Plain Speak | Muslim-Sikh-Dalit Union is Waging Anti-Hinduism Campaign, Not Protecting Dalit in US
Sociologist and professor Salvatore Babones in his new paper – The ‘Weaponization of Caste in America’ says the real goal of the proposed laws is to ‘turn an ill-informed American public against Hindus and Hindu religious institutions’
Reported By: Shivani Gupta
Edited By: Shilpy Bisht
Sociologist and professor Salvatore Babones speaks exclusively with News18 on his new paper titled ‘The Weaponization of Caste in America’ in which he contends that Dalit is not a caste in India (or any other country), and the term does not meet the definitions of “caste” that have been used in or proposed for American legislation to ban caste-based discrimination.
Nonetheless, the Muslim-Sikh-Dalit coalition has repeatedly sought to incorporate language into American civil rights legislation that associates present-day caste-based discrimination with historical Hindu discrimination against Dalits. This bait-and-switch conflates the religious term ‘Dalit’ with the civil category ‘caste’.
He believes this has been done primarily to wage an active campaign of anti-Hinduism because the laws proposed by the Muslim-Sikh-Dalit coalition would do nothing to protect American Dalit from discrimination since caste is already a protected category and ‘Dalit’ is not a caste.
“The real goal of the proposed laws is to turn an ill-informed American public against Hindus and Hindu religious institutions,” he adds.
Babones, who is associate professor at the University of Sydney, is blunt in his analysis that most people might skirt around. The very fact that the movement to ban caste-based discrimination is sponsored mainly by Muslim, Sikh, and not just Dalit civil society organisations, begs the question why the handful, in some case even singular, Muslim and Sikh lawmakers will pick up a cause that has no resonance and most often no future, In America. The best survey data suggest that there are probably only between 20,000 and 25,000 Dalits in the US.
California’s SB 403 Bill was led by their first-ever Muslim Senator Aisha Wahab along with Jasmeet Bains, the first Sikh to represent them in their state assembly. The severely watered down bill was eventually vetoed by California Governor Gavin Newsom on the grounds that discrimination based on ancestry was already prohibited under California law.
So, as Babones says, the goal was not to effect any real change but to only bring the ‘caste’ discourse to the mainstream in America.
But the Executive Director of the Indian Century Roundtable does not stop there. He contends that this was done specifically to tie Hindu-Americans with the caste oppression which has historical relevance in India (but not in USA) and ultimately to tie Hinduism with it (and no other religions which also have caste disparities).
Babones says that “unlike Indian Dalits (who face serious disadvantage), American Dalits seem to form a highly privileged population. The survey of Dalits conducted by Equality Labs for its ‘Caste in the United States’ report relied on a wildly unrepresentative sample of self-selected Dalit rights activists, 80% of whom were either graduate students or holders of postgraduate degrees”.
Interestingly, he also found great similarities in the organisations and the methods employed by those raising “caste discrimination” with those who indulge in anti-semitic activism.
In the aftermath of the Israel-Gaza conflict, the world is witnessing how dangerous anti-semitism garbed loosely as ‘anti-zionism’ can be.
Possibly, a reminder of what could lie in future if similar motivated anti-caste movements are not countered effectively. The ultimate aim is not saving anyone from discrimination, but presenting Hindus as discriminatory.
Courtesy : News18
Note: This news piece was originally published in news18.com and used purely for non-profit/non-commercial purposes exclusively for Human Right