Written by London Swaminathan
Date: 25 November 2016
Time uploaded in London: 11-59 AM
Pictures are taken from various sources; they are representational only; thanks.
London swaminathan’s Talk
Following is an excerpt of my talk in British Parliament, committee room 12 under the auspices of Indian Forum on British Media. The meeting was held on Wednesday 23rd November inside the British Parliament building. One has to pass through tight security like we see at the airports. I was one of the seven speakers.
“Good Evening and Namaste.
Thanks for inviting me to speak briefly here on the issue of the Equality Act 2010. Like our honourable MP Bob Blackman here said earlier, I also feel there is no need to include the word CASTE as one of the discrimination in the act. There is no need to amend it for the following reasons:
As soon as Mr Prabhakar Kaza asked me to speak on this subject I did a small survey among my friends and family circle in Greater London area.
When I asked about CASTE, they all said they knew about castes in the country. When I asked them whether they knew anything about caste discrimination, immediately they asked me “You mean, in India?”
I said No. I am asking about Caste discrimination in Britain. They were all surprised and raised their eyebrows. They never heard of any caste discrimination.
Friends, please be aware of the difference between the words CASTE and Caste DISCRIMINATION. There is no caste discrimination in the country, at least in Greater Lonodon area. I attend many events organised by the community organisations and temple festivals. No one is discriminated against. But if you believe that there is discrimination let me tell you two stories.
TWO INTERESTING STORIES
As most of you know these stories already I am just giving you the outline of the story to illustrate my point.
There was a king in India whose son was pricked by a thorn. He had very heavy bleeding and the medicine men came and cured the boy. But the king was concerned about future accidents and so he made a proclamation that whoever comes with a solution to this problem will be given 1000 gold coins. Many people came with different suggestions such as spreading a carpet throughout the country or clearing the entire country without thorns. But a wise minister stood up and told them their treasury would be empty if they followed those suggestions. He also told them that he had a solution for it. He told them why don’t you wear a shoe? They wondered what a shoe was. He showed them the design of a leather shoe and that was how the shoes were invented. King was very happy and all his citizens started wearing shoes from that day. A simple solution for a big problem!
God gives us problems and solutions as well. One must be wise enough to find the solution. We also have a thorny issue here. Speakers who spoke earlier told us that the Dalits re encountering problems in this country. If it is correct why don’t you find a solution instead of making it bigger and bigger by including it in the Law Book.
When there is a small problem or no problem, you are creating a phantom and fighting with it. Please dont do it.
Let me tell you another story to illustrate my point:-
When the Pandavas were in the forest, Lord Krishna and satyaki took the duty of guarding their tent. Since Hindus have divided the night into four divisions (Jamam), Satyaki suggested to Krishna they could turns. Krishna readily agreed. When Satyaki started his night sentry work, a Brahmarakshas (ghost) fell from the tree and started making funny noises. It teased Satyaki and he could not tolerate that nuisance. So he started crushing a tiny creature which was the size of a mustard seed. But it grew to the size of a foot ball and made more noises. Satyaki kicked it. Now it became like an Indian Pumpkin. Friends, I don’t know whether you have seen Indian Pumpkin. It is huge. When satyaki attacked it, the ghost became bigger than Satyaki and gave him a punch Satyaki fainted and the ghost/ brahma rakshas went on its way. Thus, ended the first division of the night. Then Satyaki woke up Krishna and told him
“Krishna it is your turn now”. But Satyaki did not tell him anything that happened.
Krishna started his night duty as a watchman. The same ghost came and heckled at Krishna. Krishna smiled at it and patted on its back and said
Oh, my God! What a beautiful creature you are! I have never seen such a beauty. Come on, my darling! Come near. As he started doing this it became smaller and smaller in size and then disappeared.
Thus, ended the second division of the night.
For the third division of the night, Satyaki came, the ghost came again and all that happened in the first division of the night happened again! He got a severe blow and fainted. Fortunately, Krishna’s turn came and he did the same to the ghost and it disappeared.
In the morning Satyaki was surprised to see Krishna as fresh as a rose flower. He started the conversation slowly
“Krishna , how was it last night?
Krishna said smilingly, everything was alright. Since he was omnipresent and omniscient he knew what happened to Satyaki the previous night.
Then satyaki himself said the attacks of the ghost. Krishna laughed and said “My dear friend, whenever there is a small problem, don’t fight it. The more you fight the more problematic it will be”.
Friends! this is what I want to tell you. Even if I agree with you that there is a caste discrimination in the country, please don’t make it bigger and bigger. Don’t create a phantom and fight it.
Pariah and my fight against it!
Let me tell you about the word Pariah in Oxford Dictionary. Pariah is a Tamil word in Oxford English dictionary used by all he British politicians and newspapers almost every week. It is equivalent to dalit in other Indian languages. Even our Foreign Minister Borris Johnson used it last week dubbing “Syria, is an International Paraiah”.
Friends, I was the one who started a Facebook campaign to remove this word; but it is still used. Open any newspaper published in different parts of the world, New York Times, International Herald Tribune or London Times or other newspapers. Whenever a politician use the word Pariahit is published. A Tamil word is misused and abused. What we need is educating the British, educating the public. If I use Pariah in my part of the world, Tamil Nadu in South India, I will be sued, I may be imprisoned.
So friends if at all there is an older generation still practising the anti-dalit attitude, please educate them. The current generation do not know anything about caste discrimination.
PARIAH in Oxford Dictionary:
1‘they were treated as social pariahs’
outcast, persona non grata, leper, reject, untouchable, undesirable
To be continued………………….