Meanwhile in England…

Lots of social injustice going in the UK lately…

While we have discussed caste a LOT in this class, being of course a major issue pervading all corners of Indian society, many times there is a tendency to deny or ignore caste in urban settings. While in the texts we read for this class caste continued to show up even in the cities, a documentary I watched in the History of Contemporary India and South Asia class I’m currently taking (History 543.04) showed that many urban people, regardless of class, see caste as something outdated and non-applicable to their day to day lives. In a book we read for the history class, the author mentioned that college students and professors that she observed specifically made it a point to not use their family names as to prevent identification of one’s caste, and the topic of caste was something along the lines of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

So therefore it would seem to me that somewhere far removed from rural Indian village, such as the urban metropolis of London, would be the last place to see institutionalized caste discrimination. Guess I was wrong.

Vijay and Amardeep Begraj were forced to leave their jobs after facing months of discrimination for their relationship. Amardeep, a high-caste Jat, was told by a supervisor that her boyfriend’s caste (Dalits) were “different creatures,” and later at their wedding, a colleague toasted the happy couple by saying that “Jat girls are going down the drain.”

Currently the couple are suing their former employers, but have faced some difficulties in the judicial process, as the UK doesn’t recognize discrimination based on caste. News of their unique struggle has broke, and the Begraj family has since faced vandalism and hatecrime from unknown perpetrators for their love.


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