BBC Asian Network’s host of the Big Debate, Nomia Iqbal, led a live debate on the caste legislation in the UK. Satpal Muman, Chair of CasteWatch UK and Satish Sharma, from the National Council of Hindu Temples, were in the studio and DSN-UK Director, Meena Varma called in.
In an effort to raise global awareness and engagement on the issue of caste-based violence and discrimination, particularly against Dalit women, a group of Dalit women leaders have toured through Germany and the United States this past month with more tour dates coming up. The women are using visual storytelling through photographs and videos, participating in seminars and engaging on social media via #dalitwomenfight to bring their message to an international audience.
The Dalit-American transmedia artist Thenmozhi Soundararajan turns a critical lens on the intersection of caste discrimination and sexual violence in India. By Amanda Holpuch.
a key resolution was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives “Condemning Dalit untouchability, the practice of birth-descent discrimination against Dalit people, which is widely practiced in India, Nepal, the Asian diaspora, and other South Asian nations, and calling on these countries to recognise the human rights of the Dalit people and end all forms of untouchability within their borders.”
A historical meeting of Dalit women leaders with North American Radical Women of Color and Trans Peoples Movements at Incite's Color of Violence 4 Conference held in Chicago, IL from March 26-29, 2015
Following a ‘cast out caste’ campaign by the Dalit Solidarity Network in the United Kingdom, demanding that UK political parties make their position on caste clear, the Liberal Democrats and Labour party are showing clear support for outlawing caste discrimination in the UK.
Live streaming, hackathons, radio shows, flashmobs, a facebook and twitter campaign and an interactive online timeline charting Dalit history, curated by Dalits and driven by Dalit women, have all been a part of April’s ‘Dalit History Month’.
IDSN and fourteen other international and regional NGOs have sent a joint open letter to US Secretary of State, Mr. John Kerry, urging the US to take leadership in supporting IDSN’s application for UN consultative (ECOSOC) status. The application has been unjustly deferred for over 7 years.
Following the successful Global Conference on Defending Dalit Rights, held in Washington DC from the 19-21 March, a declaration has been released demanding strong support from the UN and the United States to support the struggle to end caste discrimination and more action.
The house resolution introduced on the 16th of March by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton condemns caste-based discrimination ad asks for the international community to act on this. The 1st Global Conference on Dalit Rights, which took place in Washington DC from 19-21st of March honoured the Congresswoman for introducing the resolution and urged congress to show strong support for it.
Discrimination and rejection are rites of passage for any Dalit, anywhere in the world. One Dalit-American artist contemplates all she has learnt from being branded untouchable. "It requires great will to take on the gravity of who you are in the face of a society that believes you are not equal. Every Dalit I know has had a turning point where they have rejected the stereotype and forged their own way. Whether it was my grandfather who walked 10 km each way to the only grade school that would enrol him, or the Dalit women who fight every day for justice in the Dalit Women’s Self-Respect yatra – this raw strength is what defines us as a community and is what I lean on in the hard times of my work."