UK Conference Hosted By Sikh Education Forum: Working Toward A Caste-free Society

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1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Working towards a Caste free society

The Sikh Education Forum based in Birmingham held its first ever conference on the Caste system recently at the Nishkam Centre,

Birmingham. The half-day thought-provoking event examined the origins of the Caste system in the Indian context and how it was used as a ploy to dominate Indians in general.

Scores of invitees listened attentively as speakers addressed various themes such as the promotion of casteism in bhangra music, effects of inter - caste marriages and Sikh faith viewpoints. Solutions aimed at the creation of a casteless Sikh society were also put forward at the conference.
Although the notion and practice of Equality is propagated in the Gurdwaras (Sikh place of worship) based on Sikh scriptures, punjabis overall, continue to observe this ancient and outdated practice. It is for this reason that such a conference was organised by Sikh Education Forum.

Conference delegates felt that the subject required ample public discussion including the exploration of practical solutions for the 21st century, to deal with issues inherent in the Caste system.

The distinguished speakers included:
Karam Singh Karam- Editor and publisher of Mannjitt Weekly
Dr Meena Dhanda head of Philosophy (University of Wolverhampton)
Bhai Baldeep Singh- A renowned Sikh scholar
Davinder Singh Panesar- Civic leader
Satpal Muman- Chair of Caste Watch UK
Dr. Christopher A. Johnson- Civic leader and an author
Jagjeet Singh- SEF Executive Committee Member
Jaswinder Kaur- SEF Executive Committee Member
The Conference was chaired by Harminder Kaur Bhogal, who is also the current Chair of SEF

“The conference speakers, content and delivery was outstanding and highly thought provoking”, Davinder Singh Panesar.

“The Sikh faith has a solid ethos to actively combat caste based discrimination (CBD) and it is only right that this issue has now been brought out to the forefront by SEF. At the conference, there was demonstrable acknowledgment and acceptance that CBD is a menace faced by the community. Caste is a taboo subject yet it occupies the mindset of most Asian communities. It will require talent, commitment and initiative to confront the issues raised. Certainly, Sikh faithful has a great inner strength that can be utilised to good effect in combating CBD”, Satpal Muman (Chair of Caste watch UK).

“One thing is sure, the success of this venture will hinge on the importance that is attached to the participation and involvement of professionals and lay people in both discussions and the implementation of practical solutions to overcome this human differential-anomaly”, Dr. Christopher A. J


Respected forum member Gurmit Kaur ji is in this photo, sitting front and left, in the blue and brown salwar suit. :happykaur:


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