The “politics of dignity and equal rights” for marginalized communities in a global context, including of Dalits and other minorities in India, was the focus of a daylong symposium in Michigan Oct. 12, addressed among others by Thenmozhi Soundararajan, Director of Equality Labs.
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Compared to glitzy well-publicized jamborees organized by other communities for their annual conventions, it was neither a small event nor was it called a convention, nonetheless close to 150 members of the Dalit community got together in Virginia recently for bonding and discussion about their history and culture.
Longtime community leaders and activists, who’ve founded and led community organizations and associations over the past few decades have hailed “the spectacular victory” of the BJP-dominated NDA, and declared it “a personal triumph” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Jaspreet Mahal, a Sikh woman who got her master’s in sustainable international development and women and gender studies a few years ago from Brandeis university in Waltham, Massachusetts, feels somewhat upbeat these days that her alma mater will become a more inclusive institution by dealing with the issue of alleged caste bias among some of its students.
A decade-long debate over “accurate portrayal” of the history and culture of India in social science textbooks used in California classrooms from kindergarten through eighth grade ended last week after the state Board of Education voted to approve 10 textbooks and reject two, agreeing with recommendations of its Instructional Quality Commission.
Facilitated by the internet and promoted by forums and publications inviting intellectual exchanges about both the history and contemporary lives of Dalits, these new Americans, the “broken people” of human rights reports on India, are gaining footholds and voices in the United States.