has been the subject of ill-informed comment
for too long," says HCUK General Secretary
Anil Bhanot. "Today, we are putting
the record straight. We are also naming
and shaming those who spread misinformation
about Hinduism and its relationship to caste
in an ill-disguised attempt to vilify the
Hindu people and cause division within our
the report acknowledges and condemns the
fact that abuse of varnashram continues
in India, despite an official ban on caste
discrimination and the introduction of positive
discrimination policies to emancipate lower
castes, in particular Dalits, or "untouchables,"
it questions the existence of caste discrimination
in the UK, saying no one should be fooled
by groups making allegations of such discrimination
who are seeking Government legislation and
Government funds to tackle this supposed
Bhanot argues in his Foreword to the report
that MPs such as Rob Marris (Wolverhampton
South West) and Jeremy Corbyn (Islington
North), who are lobbying the Department
of Communities and Local Government to legislate
against caste discrimination may have been
"misled by Christian groups who want,
quite simply, to "save" people
from the "falsehood" of Hinduism
and convert people to Christianity. In other
words, groups who are themselves practising
prejudice and discrimination, by condemning
the beliefs of those who do not follow their
view is shared by UK Dalits. In a Statement
prepared for inclusion in HCUK"s report,
the Shiri Guru Valmik Sabha in Southall,
London, says: "We resent having the
word Dalit ascribed to us by the British
media and Christian missionary organisations."
The Executive adds that organisations professing
to tackle caste discrimination in fact "help
create further divisions in our society."
The community admits there are problems
with attitudes in the older generation,
but believes inter-caste marriages and the
opportunities Britain affords to all are
changing this lingering prejudice and will
finally eradicate it.
In particular, the detailed HCUK report
challenges assumptions about caste and the
claims made by organisations such as CasteWatch
UK and the Dalit Solidarity Network UK,
concluding that contrary to their assertions
and popular belief, caste, as described
in the Hindu scriptures, is not determined
by birth. Neither, says the report, is the
notion of caste exclusive to the Hindu religion
or to Indian culture.
report also traces the spiritual and historical
roots of Caste, concluding they lie ultimately
in the Indian people's need for spiritual
and cultural protection in the face of numerous
invasions and foreign rulers, most significantly
by the Portuguese and the British Raj, who
then perverted the system to their own ends.
FORMULATED CASTE SCHEDULES
was the British who single-handedly formulated
the caste schedules that remain in place
today," writes Dr Raj Pandit Sharma
in his report. "The evils manifest
in the current form of the caste system
can not be ascribed to the Hindu faith.
The current adulteration of the Hindu varnashram
system is a direct result of generations
of British Colonial bureaucracy."
report includes quotations from Hindu scripture
in support of the concept of egalitarianism
and cites many sacred texts "respected
and venerated by people of all castes -
that were written by "Dalits,"
or "outcastes," proving that in
Hinduism, caste was never intended to be
hereditary; that no one is "high"
or "low" by birth.
The report also highlights the hypocrisy
of those who would criticise caste in India
while ignoring Britain"s own social
divisions. "There are now record levels
of homeless people in the UK, who are analogous
with the outcastes of Indian society,"
writes Dr Sharma. He also questions the
labelling of caste as analogous to apartheid:
comparison is as ridiculous as it is untrue,
especially given the fact these barbaric
systems were born under the shadow of slavery
or indentured labour, based on the colour
of one's skin, and actually conceived and
perpetrated by Europeans, not Hindus."
is no joke to have to ward off concerted
misinformation campaigns from UK parliamentarians
who really ought to know better," says
Anil Bhanot, in his Foreword to the document,
but states he has gone through the difficult
process in the hope it will alert the wider
British public to the underhand and prejudicial
tactics carried out by anti-caste propagandists.
copy of the Hindu Council's caste report
can be downloaded
here. (490KB, )