Welcome to SPN

Register and Join the most happening forum of Sikh community & intellectuals from around the world.

Sign Up Now!

Castism is Racism : United Nations to India

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by Admin Singh, Oct 17, 2009.

  1. Admin Singh

    Admin Singh
    Expand Collapse
    Admin SPNer

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Messages:
    5,975
    Likes Received:
    5,043
    India loses stand, face at UN forum
    World is no more ready to listen to pernicious Indian stand that caste cannot be equated with Racism

    It was high time that the world took notice of discrimination by birth in India which is clearly the most widespread, pernicious and intractable form of discrimination on Earth. Thankfully, the world did so, and New Delhi has a lot of egg on the face.

    In a body blow for the Indian establishment's myth that caste discrimination across India is something way too dissimilar from race discrimination in the western world, the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva has clearly and unequivocally recognized caste-based discrimination as a human rights violation. The UNHRC threw out India's opposition on this score, and New Delhi was also snubbed by Nepal which broke ranks with brahmanical powers on the shameless caste system and refused to shy away under the excuse of caste being a culturally sensitive issue.


    In fact, Nepal emerged as the first country from South Asia -- the region where untouchability has been traditionally practiced -- to declare support for the draft principles and guidelines published by UNHRC four months ago for ``effective elimination of discrimination based on work and descent'' -- the UN terminology for caste inequities.


    India has always worked against efforts to combat caste discrimination and has tried to prevent internationalization of the caste problem.


    Much to India's embarrassment, Nepal's statement evoked an immediate endorsement from the office of the UN high commissioner for human rights, Navanethem Pillay, a South African Tamil. Besides calling Nepal's support ``a significant step by a country grappling with this entrenched problem itself'', Pillay's office said it would ``like to encourage other states to follow this commendable example''.


    India's position looked rather funny when seen in the context that in 2006, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had compared untouchability to apartheid.




    Adding to India's discomfiture, Sweden, in its capacity as the president of the European Union, said, ``caste-based discrimination and other forms of discrimination based on work and descent is an important priority for EU''. If this issue continues to gather momentum, UNHRC may in a future session adopt the draft principles and guidelines and, to impart greater legal force, send them for adoption to the UN General Assembly.


    The draft principles specifically cited caste as one of the grounds on which more than 200 million people in the world suffer discrimination. ``This type of discrimination is typically associated with the notion of purity and pollution and practices of untouchability, and is deeply rooted in societies and cultures where this discrimination is practiced,'' it said.


    Though India succeeded in its efforts to keep caste out of the resolution adopted by the 2001 Durban conference on racism, the issue has since re-emerged in a different guise, without getting drawn into the debate over where caste and race are analogous.


    Discrimination based on work or descent, untouchability or caste discrimination, is widespread throughout much of Asia and in several countries in Africa, affecting an estimated 250 million people worldwide.
    Even though India outlawed such discrimination in its 1950 Constitution, has passed laws against the practice since then and has set up programs of affirmative action, it is a bitter and unveiled truth that the law is rarely enforced and caste discrimination remains endemic in India.
     
    • Like Like x 5
  2. Loading...


  3. Admin Singh

    Admin Singh
    Expand Collapse
    Admin SPNer

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Messages:
    5,975
    Likes Received:
    5,043
    How India flipped, then flopped, and finally lost

    The latest session of the UN Human Rights Council has challenged India's 13-year-old position on caste. This is because of Nepal's unexpected endorsement of a proposal to expand the definition of descent-based discrimination to include caste. India's predicament may be bad. But it is worsened by its shifting position on equating caste with race as a form of descent-based discrimination. India spared no effort to keep caste out of the resolution adopted at the 2001 Durban conference against racism. But there was a time it insisted -- at another UN forum – on the similarity between caste and race. But that was more than 40 years ago and it was a time when India was upholding the Mahatma's legacy and was in the forefront of the international campaign against apartheid in South Africa.


    Here are India's flip-flops on caste as a form of descent-based discrimination:
    - In 1965, India proposed the historic amendment to introduce descent in the "Convention on Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination" or CERD. It cited its own experience with caste. K C Pant moved the amendment as a member of the Indian delegation and admitted that "certain groups, though of the same racial stock and ethnic origin as their fellow citizens, had for centuries been relegated by the caste system to a miserable and downtrodden condition".


    - In 1996, India performed a somersault when it submitted its CERD report. It insisted that caste, though perpetuated through descent, was "not based on race" and therefore did not come under the Convention's purview. It freed itself of any "reporting obligation" on the situation of Dalits and tribals. It said it was prepared to provide information about them only "as a matter of courtesy". But the CERD panel maintained that descent "does not solely refer to race" and that the situation of Dalits and tribals "falls within scope of the Convention."



    - At the 2001 Durban conference against racism, former Supreme Court judge K Ramaswamy, himself a Dalit, dissented from the Indian government position in his speech as a member of India's Human Rights Commission. "It is not so much the nomenclature of the form of discrimination that must engage our attention but the fact of its persistence that must cause concern," he said. He added that "the debate on whether race and caste are co-terminus or similar forms of discrimination is not the essence of the matter." Government representative Omar Abdullah contradicted him saying:

    "We are firmly of the view that the issue of caste is not an appropriate subject for discussion at this conference."


    - In 2002, just a year on from Durban, the CERD panel issued a "general recommendation" confirming its interpretation that descent included "discrimination based on forms of social stratification such as caste and analogous systems of inherited status, which nullify or impair their equal enjoyment of human rights."


    - In 2009, India's state of self-denial suffered a body blow when the UN Human Rights Council issued draft principles and guidelines on discrimination based on work and descent and recognized caste as a factor. The draft said, "This type of discrimination is typically associated with the notion of purity and pollution and practices of untouchability and is deeply rooted in societies and cultures where this discrimination is practised." This is the document that Nepal supported, putting India in a fix.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  4. Admin Singh

    Admin Singh
    Expand Collapse
    Admin SPNer

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Messages:
    5,975
    Likes Received:
    5,043
    Discrimination is Massive

    India has continually been coming under attack from global rights activists on the issue of caste. It wants to somehow deny that discrimination on grounds of race and caste is inhuman, unjust and illegal, and against the legal and moral standards set up by specific country legislations, Regional Human Rights Charters, UN Charter of Human Rights and the various UN Covenants and Conventions.

    In Numbers, Substance, and Time, Dalits are the largest and most significant segment of the discriminated world population. That 260 million people in South Asia alone, perhaps more than the population of some of the European countries, are systemically subjected to continuous discrimination based on descent and work should be a mind-boggling factor for any human being sensitive to human rights. Discriminated in multiple forms and in various aspects of life on grounds of work and descent, they ought to attract global attention, concern, and commitment. That they have been humiliated by gross violations of their rights for centuries should at least now, though far belated, awaken world conscience - that of peoples and governments.

    In spite of five decades and talk of Constitutional provisions proclaiming abolition and prohibition of such discrimination, there is hardly any change today in their living conditions and in their right to live a dignified life. A 160 million of them live in India alone. For them the right to equality and freedom is still a mirage.


    India's position that "Caste Discrimination is not Racial Discrimination" is increasingly being blown to smithereens. India is almost saying in several ways that discrimiantion due to caste is a practice that is so old that it cannot be eliminated rapidly. But the world has exhausted its patience.


    The de facto perpetuation of the caste system entrenches social differences and contributes to daily violations. The existence of discrimination towards Dalits has been recognized by various national bodies in India and by the National leaders.
    The Dalits are in different stages of socio-economic development and are engaged in divergent forms of work for their living. The practice of such traditional unclean occupations as scavenging, carrying night soil, removing dead animals, leather work, beating of drums, etc. gave them a low position in the traditional caste hierarchy and they are viewed as occupying the lowest rung of the social ladder.


    The vast majority of Dalits are landless and work as agricultural labourers and wage earners to work out their livelihood. Dependence on upper class land owners for agricultural labour and perpetual subjugation, force many of them to live as bonded labourers. ... The condition of the Dalit women in particular is deplorable.
    They are doubly underprivileged, being women and belonging to a Schedule Caste. They constitute the major work force doing hard manual labour and engage in agricultural operations and their exposure to outdoor work and interaction with cunning employers make them vulnerable to sexual exploitation. Abject poverty forces Dalit women to become 'Devadasi' the prevalent institutionalized prostitution system.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  5. Admin Singh

    Admin Singh
    Expand Collapse
    Admin SPNer

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Messages:
    5,975
    Likes Received:
    5,043
    From 2007 to 2009: The Short Lived Glee
    Mansukh Kaur
    Just in April this year, the Indian government was gloating over what it thought was its diplomatic triumph when Geneva’s ‘World Conference on Racism’ did not decree that caste-based discrimination was to be equated with racism but the focus never really moved from the discrimination that the entrenched brahamanical powers in India are subjecting the vast mass of people to.



    In April, Durban II had a shaky start as the US had stayed away, the Israelis had staged a walkout and Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had mocked the Holocaust. No wonder, the five-day meeting had ended without including ‘Dalits’ in its resolution.
    Now, the UN body has made it clear that Caste and race implications are same — discrimination on the basis of one’s birth. The one big difference is that in India, it received social as well as legal and political backing for so long that people have become apathetic to it.


    New Delhi's claims of Constitutional cover for Dalits has persuaded few. Before the UN conference in Geneva, church organizations around the world expressed solidarity with the Dalits at a Bangkok conclave. This time, led by the World Council of Churches and the Lutheran World Federation, the church leaders vowed to continue the fight against caste discrimination. It is hidden apartheid, says Rikke Nohrlind, coordinator of International Dalit Solidarity Network. Casteism, he says, “has been skillfully hidden by certain governments, and Dalits are treated as lesser human beings.”
     
    • Like Like x 5
  6. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
    Expand Collapse
    1947-2014 (Archived)
    SPNer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2004
    Messages:
    14,551
    Likes Received:
    19,200
    I appreciate this thread. :star:
     
  7. Sikh royalist

    Sikh royalist
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2009
    Messages:
    115
    Likes Received:
    78
    aman singh,

    brother i think caste system is totally different from the racism no one but the man who has deeper knowledge can differentiate between the two.
    let me try my hand to explain a bit--

    caste has four varnas-- bhramins, kshatrias, vaish and shudra

    races of India:-arain(aryan origin), jats(aryan/scythian origin), rajputs(aryan origin), kambojas(indo-iranian origin), gurjara/gujjar(origin unknown some relate them to huns) and so on

    Dr. B.R. ambedkar who was revolutionary and very active against the caste system has given a good example he says that the Punjabi bhramin is of the same genetic stock as a Punjabi shudra but still the authority is with th bhramin this is castism and not racism

    now i say that if a jat says that arain or a gujjar is lower than his race it would be called racism.

    i see a lot of difference between the two.

    a big change came in the 12 th century which can be discussed later and only if u agree to the above.
     
  8. Admin Singh

    Admin Singh
    Expand Collapse
    Admin SPNer

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Messages:
    5,975
    Likes Received:
    5,043
    How the Indian society has benefited from the Varnas System over the centuries? Why do you think that a system, which has failed humanity miserably over the centuries should not be scraped from the memory altogether. Being a Sikh, how can you even defend a system which does not treat a fellow human being on the same level pegging? i wonder... :)
     
    • Like Like x 3
  9. Sikh royalist

    Sikh royalist
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2009
    Messages:
    115
    Likes Received:
    78
    brother it is not that i support it i was just trying to explain the difference between the two i am sorry if u felt bad about it, never mind can u provide me with a link to introduction thread i have almost searched whole of the site but couldn't find it why don't u give a link with the welcome message when someone registers?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
    Expand Collapse
    1947-2014 (Archived)
    SPNer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2004
    Messages:
    14,551
    Likes Received:
    19,200
  11. findingmyway

    findingmyway
    Expand Collapse
    Writer SPNer Contributor Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2010
    Messages:
    1,667
    Likes Received:
    3,767
    Everyone should sit up and take note. Distribute far and wide to raise awareness. Caste discrimination is not acceptable period swordfight
     

Share This Page