• British Legislation Against Caste Based Discrimination and the demand for the Sunset Clause

      Takhar, Opinderjit (Routledge, 2017-07-18)
      On 23 April 2013, British Parliament agreed an Amendment on caste to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill (ERR Bill). The Bill received Royal Assent on 25 April 2013 and Section 97 of the ERR Act (that provides that Government `shall’ use Section 9(5)a to make caste an aspect of race) came into force on 25 June 2013. The Amendment will be made to the Equality Act 2010 by ‘adding caste as ‘an aspect of’ the protected characteristic of race’ (Waughray 2014). Importantly, although the Government’s timetable states that the legislation will be enforced not before October 2015, the considerable delay in implementation is consequential of the opposition from both Sikh and Hindu organisations. To some degree, there was unanimity amongst most British Sikhs that legislation against caste discrimination was unnecessary under British law. The Sikh Council UK (SCUK) declared that ‘caste allegiances were on their way out in the UK’ and demanded a Sunset Clause which essentially renders the caste legislation as temporary for a period of ten years since the credence of the SCUK is that caste will have absolutely no significance for subsequent generations of British Sikhs. This paper provides an analysis of attitudes, primarily from the British Sikh and Punjabi Dalit communities towards caste discrimination legislation in British Law and in particular attitudes towards the proposal of the Sunset Clause
    • Caste and identity processes among British Sikhs in the Midlands

      Jaspal, Rusi; Takhar, Opinderjit (Taylor & Francis, 2016-06-27)
      This article examines the role of caste in the lives and identities of a small sample of young Sikhs in the English Midlands, using social psychological theory. In many academic writings, there is an implicit representation of caste as a negative aspect of South Asian culture and religion, and of caste identification as a means of oppressing vulnerable outgroups. Twenty-three young Sikhs were interviewed, and the qualitative data were analysed using Identity Process Theory. The following themes are discussed: (i) Caste as a Dormant Social Category, (ii) Anchoring the Caste Ingroup to Positive Social Representations, and (iii) Caste as an Inherent or Constructed Aspect of Identity? It is argued that neither caste nor caste-based prejudice appear to be prominent in the lives and identities of our interviewees but that, because caste is an important symbolic aspect of identity which can acquire salient in particular contexts, some Sikhs may wish to maintain this identity though endogamy. What is understood as caste-based prejudice can be better understood in terms of the downward comparison principle in social psychology. The implications for caste legislation are discussed.