For nearly two decades, the Dalit Ambedkarite diaspora has been mobilising in West to highlight the persistence of caste-based discrimination.
Sumeet Mhaskar, Professor, Jindal School of Government and Public Policy, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.
April 14 marks the 132nd birth anniversary of BR Ambedkar, India’s foremost civil rights leader, scholar, statesman and the most powerful crusader against the inequalities perpetuated by the caste system. From the remotest Indian village to the major cities around the world, Dalit Ambedkarites observe the day as their most important festival. Ambedkar is the only Indian leader whose birth anniversary is celebrated globally by Dalit Ambedkarite groups.
This year is unique because the state of Michigan and Minnesota in the US have officially announced April 9-April 15 as “Social Equity Week.” Likewise, the state of New Hampshire in the US and the City of Burnaby in Canada have declared April 14 the “Day of Equality.” The state of Washington has gone further and decided to observe April 2023 as “Dalit History Month.”
These declarations have instilled a great deal of confidence among the Dalit Ambedkarite diaspora and their struggle to make caste a protected category.
In recent years, Indian immigration to the West has witnessed a phenomenal increase, especially among those in the Information Technology industry. The growth in the overall South Asian population has also resurfaced the caste problem. The problem of caste is, thus, no longer the problem only of the Indian government. For nearly two decades, the Dalit Ambedkarite diaspora has been mobilising in West to highlight the persistence of caste-based discrimination.
For instance, in the United Kingdom, Dalit Ambedkarites took the opportunity of the Equality Bill (which became an Act in 2010) to make their case for prohibiting caste discrimination. However, the opposition from upper-caste Hindu diaspora organisations stalled the inclusion of caste in the Equality Act.
Published in: Scroll.in
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