The Human Rights Correspondence School  (A project of the Asian Human Rights Commission) has released the following lesson series on Caste Discrimination in India.

Lesson Series 65: India: Caste discrimination

The Issue

Discrimination of any kind, be it racial, religious or gender based, is a gross violation of basic human rights. Such discrimination directly affects the realization of all human rights, including civil and political rights, as well as economic and social rights. Caste discrimination–most commonly occurring in South Asia—is discrimination based upon descent, whereby individuals are marked by their caste from birth, and are obliged to follow various rules regarding occupation, housing and other social customs. These rules, particularly when dealing with those of a ‘lower’ caste, denies persons free will and choice regarding their lives. They also result in violations of the right to food, to land, to housing and shelter, to vote, to participate in public and social life.