In contemporary India, there are few more contentious issues than caste. ‘Capitalism will eradicate caste!’ say some. ‘India will never be able to hold its head high whilst caste power rules the roost’ say others. Yet caste is not only an issue for India, it is also alive and well in the UK.
On Tuesday 21 April, the University of Warwick will host a day-long public event to table discussions with researchers, policy makers, activists and members of the British Asian community on the subject of ‘Spaces of Caste in India and the UK – Persistence and Resistance’.
The event, which includes an evening performance by poet Meena Kandasamy, is part of a year-long schedule of events titled ‘Another India’ being run by Dr Sarah Hodges from the History department and Professor Shirin Rai of the University of Warwick’s Politics and International Studies (PAIS) department.
Dr Sarah Hodges said: “Whether through formal electoral politics, literature, or the arts, caste in general, and untouchability in particular, struggles around caste have recently become prominent in the mainstream debate. This event will showcase the career of caste, and particularly anti-caste thought, over the twentieth century and into the twenty-first.
“Caste is no longer simply an issue for India, this is now very much on the radar for the Equal Opportunities and Human Rights Commission in the UK and denying people opportunities because of their caste is now classed as racial discrimination. This anti caste movement has an impact on not just our legal system but also our Black Asian communities and their shared history. It’s important for history to record this change and examine feelings around it.
“We have always been very keen to engage the cultural community with this event alongside the policy makers, researchers and activists at this event and are delighted that local members of the Asian community are very involved. We hope that, moving forward, this event will continue to highlight the importance of Warwick as a globally engaged university in sustaining spaces for critical, informed dialog about contentious contemporary issues.”
Professor Shirin Rai said: “To celebrate Warwick’s 50th anniversary, 2015 sees the university coordinate a series of events around the theme of ‘Another India’. We ran a conference on Picturing Law, Politics and Justice in New Delhi with our colleagues from Jawaharlal Nehru University on 8-10 April and will run a third event in Mumbai addressing issues of power in the city towards the end of the year. A fourth and final event in the series will be organised at Warwick in December and will focus on social justice strategies. We hope that this programme of events will not only bring to the fore key conversations around the issues we are discussing but also open up new channels to enable us to engage with India’s key change makers across sectors, such as public policy, the arts and of course academia.”
People wishing to attend the events or find out more about the ‘Another India’ project can visit the dedicated website.
Notes to Editors:
For more information or interview requests, please contact Lee Page, Communications Manager, Press and Policy Office, The University of Warwick. Tel: +44 (0)2476 574 255, Mob: +44 (0)7920 531 221. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lee Page, Communications Manager
+44 (0)2476 574 255
+44 (0)7920 531 221