‘We are zero’: Immigrant says she can’t escape sting of India’s caste system, even in Canada
VANCOUVER — For most of her life, Kamlesh Ahir has been trying to escape the caste system that’s defined her from birth.
She went to university, abandoned her religion and, in 1994, left India for Canada, a new land offering a fresh start.
Or so she thought.
To an outsider, Ms. Ahir is no different than the more than 200,000 people of South Asian heritage who call Metro Vancouver home.
Yet among her own people, her last name brands her as a dalit, the people formerly called untouchables.
Dalits occupy the lowest rung in the Indian caste system, a rigid class structure rooted in Hinduism that dictated occupation and social status.
Condemned to live on the margins of society, they used to be denied access to schools and temples. They were confined to jobs deemed unclean, such as handling human waste or dead animals, and could be punished for letting their shadow fall on someone of an upper caste.
The Indian government banned castes more than 60 years ago and gave dalits substantial rights. But discrimination remains widespread, especially in rural areas. Even in Canada, ingrained attitudes, centuries old, are not easy to change.
“They think we are bulls–t. We are zero. We are a dog, less than a dog,” says Ms. Ahir, who was born into the chamar caste, whose members traditionally worked as tanners.
“They think we are nothing. It doesn’t matter if we are a doctor, teacher, because we belong to the lower castes.
“I’m in Canada … But the bulls–t castes are still here. We live it every day.”
New immigrants can face as much discrimination in their own ethnic communities as they do from mainstream society.
It’s a discrimination based not on race, but on a variety of factors such as class, colour, caste, economic status, politics or region of origin.
Read more here- http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/10/10/we-are-zero-immigrant-says-she-cant-escape-sting-of-indias-caste-system-even-in-canada/
October 22, 2014 at 1:49 pm
Indian caste system is more dangerous, cruel, barbarous, hard, violent, inhuman and harmful than any other kind of Racial discrimination or Slavery system. It (Indian Caste system) is an unnatural and unscientific man made system, made by the enemies of unity and peace of society and nation. It (Indian Caste system) is not only a social, economic, political and religious evil, but also a mental disease and mental sickness. It (Indian Caste system) should be banned at any cost by Act of Parliament or by the Law of the State, otherwise it (Indian Caste system) will spoil and kill the democratic institutions and secularism of any developed and civilized state and society.
It (Indian Caste system) will also slaughter the unity and peace and economic and scientific development and progress of state and society. It (Indian Caste system) is not only a devil but also monster who destroy the principles of equality, liberty and fraternity. To believe in Caste and Untouchability is not only a crime against humanity but also a violation of human rights and fundamental rights of an individual. It (Indian Caste system) divides the society and nation. It (Indian Caste system) is also an enemy of social equality and social justice. It (Indian Caste system) is also a great threat and challenge to global society. It (Indian Caste system) is more dangerous and harmful than chemical weapons.
October 30, 2014 at 11:28 am
If you want to save your society, religion and state, annihilate the Indian Caste system at the earliest. The casteists are inhuman and they don`t believe in unity, peace, harmony, equality, liberty and fraternity. The casteists are the enemies of social equality, social justice, human rights and fundamental rights of an individual.
March 7, 2015 at 1:37 pm
“The Untouchables (Dalits) of India want economic, social, political, religious and educational equality in Society, not in the eyes of God”
(Harbans Lal Badhan)
March 8, 2016 at 2:44 pm
“The whole world knows that Dr. Ambedkar is the heart and the brain of the Untouchables (Dalits) of India.”
(Harbans Lal Badhan)
April 5, 2017 at 7:30 pm
”The whole world knows that Indian Caste system is more dangerous and harmful than chemical weapons.”