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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