Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Should Caste be covered by the Equality Act?

If all you are concerned with is Justice and Utility and stuff like that- go ahead and answer yes. The same goes for looney toons Hindutva types who think eradicating Caste will instantaneously turn India into a Super Power and this will make every N.R.I or P.I.O dick at least two inches longer and wider.
But what if you were philosophically inclined? Would you still think the answer is yes?
Before rushing to judgement, consider the case of  Naveed vs. Aslam where an Employment Tribunal dismissed the Claimant's allegation of caste discrimination on the following grounds

What would happen if the Crown amends the Equality Act to bring Caste discrimination within its purview?
Well, in that case being discriminated against because of one's Caste- even if those doing the discriminating are of the same Caste- would be actionable. In the case of Mr. Naveed, a chef from Pakistan whose style of cooking was not to the liking of his employer's clientele, a case could be made that he was cooking 'proper' Arain food and his Arain employers were in fact discriminating against him because they had become deracinated Arains by reason of prosperity; in particular, their ownership of land and other assets ha turned them into 'Chowdhurys'. 
To my mind, this line of thought opens some truly marvelous vistas for litigious persons like myself. I have previously complained on this blog about the quite horrendous Racial and Sexual abuse I suffered, the former at the hands of my parents and the latter at the hands of my ex-wife. 
Previously, what restrained me from going to law was that it was open to the Court or Tribunal to find that, like Mr. Naveed, in the above example, since it was possible to alter my status within my Caste- for e.g by washing regularly or getting a job-in which case I would cease to be subject to abuse, therefore, it followed, that no actual Racial or Sexual abuse had occurred. I say this because it is only my lowly status within my Caste which endows me with such merely corporeal characteristics as Race and Gender. 
If the Equality Act is extended to Caste- at least Hindu Castes- then an exciting new vista is opened for the Philosophy of Law. This is because Caste- 'Jati'- signifies a type of concrete Universal such that it defines a class all of whose elements possess substance, quality and action as opposed to abstract Universals referring to things like inherence, existence or non existence, particularity, universality etc all of which are subsumed under the rubric of  upadhi -thus, assuming away the problem of 'sankaarya' (e.g. by a choice of vocabulary such that no ambiguity or over-lapping cross-reference arises) Jati defines what Western Philosophy calls an essence which, by definition,  must be permanent, unalterable and present in all possible worlds. In impossible or partly impossible and hence ontologically dysphoric worlds, Jati remains present but alterable or alterable but permanent. Thus, while remaining within the same Jati, one may be a God, a demon, an animal, a ghost or wholly insubstantial and all or none of these things simultaneously and with varying degrees of virtuality. More particularly, in the case of Hindus in the U.K- clearly they have lost Caste by crossing the black water but equally evidently they possess it by virtue of having never left India in the first place- in other words anything at all can be predicated of them with equal truth value. Furthermore, since Caste is alterable and moreover the possibility of subsisting in several different physical bodies simultaneously is admitted, if follows that the a priori virtuality of all Caste UK Hindus permits my bringing an action against myself for Caste discrimination- certainly a good way to punish myself for daring to be uppity.

What about non-Hindus? For them, clearly 'Caste' isn't about status but descent because there is no religious ceremony they can undergo, or ostracism they can incur, to change their Caste status. Here, though self-prosecution isn't possible, still the door is opened for sons to sue their fathers and brothers to sue their brothers. Speaking personally, it is my custom- as becomes a typically low status member of my caste- to hurl my feces at dinner guests while hanging from the chandelier. If my father fails to employ me, clearly it is because of my caste, not anything else. The fact that he belongs to the same caste doesn't change anything. He has improved his status within my caste but no one can deny that our very distant forbears behaved as I do now- hence it is something inherited by descent which can't be divorced from Caste since Caste- within non-Hindu Religions and Cultures- is wholly descent driven and, consequently, not alterable at will.

Not that any of the above excuses David Cameron's refusal to breast feed Nick Clegg- reserving all of his profuse lactation for the greedy little lips of the Chancellor of the Exchequer..
I've said it before and I'll say it again- that boy aint right.
Mind it kindly.

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