Satyajit Amin argues that the Indian diaspora needs to confront widespread casteism in their communities and renew efforts to pass anti-discrimination legislation.
“The Oxfam-News laundry report shows how upper castes dominate Indian newsrooms. But journalists like Rajat Sharma, Sudhir Chaudhary and Rahul Kanwal have also emerged as influencers on digital space.”
“In the backdrop of caste supremacy in the Indian diaspora in the United States, when higher-caste Hindus often describe and demonize Dalits as “inherently lazy/ opportunistic/ not talented,” even apparently innocuous practices like peer reviews for promotions (Cisco and several other tech companies operate on this model), can turn into minefields, ending in job losses and visa rejections for Dalits.”
BBC podcast looks at how caste bias has become an uncomfortable reality for many Indians migrating to the US
“To truly overcome anti-black racism, we must also challenge South Asia’s caste system. The history of colourism can be traced back to the ideology of the Indian caste system, an occupational division of people, which still exists in South Asian communities today.”
“Social distancing is nothing new to us (Pakistani Christians) … People usually hate the sight of a sanitation worker, let alone coming close, shaking our hand, or eating and drinking with us. Unofficially, the caste-based ‘untouchable’ stigma remains synonymous with Christians, because over 90% of them come from what was the Dalit caste, the poorest of the poor.”
“Key national priorities to improve the situation of Dalits in Bangladesh should be set in a comprehensive national action plan to eliminate caste, work and descent based discrimination.”
By undermining the reservation system in health education, the government may undo the public healthcare system.
“Social distancing also has a dark and ominous side. In South Asia, where it has unfurled into a spider’s web of practices, it also directs violence, exclusion and bigotry upon marginalised people whose only ‘sin’ is caste, occupation or descent.”
"In India, people need to admit their role in everyday discrimination faced by Dalits and only then can a dialogue for change be initiated. We hope what they are seeing unfolding globally will lead to soul searching."
National Dalit Movement for Justice (NDMJ), headquartered in New Delhi, has released a detailed report on increasing human rights violation cases against Dalits, Adivasis and other marginalized communities of India during COVID-19 lockdown.
"As India fights to curb increasing numbers of COVID-19 infections, a virus of fear is sweeping the land and the most vulnerable communities (Dalits, Muslims and Adivasis) are bearing the brunt of it. The virus is frightening and it is pushing people’s prejudices and ignorance to the forefront leading to scapegoating of marginalised populations."
Several academicians, activists and politicians have warned against the caste repercussions of moves by certain states to dilute the laws in a bid to attract investors and manufacturers with the economy in dire straits amid the Covid-19 lockdown.
In Pakistan, descendants of lower-caste Hindus who converted to Christianity centuries ago still find themselves marginalized, relegated to dirty jobs and grim fates.
Indian waste pickers are struggling to obtain information or equipment to inform and protect them during the coronavirus pandemic. Thomson Reuters has run this article by IDSN Ambassador Aidan McQuade and IDSN’s Ritwajit Das, looking at the current challenges faced by Dalit waste pickers in India. While this article looks at India, similar situations are found in other South Asian countries.