If you thought that Britain was more or less about the Queen, Big Ben, fish and chips, red buses, black cabs, Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace and a pub on every other street, I’d like to add an unsavoury addition to your list – caste. Yes, that’s right. The Asians in Britain brought their caste baggage along with their check-in and hand luggage on their ﬂights from Bhatinda and Mehsana. I wish the customs would have checked for the caste stench amongst other pungent smells of masalas and pickles.
Sticking to good old ‘sanskriti‘ (culture) became ever more crucial in a debauched ‘pardes’ (foreign land) where the local population could easily be swindled by likening caste to class. Somewhere along the way, the crucial difference of purity and pollution, endogamy and honour killings got lost. I can’t remember any story of a stable boy being lynched for romancing a high society woman by devout Christians in Manchester.
For most of the last century, the local Brit could hardly tell the difference between a Brahman and a Dalit than whether the Taj Mahal was in Chennai or Agra. As Dalits started asserting themselves at the turn of the century, caste Hindus realised that they should at least not have practiced untouchability in their corner shops. That’s right, there was an incident when a caste Hindu shopkeeper consistently refused to hand over change to their Dalit customer and instead placed it on the counter.
By then, almost all temples, both Hindu and Sikh, were divided along caste lines. Even today, try joining the management committee of a temple outside of your caste and you’ll see the segregation in action. Other cases of caste discrimination include being refused service by a taxi driver in Britain because of caste. Remember the story of the young Bhim Rao Ambedkar being thrown out of a bullock cart as soon as the caste Hindu cartman learned of his passengers’ caste? The Ambedkars then paid the driver double and the young Bhim Rao’s elder brother drove the cart while the cartman followed the ‘polluted’ cart on foot. That was 1901 in Koregaon, Khatav Taluka, Satara District, India. This is in modern day Britain. Same story, same concept, over a hundred years apart, nearly 5000 miles away. Caste continues.
So the government commissioned research on caste discrimination from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) in 2010 which conﬁrmed the existence of caste in Great Britain and recommended that, in addition to education on this issue, “extending the deﬁnition of race to include caste would provide further, explicit protection.” The Equality Act 2010 was then amended to allow for secondary legislation to be passed to make caste an aspect of race. This provision for amending the Equality Act 2010 was effected by Section 97 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2010.
Let me translate all of this in plain English and present you with a timeline:
So basically from 2013 to 2016, the government has been held hostage by caste Hindus from performing their legal obligation of including caste in the Equality Act 2010. Some hilarious arguments put forward by British upper caste Hindus against caste law include the following:
So as you can understand, I had had enough and decided to enter the arena. I was invited to speak in Parliament last week on caste legislation at a debate and decided to unleash an idea whose time has ﬁnally arrived. Jaibhim.