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A Humanistic perspective on the caste system in India and the UK

17th February 2016 · 7:00pm - 9:00pm

In person | Virtual event

 A Humanistic perspective on the caste system in India and the UK

Amarijt Singh, who sometimes goes under the pen name Shukra is a Dalit activist who has been involved in Dalit issues since his childhood days. He spent much of his time in the Punjab countryside before emigrating to Britain at the age of 14. He has written polemical articles in various newspaper, magazines and in newspapers. Some of these have been translated into other South Asian and SE Asian languages. He holds a professional post in the UK. His testimony was published in Blackwell Publishers The Sociological Review. 

The caste system is one of the most complex socio-political class systems and the most enduring that the ancient the world has ever known. It is also one of the most oppressive social systems and it is often compared to the apartheid system although the latter did not have untouchability, Devadasis etc. the caste system is actively sanctioned by Hindu scriptures which is the ideology of the right wing Hindus in India and and the Indian right wing in the UK. Other South Asian religions professing to condone social equality such as Islam, Sikhism and Christianity have also adopted the Hindu model in practice showing that any generalised statement about the caste system can be contradicted by yet another completely opposite statement, such is the bewildering nature of the Indian caste system. One scholar has called it a Pandora’s box of Indology which requires an in depth study of at least a couple of dozen subjects related to Indology.

What is generally not known and what even the scholars tend to ignore, is that the earliest opposition to the caste system came from the materialist humanists, before the common era. The literature on this tradition outweighs all the western philosophical literature put together.  This tradition has never really died out in India and it still remains the best tool for analysing the Indian caste society. 

The talk will explore the history and practice of the caste system both in India and in the UK, from a humanist viewpoint.

Doors at 6.30 pm for talk at 7.00 pm 

Please arrive early to have a glass of wine from our charity wine bar, find your seat and chat with other members.

Profit from the wine bar will be donated to Amarjit’s chosen charity: Shelter from the Storm.  I know many members will agree that this is an excellent choice!

Please note, we now charge an entrance fee of £2 to help towards the hire of the venue and equipment. If you feel are unable to attend and would still like to contribute, or would prefer to pay online, we would be very grateful

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