An amendment to the Equality Act 2010 has banned discrimination based on caste. What will be the effect of this? The starry-eyed idealists who backed the legislation purport that it will give protection to Asians in Britain who have hitherto been denied the safety net of basic dignity. These anti-caste groups are equivocal that Hindu organisations run by high-caste Hindus have opposed these measures as it goes against the central tents of their faith.
The Sinister Hand
The anti-caste legislation is the result of persistent lobbying by organisations such as Castewatch, Dalit Solidarity Network (DSN), Voice of Dalit International, ACDA (Alliance Against Caste Discrimination) and Dalit Freedom Network (DFN). On the surface such organisations follow the politically correct line that the problem is not Hinduism but caste and indeed that caste discrimination happens in many communities, not just Hindus. But the mask does not stay on for very long. While admitting that caste discrimination is a problem for many Asian communities, it is nevertheless said to have spread from Hinduism. Hence Hindus are the real target. No Hindus, no caste. Simple.
This is something HHR has had personal experience of. In attending the 2009 Castewatch Annual Conference, the chairman of this organisation himself introduced Hindu Human Rights Group as the ‘opposition’, a faux pas which elicited scenes of mass panic not seen since the desperate selling of shares during the Wall Street Crash. Yet one only needs to look at the report of this event on Castewatch’s own website (http://www.castewatchuk.org/CWUK-Conference-Report-March2009.pdf ) to see how Hindus are constantly blamed. Indeed the document ,while decrying accusations by the demonic Hindu lobby that anti-caste groups are in the hands of hardcore right-wing Christian fundamentalists, then goes on to parade the event as one dominated by these very same groups.
Christianity is credited with always having tackled caste discrimination, something which flies in the face of historical evidence, especially in how this major world faith labelled all Jews as “Christ-killers” for 2000 years. Then again the entire tone of the document and meeting took on a conspiratorial tone reminiscent of anti-Semitism, with revisionist renderings that smeared historical facts. Take this from the chairman, Ramesh Alexander, himself a committed Christian:
“Britain has fought two world was so that men can be free and treated equally without persecution and free to practice their faiths.”
Do Mr Alexander and his sidekick Davinder Prasad actually know that these wars were nothing of the sort? Churchill said self-determination did not apply to India and the colonies. He caused the starvation of 5 million Indians during the Bengal famine of 1943. He mocked the racism suffered by West Indian soldiers from segregated American forces. He openly said “I hate Indians” and “they are a beastly race with a beastly religion”. He was against coloured immigration into Britain. He supported apartheid and criticised MacMillan for his ‘Winds of Change’ speech in Cape Town. But all this is lost on Castewatch.
Former Labour MP Rob Marris mocked the idea that caste lobbying was in the hands of far-right Christian groups, even while he was attending this very event. It is unfortunate that such an idealistic man as Mr Marris, who came out as “squeaky clean” from the parliamentary expenses scandal can nevertheless harbour such prejudice.
Then again he openly backed the secessionist movement in Punjab, although specifying that it should be peaceful. Peaceful secessionist movement in India? That sounds less convincing than ‘mild’ psychosis. But it was Moses Parmar from All India Christian Council who set the dark tone with:
“Fight Hindutava forces in the UK who are trying to establish Hindu supremacy in this country as well.”
So that was the real reason, fighting the metaphysical entity of Hindu supremacy which was being blamed for caste. This led Gian Chand Ghaiwal of the Central Valmik Sabha to warn of how Hindus would try and legalise widow-burning, much to the glee of an audience that was frothing at the mouth now after hours of anti-Hindu brainwashing.
HHR was unable to attend the next meeting of Castewatch. Yet the hatefest can be viewed here:
Baroness Shreela Flather blamed the Hindu Council and Hindu Forum as lobbying groups for upper-caste Hindus. Sinna Mani showed complete historical ignorance regarding the conquests of Alexander of Macedon, and vile prejudice in calling Brahmans stupid. Is that not caste prejudice. But nothing was going to stop Mani as he blamed Hinduism and the religion of “inequality”.
Now HHR actually organised its own meeting in 2009 on caste discrimination. At the back sat two Danish members of DSN, who quickly ran off when the question and answer session ended. Hardly a surprise. Earlier that year when I spoke to DSN and suggested that caste quotas in India be replaced by a system of social and economic empowerment which based itself on a poverty index I was accused of accommodating caste and had the phone slammed down.
No surprise that one of its former staff members Geeta Bandi-Phillips, now works for hardcore Christian outfit World Vision.
Eugene Culas from VODI was however very vocal at the meeting, although became rather unstuck when he found that his secret weapons of the Manusmirti and a GCSE text book on Hinduism were completely useless. Yet it once again showed the deep anti-Hindu contempt harboured by caste lobbyists. Now looking at the background of VODI one easily discerns that that group is far from neutral. It has a deep Christian bias. Again Christian organisations are very keen to be involved with Castewatch even without its chairman’s encouragement. One thinks of how the atheist secular Left allies with advocates of Islamic jihad in their common hatred against western democracy. But it is even deeper. DFN has its head office in Owestry, Shropshire. This is the same headquarters as hardcore Christian fundamentalist outfit, Operation Mobilisation. Moses Parmar belongs to the Indian branch of OM.
Swan Song of the Dying Church
In 2007 I heard Jacob Prasch of Moriel Ministries speak on how the Church of England was losing 1000 members a week. Prasch is leader of one of the many dynamic small churches which are actually growing, although this is in fact a temporary blip. Much of the church growth in England is due to immigration by African believers, mostly Nigerian, Chinese converts whose own culture was destroyed by Mao, or for basic fiscal reasons. Following free market policies of reigning in spending and providing generous tax cuts to the ‘overclass’, New Labour and the current coalition see it as feasible to let the voluntary sector pick up the slack as society’s most vulnerable are left on the demographic slag heap and cycle of endless poverty and debt. Here the churches see rich pickings as they provide child care, counseling and food parcels.
The majestic cathedrals with their gothic architecture echo an established church that dominated people’s lives. No longer. The small churches with their social input seem more relevant. But are they? As Lord Acton famously said, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Their community input relies heavily on getting converts to show the ‘truth’ of their message, but also on regular donations.
Having witnessed the speech by American evangelist Morris Cerrullo on his visit to England last year, I was struck at how at least 70% of the service was asking people to hand over cash, cheques and credit card details in order to receive miracle cures and blessings, as well as book hotel rooms in Earls Court. It is easy to see how Cerrullo can afford a mansion and a gold plated private jet with midless sheep such as this.
The whole caste debate has needed mindless sheep. Churches and Christian groups need to show their relevance even as secularisation sweeps all before it. Ideas once held sacrosanct are mocked and seen at best as quaint, more often dangerous superstition. Scratch the surface of any anti-caste group and you will find hardcore Christain involvement even while it is denied.
Eugene Culas to his credit invited me to two events. One was the VODI meeting in Southall where one of his own staff took great exception to me saying that inequality was found in the Bible. Indeed he demanded I put the Bible away and shrank into a morbid sulk when I refused. Dear reader, look at these double standards. VODI and others can attack Manusmirti, Vedas and much else. But a Hindu cannot look critically at the Bible. Is this not double-standards? Is it not censorship? Is this not a sinister echo of how the Vatican used to ban books? Or how the Inquisition used to burn people at the stake for daring to read them?
The next event was run by CARJ, the Catholic Association for Racial Justice. Here Rosie Bidwai said that the Catholic Church was very concerned for Dalits and Roma Gypsies. That was a bit of a sick joke considering that for 500 years these very same Gypsies have been slaughtered, persecuted and enslaved by churches throughout Europe. Not to be outdone Bishop John Broadhurst castigated caste as being worse than Nazism, which again is a bit ironic when one realises that a large proportion of Nazis were devout Catholics and the Pope was an avid admirer of Nazism and fascism. Indeed the Vatican helped Nazi war criminals escape to Latin America.
As the only Hindu speaker at the CARJ event I was allowed to speak but only after hours of anti-Hindu speeches and having the nauseating sight of watching Broadhurst slouched in his chair like some giant mutant slug. When this vile bigot then designed to even open his mouth it was to obliquely attack the fact that a Hindu could even have a point of view. Any doubts that the spirit of Francis Xavier was something relegated to the past were soon dispelled.
CARJ is of course far from unique. CSW (Christian Solidarity Worldwide) has been attacking Hindus for years in its claim to champion Dalit rights. A splinter from this right-wing hate group is the Pipe Village Trust run by Rev Michael Lawson, whose video ‘India’s Hidden Slavery’ references disturbing remarks on the Aryan race. Now again all these efforts are convert Dalits to become members of a faith which is undergoing steep decline in what was once its heartland. Instead people in developed countries are turning to individual spiritual development through mechanisms such as yoga. This does not bode well for followers of an angry jealous male god who once dominated.
Hence their desperation to latch onto issues of social relevance. Indian spiritualty, ancient and noble, is seen as the biggest threat. Hence the eagerness to use caste as the weapon of last resort, while keeping the church’s historic support for slavery, pogroms, colonialism and racism under the carpet. In this they are joined by academics from India, Stalinist to the hilt, suckled on the warped ideas of Karl Marx and Lenin. Yet they arrive in Britain, their midnless rants against neo-imperialism notwithstanding, and start the ‘desification’ of academia.
Here they see caste as part of the Marxist class struggle, which it never was, conveniently ignoring that the Berlin Wall no longer exists, China suffers mass pollution and North Korea is starving itself to death. But not matter, communism offers the equality which Hinduism cannot. The fact that this equality usually involves being a slave in the logai where China manufactures the cheap consumer goods so much in demand in the ‘imperialist’ west does not bother them one iota. It is the ‘theory’ that counts, much like it is the ‘revelation’ which counts to the very Christian fundamentalists they usually hate but when it comes to Hindus they join together in an unholy axis.
Hindu Councils and Forums
In his visit to the UK, Moses Parmar warned of caste Hindus promoting Hindu supremacy in the country. Did Mr Parmar see this along with mermaids and unicorns? Hindu groups are constantly castigated for ignoring the issue of caste. They are blamed for ignoring the obvious data. But how obvious is it? From the information gathered there is certainly caste discrimination. But where does it take place? What are its sources?
On Brit Asia TV’s ‘Broken Silence’ Davinder Prasad went on with a straight face and said the problem was Manusmirti. So let us get this straight. Hindus read Manusmirti and then go and practise caste discrimination? So if we change or get rid of this vile book, that will stop caste discrimination? Is Mr Prasad serious? Evidently an educated man he is nevertheless worse than a misguided idealist.
In the House of Lords Inderjit Singh said Hinduism had to get rid of caste just like his own faith had done. But a cursory look at instances of caste discrimination indicate that it is actually worse among Sikhs. Those from castes variously called Chamar, Chuhra and Ravidassia constantly complain of harassment, bullying and discrimination by Jatts. The examples are in fact not just disturbing but too common to merely dismiss out of hand. But we need to ask ourselves just what does this have to do with Brahmans, Vedas and Manusmirti?
In fact what does it have to do with Hindus? But that misunderstands the evil genius of caste discourse. Just like modern Poland suffers from rampant anti-Semitism without Jews, and Oregon has historically been racist towards blacks despite only ever having a minor African-American presence, caste debate blames Hindus even when it is rampant among non-Hindus. Lord Singh also revamped the myth of an Aryan race, yet all in the name of tolerance. Here we have a debate in the House of Lords by anti-Hindu fanatics who argue that casteism is racism yet revive ideas that one thought would have died with the Nuremberg Trials.
As to Hindus groups they are actually guilty of not confronting the issue of caste. Indeed they do not confront issues of much importance at all. That is why the Hindu lobby is not just a myth, but a sad joke, a contradiction in terms.
HHR was formed because Hindu organisations did not want to look at issues of Hindu persecution. So they are hardly going to want to look at an issue as inconvenient as caste. Ironically this is where groups such as the VHP and Castewatch find common ground. How?
It was in Coventry University 13 years ago that former NHSF president Manoj Ladwa was approaching the disaffected attendees that was to from the core of HHR. On realising that we were complaining about the fact that this event was not addressing Hindu issues he veered off and walked away. No money to be made here. No prestige, no slimy hero-worship. It was a different story 5 years later when Ladwa teamed up with Conservative MP Shailesh Vara to impress upon me for HHR to give up its work as they were not a powerful group and in any case the Hindu vote in Britain was insignificant.
So what exactly was Ladwa a former activist in Labour Friends of India (LFIN) doing with the Tory Party’s token brown face? Why did Ladwa fully agree that Hindus were politically irrelevant when he has been active within BJP, VHP and RSS? LFIN was wound up as its Hindu members were using it to make business contacts and commercial deals, all very lucrative.That is the key. It is never about human rights.
It is not even for a Hindu lobby much feared by Moses Parmar of the All India Christian Council. It is about having contact with officialdom and making as much money as possible, especially if that means being aloof from the toiling proletariat.
This ‘desification’ of British politics where state patronage is all powerful and leads to special ‘favours’ is what drives this much feared ‘Hindu’ lobby. This is the common ground with Hindu groups and their detractors find themselves. Fighting over scraps of decreasing state handouts. Hence they are also united in their determination to crush the truth. The main dividing line is this. Davinder Prasad and Eugene Culas have at least invited HHR to Castewatch and VODI meetings, respectively. By contrast Hasmukh Shah who leads the VHP, which ultimately leads NHSF, has banned HHR from speaking on all university and college campuses to Hindu students. ‘Desification’ means loyalty to the group, blind obedience. A person’s quality is of no importance. That is even the case where it is to the detriment of the community itself.
A Fistful of State Handouts
Davinder Prasad went to NHSF (National Hindu Students Forum) to ask them to confront the thorny issue of caste. If he had known exactly what he was walking into he would have realised it would have been better off staying in Coventry and organising another anti-Hindu hate rally by Castewatch. NHSF has long been obsessed with ignoring issues of importance.
One has to feel rather sorry for Mr Prasad of Castewatch as he walked into the Twilight Zone of NHSF, a nightmare world reminiscent of the Stepford Wives wearing frilly dresses and fussing over the latest recipe for cake. The only time this changes is when money and fame are on the table.
HHR was formed after the NHSF annual conference in Coventry, 2000. Discussions on the rape, massacre and forcible conversion of Hindus were censored in favour of discussing student fees. In fact any political discussion was stamped on. NHSF, VHP, Hindu Council and Hindu Forum may in theory stand at polar opposites to Castewatch, DSN, VODI, ACDA and DFN. But they are united by far more than what divides them.
What matters here is not talent, intelligence or initiative, but loyalty to the ‘tribe’. Blind loyalty, mindless sheep, the creation of automatons. This is necessary when one realises that their efforts are not to server the community but to get lucrative state and other handouts in order to show their ‘relevance’. This may be research on caste discrimination. But always it is with getting that much vaunted knighthood.
Follow the money. Instead of corporations becoming socially conscious, charities have actually become commercially minded. The line between altruism and Ayn Rand’s virtue of selfishness is almost non-existent. This is exactly what we are facing with the caste debate. Whether its conversion where Michael Lawson and his DFN collaborators argue for just £15 a month to help Dalits, “one by one” as narrator and Christian fundamentalist Anjali Guptara pleads. Or if its donations to Hindu Council, which represents nobody but itself, and with the splits in its own ranks, even that is on shaky ground.
But why work when you can get free cash and fame for some unstipulated ‘community’ work? Hindu Council received huge sums of cash from the state. And for what? Yet it still ran out of funds. What we have now is government money being offered so that ‘research’ can be done into caste.
It is not about truth. It is about getting paid to sit around and produce obscure studies that have scant social relevance but which allows social parasites to exhibit their self-importance. If people yearn for Caesars and Bonepartes then they will arise to lead mindless sheep who simply find it too hard to think fro themselves.
In Wall Street 2, Gordon Gecko, now released from prison, remarks that while he once said “greed is good” it was now legal. The former remark was said in Wall Street and epitomised selfish yuppies of Eighties Britain just as Harry Enfield’s ‘Loadsamoney’ stereotyped ‘Essex Man’, waving wads of cash as he boasted about how well he had done under Thatcher.
The virtue of selfishness may have been given its pseudo-philosophical embellishment by America’s Ayn Rand but its entry into the mainstream was already happening. Social breakdown and dysfunction acted as midwife to the birth of surrogate family structures, the gang. In this it could be postcode, area, ethnicity, faith and even caste. A society which valued individual choice and freedom ironically led to the individual becoming atomised and subject to a wider collective of state, mighty corporations with their sponsorship and advertising reach, and interest groups. How to get ahead? How to be someone of importance?
How to make a lucrative living with the least amount of work? In a society saturated with narcissism and constantly bombarded with a monstrous media, intelligence and deep thought is replaced by soundbites and a throwaway microwave culture. With the constant emphasis on outward aggression the idea of an inward journey seems odd and laughable. That is because it is also threatening.
In 1999 veteran Afro-Caribbean British journalist Darcis Howe travelled the length and breadth of the country to ask what it meant to be British. As he queued to get into the comedy club of the late Bernard Manning, Howe thought of how if he was refused entry to the club (Manning was notorious for jokes attacking Asians and blacks), he could take legal action and be several thousand pounds richer. After all this would have breached the Racial Discrimination Act. As it was Howe was allowed entry and sat in the audience, even having a good humoured banter with Manning after the show. Now the question we should ask with the inclusion of caste in the Equality Act, is that can people claim caste discrimination anywhere?
What is someone walked into a Guru Ravidassia temple and said they were Brahmin? Would they be asked to leave? Would they get forcibly evicted? If so could legal action be taken against the holy premises.
Unlike race the identity of caste is much harder to prove. In multiracial Britain even race is becoming a bit amorphous. How many people know that Boris Johnson is of Turkish descent? Or that Cliff Richard is Anglo-Indian? Probably less than know that Russian writer Pushkin had Ethiopian ancestry. How will caste discrimination be proven? That ignores the inconvenient fact of how this whole drama will play out. Niall Ferguson said last year that we are no longer subject to the rule of law, but the rule of lawyers.
Here a nice killing is to be made from bringing cases of caste discrimination, every bit as infectious as personal injury claims have been. Those that avert their gaze from this ignore the virtue of selfishness that has become mainstream. Once caste is included what will the anti-caste lobby do? They need to justify their existence. That means justifying state handouts. Here the anti-caste lobby will vie with each other for that shrinking pot of state funding in a fight to the death. A sad epitaph indeed for those that began the struggle for equal rights with such idealism.