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IMADR and IDSN joint workshop on strategies to tackle caste and gender discrimination held at Beijing +25 forum (IDSN News)
Participants and presenters shared stories, ideas and strategies at the workshop Minority Women: 25 Years as Agents of Change Together, organised by IDSN and the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR) at the Beijing+25 Regional CSO Forum in Bangkok, on 26 November. The presenters included Judith Anne Lal, from the National Dalit Movement for Justice-NCDHR and the event was moderated by IDSN board member, Megumi Komori from IMADR. A video from the event was also shared.
2019  video  IMADR  IDSN  event  joint  caste  dalit  women  dalitwomen  womenkey  ndmj  ncdhr  UN  idsnnews  news 
6 weeks ago by idsn
IDSN highlights caste-related labour issues at the Business and human rights forum 2019 (IDSN)
DSN leaves its mark on the UN Business and human rights forum with a very popular stand, highlighting the links between caste and human rights violations in global supply chains. At the stand Dalit human rights defender Ankita Paudel from IDSN member organization, Feminist Dalit Organisation – Nepal (FEDO), and IDSN staff, spoke with participants to improve their understanding and urge them to take action. Ms. Paudel also took part in key events at the forum and made connections with other relevant stakeholders. The IDSN Director, Meena Varma, also gave a snapshot presentation on what Governments can do to start addressing these issues with businesses and IDSN Ambassador, Gerard Oonk, made important new connections and raised awareness of key stakeholders.
UN  businessandhr  business  businesskey  event  participation  equality  dalit  caste  slavery  2019  idsnnews  news  IDSN 
6 weeks ago by idsn
Caste guidance launched at seminar on vulnerable workers in business supply chains (IDSN News)
Human rights issues related to caste in global supply chains was a key theme at the seminar on vulnerable workers, held in Copenhagen on 12 November, organised by IDSN, the Danish Ethical Trading Initiative (DIEH) and the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) in the UK.

ETI Director, Peter McAllister launched the ETI Caste in Global Supply Chains guidance at the seminar saying. “I am proud and honoured to be here to launch the ETI Base Code Guidance on Caste in Global Supply Chains today … caste underpins so many elements of vulnerability that we must engage with caste issues if we want to address vulnerability,” Mr. McCallister stated.
2019  businessandhr  businesskey  ETI  guidance  seminar  event  IDSN  idsnnews  news  caste  dalit  slavery 
6 weeks ago by idsn
IDSN Participates at UN Global Consultation on Business and Human Rights (IDSN News)
Henri Tiphagne, member of the IDSN board, represented IDSN in the Global Consultation on National Human Rights Institutions and access to remedy (Project on the Role of NHRIs in facilitating access to remedy for business-related human rights abuses), on the 10 and 11 October. This consultation is part of an ongoing project of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) about accountability for human rights. violations and abuses committed by corporations.
UN  business  businessandhr  2019  caste  dalit  slavery  ohchr 
6 weeks ago by idsn
Hindus: Do We Have A Caste Problem? (Video-BBC)
This documentary examines the ways in which caste discrimination manifests itself in the UK within Asian diaspora communities and the impact of caste-based exclusion on members of these communities. The video follows Parle Patel, a young British Hindu and popular YouTuber, as he interviews members of his community to get to the bottom of whether the UK has a caste problem.
caste  diaspora  diasporakey  UK  2019  BBC  press_global  video 
6 weeks ago by idsn
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9 weeks ago by Varna
‘A Censor Is Seated Inside Me Now’: Hometown Wrath Tests a Novelist - The New York Times
“Perumal Murugan, who was celebrated here on Monday as a major Indian writer, looked a bit miserable in the big city.

The son of an illiterate soda-pop vendor from small-town South India, he had limited his visit to the capital to 48 hours, and this appeared to be 46 hours too long. He prefers to sleep on a rope cot, under the stars, the way they do in the village, and has never owned a pair of shoes that were not sandals. Leaving an interview with the talk show host Barkha Dutt, who is Oprah Winfrey-league famous in India, he turned to the man escorting him and asked, politely, who she was.

Mr. Murugan had come to declare his return as a writer following a long spell of darkness. After undergoing a vicious attack by caste leaders in his home state of Tamil Nadu, his novel “One Part Woman” last month was the subject of a landmark court decision defending the right of artists to critically depict their own communities. Recent interest in Mr. Murugan’s work has exploded, with five novels coming out, translated into English from the original Tamil.

But Mr. Murugan seems unsure of what kind of writer he will be now. He remains so horrified by the collective punishment meted out to him in his hometown over “One Part Woman” that he barely speaks about it, even to friends. He doubts he will ever again write about small towns with the same unblinking realism.

“A censor is seated inside me now,” he said on Monday, at a book-signing organized by Penguin India. “He is testing every word that is born within me. His constant caution that a word may be misunderstood so, or it may be interpreted thus, is a real bother. But I’m unable to shake him off.”

Mr. Murugan’s fictional villages are places full of quiet menace, where caste boundaries are protected with violence and social exclusion.

In “Pyre,” published in English by Penguin Books in April, a well-loved young man brings a wife of a different caste to live among his relatives, hoping they will eventually accept her. As the lovers, hopeful and distracted, overlook clues that the people around them are drifting into a consensus in favor of murder, Mr. Murugan slows the pace, meandering off into exact, detailed descriptions of village life. It’s so tense it leaves you gasping for air.

Equally dark currents run through “One Part Woman,” which Penguin published in English in 2013. Kali and Ponna, a couple who are erotically wrapped up in each other, withstand waves of derision because they have not conceived a child after a decade of marriage. But social pressure eats into them, first sporadically and then conspiratorially, as Ponna is pushed, as if by a hundred hands, into participating in a religious ritual in which childless women have sex with young strangers.

When describing the farming communities of South India, Mr. Murugan is neither sentimental nor harsh; he describes it the way an entomologist might describe an insect.

As a Ph.D. student, Mr. Murugan married a woman from a caste of potters, rather than his own higher landowning caste, the Gounders. His mother refused to attend the marriage, softening only when his wife bore her first child and moved to the village for six months. Two decades later, Mr. Murugan’s relatives still remind him, in subtle ways, that his wife will never be accepted.

It is notable that Mr. Murugan does not write with the expectation that his work will change anything.

“I never had such big hopes,” he said in an interview, glancing down and smiling. Collective punishment, he said, “is part of the narrative. My primary purpose is to explore the experience of the person who undergoes that humiliation.”

Mr. Murugan barely spoke as a child, which gave him time to observe. His older brother was withdrawn from school after the ninth grade so he could help his father with the soda business, and became addicted to bootleg liquor sold in the same bottles. He killed himself at 42.

Mr. Murugan became a writer, with a small but passionate following among Tamil intellectuals. At night he would go to sleep beside his young son at 8 p.m. and then rise at midnight and write for two to three hours during the quietest hours of the night. Many of his colleagues at the government college, where he taught Tamil, were unaware that he wrote fiction, he said on Monday.

In clean, clear prose, he had produced five novels in the space of three years – “almost flawless novels,” said R. Sivapriya, senior editor at the digital publishing house Juggernaut, which commissioned English translations of three of Mr. Murugan’s short stories this year. “He would train a microscope on one detail and tell that one story, and see the world through that one story,” she said. “There was a certain purity to him that won’t be there now, I think. I think it will be a different writer.”

In December 2014, he returned from a writer’s retreat to his family’s home in Namakkal to discover that he was the target of a well-organized campaign. Strangers called repeatedly to accuse him of slandering the Gounder caste in “One Part Woman,” which had been released in an English translation, and he tried earnestly to explain his motivation. The aggression built, culminating in a book burning and a citywide strike.

When a local official, the district revenue officer, summoned the author to a “peace meeting” in January 2015, Mr. Murugan’s editor tried to dissuade him from attending. By the time Mr. Murugan emerged from the meeting, he had signed a document agreeing to withdraw all unsold copies of his books and delete the passages considered offensive. During the meeting, the lawyer wrote later in The Hindu, a daily newspaper, “I could see Perumal Murugan literally crumbling from within.”

Mr. Murugan retuned to his home under police escort and posted a message on Facebook: “Perumal Murugan the writer is dead. As he is not god, he is not going to resurrect himself. He also has no faith in rebirth. An ordinary teacher, he will live as P. Murugan. Leave him alone.”

On Monday here in New Delhi, Mr. Murugan described a deep depression that followed, during which he neither read nor wrote. It ended, he said, in 2015, when he found himself at a friend’s house, locked in a room stacked with books.

“With nothing to do I lay dazed night and day,” he said. “But as I ruminated over my existence, there came a certain instant when the sluice gates were breached. I began to write. I chronicled the moment when I felt like a rat, dazzled by the light, burrowing itself into its hole.” The result was a book of poetry that went on sale on Monday, titled “Kozhayin Paadalkal,” or “Songs of a Coward.””
perumalmurugan  2016  india  ellenbarry  literature  tamil  caste 
9 weeks ago by robertogreco
One of India’s Most Original and Controversial Novelists Returns With a Powerful Parable - The New York Times
“In her Nobel lecture, delivered in Stockholm earlier this month, the Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk surveyed the world of letters with dismay. What happened to its power and promise? she asked. What happened to its mandate to yank us out of our lives and into confrontation with the universal, to bind us to history and one another? Instead, we are deafened by a cacophony of memoirs and first-person narratives — “a choir made up of soloists.” Tokarczuk lamented the decline of the fable as a form, and the loss of literature as a site for radical tenderness that might militate against self-obsession and refresh our sensitivity to the world.

I confess I had no idea things were quite so bad. But don’t despair, Olga Tokarczuk. I have an antidote at hand.

“The Story of a Goat” is the newly translated novel by Perumal Murugan, his first work since he famously committed literary suicide in 2015. Right-wing Hindu groups had attacked him for his book “One Part Woman,” which depicted an ancient temple ritual that permitted childless women to sleep with strangers in the hope of getting pregnant. Murugan was driven from his village and coerced into an apology. He renounced writing. “Perumal Murugan the writer is dead,” he posted on Facebook. “Leave him alone.”

A court ruling defended his right to free expression, and Murugan returned to work, albeit badly shaken. He was reluctant to write about humans, he said (“a censor is seated inside me now”), never mind his favorite incendiary themes: caste politics and the blunt, brutal power of the mob.

Perumal Murugan the writer lives, fearless as ever. He has returned with another parable about village life, written with breathtaking and deceptive simplicity, translated from the Tamil by N. Kalyan Raman. The novel examines the oppressions of caste and colorism, government surveillance, the abuse of women — all cunningly folded into the biography of an unhappy little goat.

There might be no more benighted animal in all of literature than Poonachi, the seventh and smallest of her litter. She slides out of her mother’s body, soot-black and frail as a flower.

An old farmer and his wife assume her care. To their surprise, their quiet home is filled with new warmth and purpose. “It had been a long time since there was such pleasant chit-chat between the couple. Because of the kid’s sudden entry into their lives, they ended up talking about the old days.” They fatten her up and introduce her to their herd. She grows into an observant creature, slow to anger and bashful about her belly, still bloated from early hunger, and her matted hair. She clings to the old couple like a child.

However venerable, the tradition of encoding critiques of power in animal stories has always left me feeling leery. The very words “baby goat” act on my brain in ways I intensely resent. But Murugan, who tended his family’s goats until he was in his 20s, writes about animal life (and death, lust, resentment) without a whiff of sentimentality. He grew up with these animals. He knows that the jaws of baby goats ache the first time they nurse. He knows the smell of a cobra in the dark.

There’s a certain kind of reader who has made it this far into the review but who remains distracted, a little uneasy, wondering: How badly will this little goat be made to suffer? If very badly, why bother with such a story? Why go to literature to encounter suffering? “The Story of a Goat” answers this question with more grace, wit and feeling than any book I’ve encountered in recent memory. We go to such stories for the relief of honesty; to see what is hidden brought to light; to acknowledge, if here alone, the pain routinely inflicted on lives normally considered too insignificant to be the subject of great literature.

And how the little goat suffers. She watches her playmates get castrated when they reach sexual maturity. She falls in love. (Murugan writes a disconcertingly effective goat sex scene.) The old woman refuses to be parted from her little pet, however, and Poonachi is separated from her beloved. She burns with rage at her human mother. She is bred, violently. Famine stalks the land.

The peculiarities of this society creep into the story. Each new baby — human or animal — must be tallied, and their ears pierced. Farmers and herders face a harsh interrogation about the parentage of their creatures — particularly those in possession of black goats, which are regarded with hostility. Originally published in 2016, the novel feels prophetic, anticipating the new law in India that grants citizenship to migrants on the basis of religion, transforming it, in effect, into a Hindu nationalist state.

Murugan traces the entire life of his little goat — her despair, her small acts of heroism, her longing — with Chekhovian clarity. Each sentence in Raman’s supple translation is modest, sculpted and clean, but behind each you sense a fund of deep wisdom about the vagaries of the rains, politics, behavior — human and animal. It was Chekhov who once said that anyone could write a biography of Socrates, but it takes skill to tell the stories of all the smaller, anonymous lives.

“Once, in a village, there was a goat,” the book begins. “The birth of an ordinary creature never leaves a trace, does it?” We are all such ordinary creatures, Murugan reveals; if any of our fugitive traces remain, we leave them in one another’s hands.”
parulsehgal  2019  perumalmurugan  olgatokarczuk  literature  fables  goats  animals  small  india  nkalyanraman  translation  toread  surveillance  caste  colorism  gender  mobviolence  chekhov  fugitivity 
10 weeks ago by robertogreco
Caste and the Indian Economy
"Caste plays a role at every stage of an Indian's economic life, in school, university, the labor market, and into old age. The influence of caste extends beyond private economic activity into the public sphere, where caste politics determine access to public resources. The aggregate evidence indicates that there has been convergence in education, occupations, income, and access to public resources across caste groups in the decades after independence. Some of this convergence is likely due to affirmative action, but caste-based networks could also have played an equalizing role by exploiting the opportunities that became available in a globalizing economy. Ethnic networks were once active in many advanced economies but ceased to be salient once markets developed. With economic development, it is possible that caste networks will cease to be salient in India. The affirmative action programs may also be rolled back, and (statistical) discrimination in urban labor markets may come to an end if and when there is convergence across caste groups. In the interim period, however, it is important to understand the positive and negative consequences of caste involvement across a variety of spheres in the Indian economy."
to:NB  economics  india  caste 
11 weeks ago by cshalizi
Dalit women producing leather footwear for global brands suffer serious labour rights abuses
A new report by Homeworkers Worldwide finds Dalit women working in global leather supply chains being subjected to discrimination, insecure work, low wages and labour rights abuses, including sexual harassment.
slavery  children  childlabour  women  Dalit  dalitwomen  caste  India  business  businessandhr  leather  2019  idsnnews  IDSN  news  gender  sexual_violence  labour 
october 2019 by idsn
IDSN statements and recommendations at the UN Human Rights Council’s 42nd Session
IDSN has contributed to the UN Human Rights Council’s 42nd Session with two joint statements with Minority Rights Group International (MRG) on slavery and on safe drinking water and sanitation. IDSN also issued specific recommendations aimed at states and circulated by IDSN.
idsnnews  IDSN  statement  MRG  2019  news  caste  water_sanitation  recommendations  hrc  hrc42  UN  sr_water  slavery  sr_slavery  specialprocedures  special_rapporteurs 
october 2019 by idsn
Norwegian Minister of Development voices support to end caste discrimination
The IDSN Executive Director and the Dalit Solidarity Network in Norway, met with Norway’s Minister of International Development, Dag-Inge Ulstein, who confirmed Norway’s long-standing support to IDSN and eliminating caste-based discrimination.
Norway  dsnno  dsn  caste  2019  idsnnews  news  IDSN 
october 2019 by idsn
Report: Dalits and Adivasis missing from mainstream Indian news media
Indian media is dominated by ‘upper’ castes and media organisations have failed to diversify their newsroom and news coverage, reveals a new report released by Oxfam India and Newslaundry.
media  inequality  business  businessandhr  caste  India  2019  idsnnews  IDSN  news  ingo  report  Oxfam 
october 2019 by idsn
1500 survivors of rape and sexual violence and their families sign a letter to the Supreme Court of India
Rashtriya Garima Abhiyan, a survivor centric forum with more than 12,000 survivors of sexual violence and their families, have submitted a letter to the Supreme Court of India asking that it treats commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking of children as serial rape under the under the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (‘POSCO’). Dalit children are especially at risk of rape and sexual exploitation as they are marginalised and offered little protection and recourse to justice in highly caste-stratified societies. IDSN ‘s member organisation in India, Jan Sahas is a part of Rashtriya Garima Abhiyan and has issued the following release.
jansahas  2019  IDSN  idsnnews  news  violence_against_women  violence  dalitwomen  women  caste  gender 
october 2019 by idsn
Caste and Gender Justice event at the UN Human Rights Council (IDSN news)
Dalit human rights defenders and UN experts raise concerns over intersectional caste and gender discrimination and its adverse impact on access to human rights, at the Dalit Women and Gender Justice side-event at the UN Human Rights Council’s 41st Session in Geneva.

On 25 June 2019, IDSN International Associate IMADR, and others organised a side-event during the 41st Session of the Human Rights Council, on Dalit women and gender justice. The panel was composed of Dubravka Simonovic, the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Renu Sijapati, General Secretary of the Feminist Dalit Organization (FEDO-Nepal) and Abirami Jotheeswaran, from the National Dalit Movement for Justice-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NDMJ-NCDHR). The event was moderated by Henri Tiphagne, from Peoples’ Watch, in India.
caste  gender  castegenderjustice  UN  hrc  fedo  ncdhr  idsnnews  idsn  news  dalit  women  dalitwomen  2019  sr_violencewomen  specialprocedures  special_rapporteurs 
october 2019 by idsn

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