KATHMANDU: Dalit Lives Matter Global Alliance (DLMGA), a prominent advocacy group dedicated to combating caste-based discrimination, organised ‘Caste Conversation’, a thought-provoking programme in Lalitpur, on Thursday.
The programme aimed to shed light on the persisting issue of caste-based discrimination, which continues to afflict societies worldwide despite advancements in science, technology, and innovation.
The event featured Suraj Yengde, renowned author of the bestseller ‘Caste Matters’, also a Du Bois Fellow at Harvard University and a Research Scholar at Oxford University. Yengde discussed various ways the caste system has generated hatred and had a detrimental impact on society.
Speaking at the event, Yengde highlighted how caste-based discrimination has inflicted a negative impact on individuals and hindered the progress of the nation. He underscored the significance of recognising the far-reaching effects of this deeply entrenched social hierarchy to address and rectify its damaging consequences. He conveyed how caste-based discrimination has engendered animosity and sowed seeds of division among people, eroding the fabric of society. He voiced his concern over the prevalence of hatred resulting from discrimination and how it obstructs the cultivation of peace and mutual understanding necessary for social cohesion.
Calling for an end to caste-based discrimination, Yengde made a fervent plea for equality, emphasizing the importance of treating everyone with love, respect, and honour. He stressed that the removal of caste-based prejudices is essential to building a just and harmonious society. Yengde’s powerful words resonated with the audience, stirring a sense of urgency to tackle caste-based discrimination and work towards a society where every individual is valued and accorded equal opportunities.
The author of the bestseller ‘Caste Matters’ delved into the historical context of the caste system. He highlighted the efforts of scholars and activists who have tirelessly worked to eradicate this deeply entrenched social hierarchy. He opined that the roots of caste-based discrimination and the urgency of ongoing societal change have to be addressed. The discussion focused on ‘untouchability’, a form of social exclusion and marginalisation faced by individuals from castes with low status. Yengde explained the adverse consequences of the ‘untouchability’ system and its detrimental effects on various aspects of society.
Yengde, Research Scholar at Oxford University, also drew attention to the relatively low representation of individuals from marginalised communities in the country’s politics and government. He lamented that they were significantly underrepresented. Further, he argued that this disparity perpetuates systemic discrimination and obstructs the path to true equality.
On the occasion, author Yengde highlighted invaluable contributions made by individuals from marginalised communities, their achievements across diverse fields, resilience and determination in overcoming systemic barriers.
The ‘Caste Conversation’ attracted a diverse audience including activists, scholars, policymakers, and concerned citizens. The thought-provoking dialogue stimulated insightful discussions and sparked a renewed commitment to addressing caste-based discrimination within Nepali society.
The programme served as a powerful platform to raise awareness about the persistence of caste-based discrimination and fostered meaningful conversations on the path forward towards a more equitable future.
Programmes like ‘Caste Conversation’ provide a vital platform to amplify marginalised voices, challenge societal norms, and inspire collective action to dismantle the caste system and its associated prejudices.
DLMGA continues to champion the cause of ending caste-based discrimination, advocating for equal rights, social justice, and a more inclusive society.
(By Prajwal Nepali)
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