The caste system in Britain


by Rumbold
27th June, 2011 at 9:44 am    

Nick Cohen reports on a disturbing new piece of research from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research into the caste system in Britain:

Faced with the prospect of confronting the prejudices of core supporters, the Labour government preferred holding on to seats to living by liberal principles and backed away from extending anti-discrimination law to cover caste. With Labour gone, campaigners for just treatment for tens of thousands of British Asians have a glimmer of hope.

They are trying to persuade the coalition to take seriously a study of bullying and harassment conducted by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. It is a dispiriting read – little more than a list of pointless cruelties. The Indian supervisor of an NHS worker discovers that he is from a lower caste and makes his life such a misery he becomes ill under the pressure and is suspended; a social services care worker refuses to help an elderly woman wash herself because the old lady is from a lower caste and so it goes on through dozens of examples.

Caste discrimination is something which isn’t discussed much in the media, yet even non-Hindus from India can be swayed by it. The report was predictably dismissed by the Hindu Council UK, which claimed that the report’s real aim was to persuade Hindus to convert to Christianity (Sunny has long been a critic of them). The lack of a discussion around caste highlights a staple of treatment of minorities; that discrimination within these groups are often ignored, instead treating them as monolithic blocks which should deal with their own problems.


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19 Comments below   |  

Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. sunny hundal

    Blogged: : The caste system in Britain http://bit.ly/iVkxVY


  2. anywavewilldo

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : The caste system in Britain http://bit.ly/iVkxVY


  3. Joe Jordan

    Blogged: : The caste system in Britain http://bit.ly/iVkxVY


  4. Amil Khan

    “@sunny_hundal: caste system in Britain http://t.co/vqAqinI” funny how patricarchal "leaders" react in same way to criticism "it's a plot!"


  5. links for 2011-06-28 « Embololalia

    [...] Pickled Politics » The caste system in Britain The lack of a discussion around caste highlights a staple of treatment of minorities; that discrimination within these groups are often ignored, instead treating them as monolithic blocks which should deal with their own problems. (tags: uk caste british.asians hinduism race multiculturalism) [...]




  1. Jemmy Hope — on 27th June, 2011 at 4:05 pm  

    Important point that caste prejudice occurs among all the main religions in South Asia.
    Is this article about caste or about Cohen’s antipathy to Trevor Phillips?

  2. Optimist — on 28th June, 2011 at 11:38 am  

    The caste prejudice amongst us, Asians, in this country not only still exists but in fact is getting worse and that is a cause for us all to hang our heads in shame.

    It always saddens me to see all those new websites springing up where the younger generations, especially in the US and Canada, describing themselves as ‘Jatts’ etc and putting up messages denigrating other young Asians, supposedly from the ‘lower castes’.

    Although some scientists in India recently tried to use the DNA testing to prove that caste system perhaps had racial origins, and according to some, thus perhaps the prejudice more acceptable, but those scientists only showed that there were no racial differences and thus it was purely based on, as suggested by Karl Marx, the ‘division of labour’.

    The primitive capitalism in India used this method, giving rise to social segregation, but the British colonialists attempts to further develop capitalism by the use of Cornawlis’s Permanent Settlement Code, and the general ‘divide & rule’ policies, really entrenched the system.

    Although, I totally agree with the great man about his idea on ‘liberation’ as he put it in the ‘Theses on Feuerbach. – Preconditions of the Real Liberation of Man’ -

    “ We shall, of course, not take the trouble to enlighten our wise philosophers by explaining to them that the “liberation” of man is not advanced a single step by reducing philosophy, theology, substance and all the trash to “self-consciousness” and by liberating man from the domination of these phrases, which have never held him in thrall. Nor will we explain to them that it is only possible to achieve real liberation in the real world and by employing real means, that slavery cannot be abolished without the steam-engine and the mule and spinning-jenny, serfdom cannot be abolished without improved agriculture, and that, in general, people cannot be liberated as long as they are unable to obtain food and drink, housing and clothing in adequate quality and quantity. “Liberation” is an historical and not a mental act, and it is brought about by historical conditions, the development of industry, commerce, agriculture, the conditions of intercourse…”

    However, the ‘mode of production’ has changed and we all Asians in this country do similar jobs and thus perhaps we need a bit of the “self-consciousness” as well.

    In reaction to all the nonsense from so-called ‘upper castes’, no doubt, following Steve Biko’s slogan, ‘black is beautiful’, some youth from supposedly ‘lower castes’ have started to bear badges saying ‘Proud Sons of Chamars’.

    On my last trip to India, myself, also proudly displayed such badge but when a friend pointed out saying ‘I thought you were a Jatt’, I said, ‘I have decided to convert’. I only wish it was so simple, but fear that we would not get rid of this historical garbage until we follow Marx’s next idea and build a truly socialist society!!

  3. Refresh — on 28th June, 2011 at 11:52 am  

    ‘I thought you were a Jatt’, I said, ‘I have decided to convert’.

    Good for you. Lets get those badges over and distributed.

  4. Optimist — on 28th June, 2011 at 11:58 am  

    Thanks Refresh – truly refreshing !

  5. Rumbold — on 28th June, 2011 at 12:03 pm  

    Well done Optimist. I too am tired of hearing some Jatts go on about being proud to be Jatt, before claiming they are great Sikhs. Sikhism was in part a reaction agains the caste system, hence ‘Kaur’ and ‘Singh’, so why boast about something which the Gurus despised?

  6. Optimist — on 28th June, 2011 at 12:05 pm  

    Rumbold -

    Could not agree more !

  7. des bains — on 28th June, 2011 at 1:31 pm  

    Bibbe putt chamara de..

    also there are so many new chamar songs..chamars are no longer lower castes..They rank arm in arm with any other caste out there!

  8. Yakoub — on 28th June, 2011 at 4:23 pm  

    Cohen’s treatment of the issue verged on the hysterical. Discussion would be good, but I don’t think Nick is interested in discussion one little bit.

  9. jamal — on 28th June, 2011 at 10:38 pm  

    attitudes haven’t changed from the old days too much

    caste discrimination is almost subtly accepted by some people even though it is a form of racism.

  10. Dumbbold — on 9th July, 2011 at 12:50 pm  

    I guess this Caste system discussion is a way for dumb white boys like Rumbold to feel enlightened

    Why don’t you go jump off a cliff?

  11. Rumbold — on 9th July, 2011 at 8:52 pm  

    I don’t live near any cliffs and am too cheap to pay for a ticket. Donations gratefully received.

  12. persephone — on 9th July, 2011 at 9:54 pm  

    Dumbbold

    I feel enlightened too and I’m not white or a boy. What should I do?

    Rumbold @ 11 Tee hee

  13. persephone — on 9th July, 2011 at 10:50 pm  

    It would be interesting to compare ie is the level of discrimination in the uk less than the countries people came from.

    Also, with the generations born in the uk, you would think they are not as aware (or care about) of castes as the older generation. But stats in this video state that 84% of south asians identify themselves with a caste. As to whether this part of their identity causes them to discriminate is ano question: http://sairamacleod.blogspot.com/2011/06/segregation-and-survival-south-asian.html

  14. douglas clark — on 9th July, 2011 at 11:56 pm  

    I guess this Caste system discussion is a way for dumb white boys like Rumbold to feel enlightened

    Why don’t you go jump off a cliff?

    Rumbold, Dumbbold, gettit?

    And perhaps not white. As if that matters. Well it does to our dumb idiot. Dumbfool, gettit?

    Oh! Wait a minute, it does to Dumbbold. Guess that is why he chose that moniker.

    Dear fucktard, oops Dumbfool.

    You have been rejected for this job as the queens idiot on the grounds that you are too stupid. It is not ’cause you is black, it is ’cause you are a completely stupid git. Which would usually work, but, well. Bouncing up and down and being offended wears a bit thin after a while. Well, about a nanosecond or so.

    Thank you for your interest in this post. Perhaps if we have another post that requires even less brain cells then you could be a candidate! Try applying for our next available position as a single celled organism. You may well fit the bill!

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