In a debate held at London School of Oriental and African Studies on 28 March 2018 regarding establishing a Caste discrimination Law in the UK, I spoke as follows;  

Inter-caste marriages are the norm in the Hindu community. Our children do not care for caste, they will hardly be able to discriminate because caste for them is irrelevant. They do not disown their caste but they do not for a minute think of high or low caste. Not a single case of caste discrimination has been successful in the courts in this country. Let us see some examples of alleged caste discrimination that the caste lobby talks about. A factory foreman is claimed to have discriminated against a Dalit.  This would be dealt by company rules which all forbid any form of discrimination or bullying. This country has enough anti discriminatory laws to cover any situation. Another example I saw was in a TV documentary in which a woman said that a nurse refused to attend to her because she was a Dalit. Well the nurse would have faced immediate sack as the NHS rules forbid any discrimination against anyone. These examples are designed to invoke sympathy for the caste lobby and discredit Hindus. And Hindus have no way of defending themselves from such outrageous claims. I would like to say to my Dalit friends, this country is giving all of us a great opportunity to reach for the skies. Grab these opportunities instead of getting bogged down on perceived discrimination by Hindus. Make your community proud by smashing glass ceilings in myriad fields of life. Those who are showing sympathy for your cause and pretending to support you are actually doing you a great disservice and keeping you down and you are missing out on all the opportunities this country offers you. Please abandon this victim psychology. This mental state of being victims stagnates any progress. The victim psychology becomes a crutch and you begin to believe you are victims and that you are held back by others. If someone does not want to sit on a table with you give them back the same treatment. You do not need a law for that. There is massive class discrimination in this country, so much so that if you are born working class you are disadvantaged at every point in life. Yet there is no class discrimination law in this country. Why then are some prominent people pushing for a caste law?. Do they not care for the working classes of this country? A government that passes laws just to please a vociferous lobby will be doing a great injustice to the people of this country. This caste law will actually discourage some companies from employing Dalit’s for fear of being sued even though termination of employment would be for incompetence or other reasons. Caste and Class are a fact of life. Dalit’s are proud of their caste and rightly so. In this country we can excel whatever our caste. Some people or organisations might have a different agenda in raising the caste issue in this country but it will not work.  

Post Script: Following a public consultation on Caste the government has decided not to bring in a caste discrimination law. It will instead take the Case Law path. Case Law is based on previous judicial decisions or precedents.      

Nitin Mehta

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