the first man to civilise the world, created the original caste system.”27 (Emphasis added by this writer) His infatuation for Manu, the vilest of minds ever on the earth, forebodes peril.

The Hindu outfits in Great Britain have launched the campaign for honouring the so-called “beautiful values” that have stigmatised the nation of a billion plus souls. Its solitary aim is to ensure that the Hindu society perpetuates “its respect for the Hindu priest”. Why should Bhanot expect the whole Hindu society to lay prostrate before the priestly caste? Beneficiaries of any system may be justified to defend it but why others rally behind such campaigners abnegating self-dignity? Nobody fails to see why caste is esteemed in this quarter. No designs have been considered immoral, ignoble and ugly to ensure that objective. Its protagonists speak for the Hindus in general but the benefits are harvested by one small fraction. The Alliance of Hindu Organisations, UK (AHO) has taken the first step and called for “a boycott of any such legislation as it would label the entire Hindu community as being ‘institutionally discriminatory’”. They are actually fighting for privileged treatment for Hindu priests and their clan under the garb of the whole Hindu community.

Raj Pandit Sharma blamed reservation for Scheduled Castes as the sole ill for the Indian Brahmans, a parting shot of his research. According to him, “It is......irony that those who criticise caste on the grounds it is abusive and discriminatory, nevertheless happily vilify Brahmins who presently account for just 4.32 per cent of the total population of India, for allegedly holding key positions within the Indian Government and society. This could not be further from the truth. Recent research has revealed that almost half the population of India are below the poverty line. Of these, Brahmins actually have a 10 per cent higher level of poverty, compared with other communities in this category. Many Brahmins are engaged in menial occupations, having been forced to forfeit skilled positions under the highly discriminatory State sponsored reservation system, which allocates up to half the governmental and university placements to the ‘Scheduled Class’, to which Dalits belong.” To this Bhanot chipped in: “In Delhi, many public lavatories are cleaned by the Brahmins, the highest caste, as they cannot find any other job.”28

He speaks the language anti-reservationists in India employ against the constitutional provision for 300 million Dalits and tribals. They allege that reservation has deprived the Brahmans and other superior castes of their skilled jobs. They are either unaware or blind to see the reality. Liberalisation and privati-sation in the backdrop of globalisation rendered the government to a secondary position as employers. A person, closely familiar with large-scale construction, management and economics of public lavatories, on condition of anonymity, told me that public lavatories in metropolitan cities across India is a big business venture, claiming considerable investment and yielding good returns. Brahmans, who are joining this sector because of good money, do not clean toilets themselves. The changed attitude may result in ultimate acknowledgment of dignity of labour if “Brahmans, the highest caste”, voluntarily take to the cleaning of public lavatories. He added that the traditional sweeper classes are reluctant, if not opposed, to cleaning toilets because of the accompanying indelible stigma.


Next Target USA?

The USA may be the next to fall, if not already, under the fangs of caste. Hundreds of Hindu temples have mushroomed from the state of Alabama to that of Wisconsin. The Hindu temple breeds caste hatred and promotes discrimination. Examples of caste discrimination are clearly visible everywhere. According to E. Valentine Daniel, a Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University, some Indian executives will not hire untouchables, now usually called Dalits, or downtrodden, no matter their qualifications. “It’s even more than a glass ceiling, it’s a tin roof.” The New York Times, October 24, 2004 makes us believe that the grip of caste is iron-cast. The daily quoted Mr Daniel, former Director of Columbia’s South Asian Institute, as underlining “the resistance he faced among upper-caste Indians on an academic committee when he wanted to name an endowed chair in Indian political economics after a noted untouchable, Dr B.R. Ambedkar, a Columbia graduate who helped draft the Indian Constitution, which decades ago abolished the caste system.”29 The virus has invaded academia to the business or corporate world, a gift of Hinduism.

A PTI release, April 3, 2010 said: “Columbia University has instituted a chair in constitutional law in the name of B.R. Ambedkar and two Jagdish Bhagwati Fellowships after India’s renowned economist who presently teaches at the university.” There was glee over the visual media in India. If, however, one reads the news appearing in the NYT and PTI between the lines, it becomes clear that a determined group of intellectual and fanatical “upper-caste Indians”, with vested interest, frustrated a move to honour Ambedkar in the first instance. Their pre-condition for the Ambedkar chair was recognition of the upper-caste intellect first. The Ambedkar chair in Columbia came as a byproduct of the Jagdish Bhagwati Fellowships.

A look at the list of Hindus in the faculty of the South Asia Institute of Columbia University may be rewarding.30 They are Monisha Bajaj, Janaki Bakhle, Dwijen Bhatta-charjya, Susham Bedi, Jagdish Bhagwati, Partha Chatterjee, Uttara Coorlawala, Vidya Dehejia, Upmanu Lall, Shayoni Mitra, Vijay Modi, Arvind Panagariya, Dalpat Rajpurohit, Rakesh Ranjan, Anupama Rao, Sandeep Singh, Kavita Sivaramakrishnan, Gayatri Spivak, Sreenath Sreenivasan, Smita Srinivas and Gauri Viswanathan. It is not suggested that all these teachers were there at the relevant point of time and resisted the proposal to honour the tall Indian alumni. It is neither hinted that all of them opposed the proposal. But the antagonists who did it displayed by action their inner contours. The saner or unorthodox elements, if any, among them did not succeed to foil their mission.

If upper-caste Indian scholars stooped to the level and pushed the crusader of social justice, erudite scholar and towering political leader to play second fiddle to a Professor of Economics in Columbia, the inescapable conclusion is that caste has already arrived and got a solid foothold in the USA. The danger caste spells is no more at bay. Is another civil war in the making there?


1. Business Standard, April 26, 2013, news captioned “Queen consents to bill to outlaw caste in Britain”.

2. Quoted by Jawaharlal Nehru, The Discovery of India, OUP, Third Impression, 1983, p. 247.

3. Quoted by Dr B.R. Ambedkar Writings and Speeches, vol. 9, p. 276.

4. Ibid., pp. 302-303.

6. NIESR, Caste Discrimination Report, p. 7.

7. Indian Express, “UK wakes up to caste bias”, March 26, 2013.

8. TNN, “No escape from caste prejudice even in UK”, #discrimination #humanrights, March 16, 2013 by Anahita Mukherji,

9. ACDA Report quoting Southampton Focus Group, August 8, 2009.

10. Ibid., Coventry Focus Group, August 16, 2009.

11. Ibid., Hitchin Ravidassia Centre Focus Group, August 16, 2009.

12. Times of India, July 5, 2013.

13. ACDA, Luton Focus Group, August 16 2009.

14. The, April 26, 2013 news captioned, “MPs refuse to outlaw caste discrimination.”

15. Nick Cohen, The Observer, Sunday, June 26, 2011, The secret scandal of Britain’s caste system—Why isn’t the Equality and Human Rights Commission taking action against this prejudice?

16. Hinduism is the target, not caste discrimination, Hindu Human Rights, April 27, 2013.

17. Ranjit Singh, Caste games : Battleground India, Hindu Human Rights, May 9, 2013.

18. Hindu Human Rights, UK, April 27, 2013.

19. Hindu Council UK, January 22, 2013, Temples across the UK hold candle lit vigils in memory of India’s rape victim Southall: Vishwa Hindu Kendra Southall, January 13, 2013.

20. Ibid.

21. Hindustan Times, ‘Caste system created by British’, February 15, 2008.

22. Hindu Council, UK, Press Release, February 14, 2008, Caste Discrimination: Hindu Council UK Puts the Record Straight

23. Dr Raj Pandit Sharma (of Hindu Council, UK), A Report on Caste.

24. Sharma, op. cit.

25. The Times of India, July 13, 2007, “Christian activists disrupt Hindu prayer in US Senate” by Chidanand Rajghatta.

26. Omar Abdullah, the then Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, who represented India in this conference, was roundly condemned by NGOs, human rights bodies and Dalit rights groups across the globe for telling lies.

27. Anil Bhanot, The Caste System, A Report, February, 2008.

28. A source, on condition of anonymity, indicated that Sulabh International that has toilets all over country has some 85,000 scavengers including 500 to 600 Brahmins.

29. A.K. Biswas, “Untouchable Ambedkar: Saga of his Discrimination”, Mainstream, vol. XLVIII, No, April 17, 2010.


The author is a former Vice-Chancellor, B.R. Ambedkar University, Muzaffarpur, Bihar. For comments and observations, if any, he can be contacted at

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