Coalition of Hindus of North America

Far from fighting discrimination, the ASUCD senate resolution # 8 introduced to the Senate floor on Feb 4, 2021 seems to be an effort to malign and stereotype a minority religion via selective usage and misrepresentation of data. We must start by stating that this is less of a resolution and more of a rehash of the arguments made by Equality Labs –clearly reflected in the fact that this ONE SOURCE is referenced 19 times with entire sentences pulled directly from it. Shockingly, for a document from an institution of higher learning, it cites only two references – both of poor quality, with the second source also being cited three times. Not surprisingly then, it denigrates a minority and misrepresents one of the most sacred texts of Hinduism. 

Before getting into an analysis of the resolution, here are some points of reference: 

  • Varna is not “caste” There are only four Varnas listed in Hindu texts. No more, no less. On the other hand, the number of “castes” identified by British and post colonial India are arbitrary and number in several thousands. The definition of “caste” used by British/Indian law has been interchangeably used with class and work based colonial groupings, more than any scriptural term. We encourage every person with interest in Hindu concepts like varna, to consult with people more knowledgeable of Sanskrit and ancient Indian history. This will help differentiate the two concepts. 
  • There are no descriptions of varna being associated with birth. If anyone thinks they are born into a varna, then they are reflecting a casteist colonial mindset. Presenting “caste” as a birth based Hindu idea marks one as an ideological descendant of European colonial thought, not Hinduism. 
  • Dalit/Bahujan/Adivasi are words not found in Hindu scriptures nor even native to Sanskrit. All gained popularity in the last 150 years or so as political identities and journalistic shorthand. While there is nothing wrong in coining/creating new words or identities, readers should remain wary of attempts to ascribe ancient “spiritually inspired” stories and histories to them. 
  • When discussing a civilization as ancient as India, it’s critical to remember that through history, India has been a beacon of liberty and religious freedom for all, which is why persecuted immigrants of the world found shelter there- including micro minorities like the Zoroastrians of Iran, Jews, and others. Well before any modern conception of social justice or solidarity gained currency in the West, India was and continues to exemplify these concepts – home to an unmatched array of diverse groups – be it language, race, religion or more. By using these words loosely, the resolution is adding fuel to many racist tropes that trace back to the brutalities of colonialism.

Falsehood 1

An ASUCD Senate Resolution to stand in solidarity with the Dalit, Bahujan, and Adivasi students, staff, and faculty in the University of California, Davis and the rest of the world, to recognize the 2,500 years and counting of oppression and violence due to caste apartheid towards marginalized South Asian Communities. 

Truth 

We share in this noble sentiment of standing with the oppressed. However, the claim of 2,500 years of “caste” apartheid in Indian Subcontinent (aka South Asia) is entirely false. In the oldest annals of India’s recorded history, one reads about the Nanda Dynasty, which ruled vast parts of India between 5th – 4th century BC, and was founded by the son of a barber – meaning a marginalized community. The might of this Nanda dynasty scared the soldiers of Greek King Alexander so much, that they refused to attempt further advance into India. In the centuries that followed, many more rulers and dynasties drawn from different jatis and diverse varnas went on to rule India including, but not limited to the Maurya dynasty, the Gupta dynasty, Madurai Nayaks, Balijas, the Maratha empire and more. Thus only a foray into fictional writing can lead to assertions of some ancient unbroken “caste” apartheid in the Indian subcontinent. 

The Indian Subcontinent also has a history much longer than 2500 years. Both of the Indian epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, were written by sages who would be classified as “Dalits” today, but needed no “caste” certificates to attract universal reverence when alive or in the thousands of years that followed.

Falsehood 2

WHEREAS, the word “Caste,” applied by white colonialists in the 17th century C.E., has Spanish and Portuguese origins, and translates into “race, lineage, or breed.” Locally, the “Caste system,” a system of closed, social stratification is referred to as the “varna” system, with each group occupying distinct cultural practices and limits of “structural power” within South Asian society , ; and, 1 2 

Truth 

We congratulate the senate in correctly locating the colonial origins of the word “caste.” However, they then interpret constructs in the Indian Subcontinent with the same lens as that of its brutal colonizers.

Varna is simply not “caste.” The assertion falls apart with simple math. Hindu scriptures describe no more than four varnas, while the British created/recorded thousands of “castes.” As currently written, the resolution insults and distorts ancient Vedic concepts like varna that have nothing to do with birth or power. This is a condemnable action by a student group from a public university. 

We quote Dr. B.R. Ambedkar who said:  “Varna and caste are two very different concepts. Varna is based on the principle of each according to his worth, while caste is based on the principle of each according to his birth. The two are as distinct as chalk is from cheese. In fact there is an antithesis between the two.”  

The only source for this claim comes from Equality Labs, a known Hinduphobic organization, whose leaders believe in “dismantling” Hinduism. Its members openly spread hate and bigotry about this minority religion. Even if we assume the student body is ignorant of this hate, it should be clear that Equality Labs is not a recognized research organization or human rights group, nor is it an organization known for studies or surveys. We wonder why a self proclaimed private technology organization is expected to be a reliable source of primary research -especially given the various problems called out in its survey as far back as 2018. 

Before having a vote based on knowledge from Equality Labs, were the biases of this source examined? Was there even an attempt to enquire about its sources of funding since it is not a 501c3 organization? Silicon Valley is full of stealth start-ups. But they should not get state support to hound and spread falsehoods about a minority American group.

Even  Swapnil Singh, the researcher of the second source, has published views that contradict the assertion being made here. The same paper says “There are contrasting views and debates on whether ‘caste’ in the strict sense of the term does exist in contemporary India, or it has withered away.”

Falsehood 3

WHEREAS, historically, the system broadly classified Hindu society into Brahmans (priests), Kshatriyas (warrior), Vaishyas (merchants) and Sudras (serving class), and “are said to have been separately created from the mouth, arms, thighs, and the feet respectively of the Creator. The oldest extant passage [is present] in the Purusha Sukta of the tenth book of the Rigveda”2; 

Truth 

When quoting scripture held sacred by many, one would expect to see interpretations from bodies that are knowledgeable about the text and/or at least consider them sacred.This common decency seems missing from the resolution. Unfortunately, the researcher cited does not appear to be well versed on the topic. In the same paper, in a statement after reference to the Purusha Sukta, the researcher admits that “the representation there is somewhat vague”. The drafters of this resolution likely chose to not include that part to create their false narrative. 

The Purusha Sukta is part of a much larger scripture called the Rigveda. Even within the limited quote used here it does not associate the occupations mentioned in brackets that deceitfully insinuate an occupational hierarchy to interpret a politically convenient version.

Neither does the Purusha Sukta use the word “varna”. Here is it in the original Sanskrit version

ब्रा॒ह्म॒णो॑ऽस्य॒ मुख॑मासीद्बा॒हू रा॑ज॒न्य॑: कृ॒तः । ऊ॒रू तद॑स्य॒ यद्वैश्य॑: प॒द्भ्यां शू॒द्रो अ॑जायत ॥१२॥

This would translate as “from the eternal Purusha, the Brahmana appeared from the face, the Rajaneya (i.e. Kshatriya) from arms, the Vaishya from thighs and the Shudra from the feet” 

While this could simplistically imply a hierarchy, one would only have to read the verse that follows this to see how illogical such an interpretation is  

च॒न्द्रमा॒ मन॑सो जा॒तश्चक्षो॒: सूर्यो॑ अजायत । मुखा॒दिन्द्र॑श्चा॒ग्निश्च॑ प्रा॒णाद्वा॒युर॑जायत   ॥१३॥

नाभ्या॑ आसीद॒न्तरि॑क्षं शी॒र्ष्णो द्यौः सम॑वर्तत । प॒द्भ्यां भूमि॒र्दिश॒: श्रोत्रा॒त्तथा॑ लो॒काँ अ॑कल्पयन् ॥१४॥

For those lacking knowledge of Sanskrit, here is an English translation  

The moon was born from his mind, the sun was born from his eye, Indra and Agni were born from his mouth and Vayu from his breath. ||Verse 13||

From his navel came the firmament, from his head the heaven was produced, the earth from his feet, the quarters of space from his ear, so they constituted the world 

||Verse 14|| ” (Indra, Agni and Vayu are Hindu deities) 

If the logic implied in the prior verse to insinuate a hierarchy was applied to the second line, it would follow that the moon is superior to the earth, space, sky and the sun itself. It would also imply that Indra, the king of Devas (i.e. divine beings) is inferior to the moon and is on par with Agni (fire). We hope the reader can see the sheer absurdity of this unfortunate but fairly popular claim.

Falsehood 4

WHEREAS, by the system, the indigenous peoples of South Asia – Adivasis, and the Dalit (broken but resilient) Caste communities are fighting against the stripping of their ancestral lands and natural resources, and forced into slave and bonded agricultural labor or manual scavenging jobs, respectively”1; and, 

Truth 

Here the resolution jumps from ancient Hindu scriptures to the modern day political construct of South Asia. Does the Senate believe that officially Islamic countries like Afghanistan and Buddhist majority countries like Sri Lanka are all influenced by the Purusha Sukta of the Hindus?  

Secondly, the word Dalit is not legally defined. No clarity exists on who might rightly claim to be Dalit – espcially beyond India. More recently, it has become a term to denote a political identity. While it might help journalistic endeavors and political narratives, it is simplistic to assume or denote that the word “Dalit” in its usage or the community of Dalits in Indian subcontinent is similar to the term “Black” as it is referred to in the United States of America. The word Adivasi simply translates to “original inhabitants,” a mantle claimed by almost all Indian citizens. 

These issues assume importance, as even in the US, we have seen people co-opt or fake identities of legally protected groups like Native Americans, Black Americans, etc. As of now there is no way to determine the “caste” identity of people from several countries of South Asia, so the senate needs to be wary of self appointed Dalit champions.

There is further insinuation that “caste” is to Indian (referred to as South Asian) society what “slave” was to American society. This is false to the point of being offensive, given the very real and brutal institution of American slavery. Indian history is rife with rulers, philosophers, artists and leaders from all sorts of groups – including those considered Dalit today. Both of Hinduism’s best known epics – the Ramayana and the Mahabharata – are written by authors who would fall in this category. We would challenge the drafters of this resolution to show us similar “slave” written texts that have a fraction of this reach and staying power in the US.

While Indian society now and throughout history, has had its fair share of conflict between different groups, there is no spiritual sanction from Hinduism for inherited “caste.” The use of “slave” here is an unfortunate attempt to co-opt the horror of the Black experience with slavery in the US.  Far from being  bound in an intergenerational birth based slavery, India’s history saw groups move up and down the social (and economic) hierarchy. 

Before the British colonial state ossified it, “caste” was a dynamic phenomenon that allowed for mutation and mobility. It was subject to constant reinvention as alliances were formed and broken across jatis. Further evidence of fluidity comes from the varied jatis of the kings and dynasties that rose to power and ruled India over the centuries. Indian history is similarly replete with alliances between tribal kings and emperors. Tribes and groups that are considered “lower caste” under the colonial edicts were, at many times in history, powerful kingdoms and hence Kshatriyas in the varna system.

Falsehoods 4

WHEREAS, by the system, everyone is born into a Caste, i.e. the unequal access to valued resources such as wealth, income, power, and prestige are inherited2

WHEREAS, by the system, access and ownership of resources also translated into the right to use arable land, clean water, education, employment, and more

WHEREAS, the Caste one belongs to can determine an individual’s perceived level of ritual purity or pollution, and dictates where one can live and die, what one can eat, what one’s occupation can be, and who one can marry1

Truth 

We would like the Senate to show us a society free of inequality of wealth and power, irrespective of the existence of a “caste” system. We wonder whether this strange fixation on “caste” is an attempt to divert focus from the extreme inequalities of wealth plaguing current U.S. society. The resolution attempts to tie one of the most common human failures to some sort of unique  association with one faith and part of the world? Additionally, the assertion of everyone being born into a “caste” is simply not true. So, while there are some groups in South Asia for whom jati/varna/kula play are important, there are equally other groups where it has no role at all or is vehemently opposed. The dispersion of power among groups is fluid, as is evident even in current day India, where its current President and Prime Minister were both born into marginalized groups and poor families. They obviously did not “inherit” their current power.

In the context of access to resources and land rights, it might be useful to note that the largest private landowner in India (aside from the government) is actually none other than the Christian church as documented by Pandit Satish Sharma in his book Caste, Conversion A Colonial Conspiracy. Neither has slavery been endemic to India, a fact remarked on by numerous travelers who visited India through the ages.

On the other hand, concepts of birthed “caste” and slavery were used extensively by colonial powers who believed in their inherent superiority due to race and religion. By associating “caste” with birth, the resolution perpetuates racist ideological narratives that were used to justify White Supremacy. We find such usage highly insensitive, ignorant and condemnable – especially coming from a university.

Falsehoods 5

WHEREAS, the Caste one belongs to can determine an individual’s perceived level of ritual purity or pollution, and dictates where one can live and die, what one can eat, what one’s occupation can be, and who one can marry1

Truth 

This list is a perfect example of small everyday habits that are taken out of context to stereotype and victimize an indigenous minority community. The above statement is based on flawed assertions by Equality Labs and is just flat out wrong.

Hinduism encompasses staggering diversity – embracing everything from a vegan diet to those who offer meat based dishes as part of their ancient worship rituals. Different families adopt different lifestyles based on a multitude of factors, leading to variety even within birth based jatis. This is similarly reflected in the Hindu American community which includes a diverse set of personal habits (just like any other group in the country).

Falsehoods 6 

WHEREAS, to flee this Caste apartheid and religious fundamentalism in South Asia, many Dalits, Adivasis, and other Caste-oppressed immigrants migrated to the United States starting in the 19th century1; and, 

WHEREAS, the majority of South Asian immigrants in the U.S. were those who could travel without fear of blasphemy and included Caste-oppressed and non-Hindu groups, including the Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims, and Sikhs1; and

Truth 

All these claims derive from the same dodgy “caste” report from Equality Labs. There is no lack of research or scholarship on the topic, so why is ONE source quoted 19 times? Can the Senate provide numbers of South Asian immigrants – especially broken up by “caste” and religion? They may be aware that in the referenced era, all Indian immigrants were loosely referred to as “Hindoos.” 

Hinduism is not a religion of monothesitic beliefs and there’s never been any concept of blasphemy or punishment for it. The authors of this resolution display the influence of Abrahamic thinking when they force concepts from the religions they are familiar with, onto an ancient and indigenous faith. 

Secondly, by using the phrase  “Caste-oppressed and non-Hindu groups”, there is a direct religious implication suggesting the “caste” oppression is in Hindu only groups. This contradicts previous incorrect claims in the same resolution which use “caste” as a South Asian concept. While both are incorrect, the former claim is much more clear in exposing the bigotry. Even the colonial British censuses recorded over 300 Christian “castes” and more than 500 Muslim “castes.” 

The mention of Sikhs here as downtrodden is particularly interesting, since their power reached its peak in the early 19th century under the great leader Ranjit Singh. After military and political victories, he referred to his reign as the rule of the Khalsa. He restored the sacred Harmandir Sahib which was desecrated by invaders and also contributed to rebuilding the dome over the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. To frame Sikhs as downtrodden in this era is an insult to this glorious history.

Falsehoods 7

WHEREAS, the first claims of “whiteness” in response to exclusionary immigration laws in the U.S. were by “upper” Caste immigrants, A.K. Mozumdar and Bhagat Singh Thind, both of whom argued that they passed the whiteness test because they identified themselves as “high Caste Hindu, of full Indian blood”. They explained that because they were “upper” Caste, they had pure “Aryan” blood and that those racial origins were something that they historically shared with Caucasians1; and, 

WHEREAS, the relationship between Caste and purity vs. pollution also alludes to the fact that anti-blackness in South Asian (American) communities is heavily linked to anti-Dalitness and anti-Adivasiness. White folks are inherently seen as “high caste and therefore casteless”1; and, 

Truth 

The US laws at the time of A.K. Mozumdar and Dr.Bhagat Singh Thind, defined everyone in black and white terms. They utilized tropes like “persons of African nativity or persons of African descent” and described “caucasian”as a synonym for low melanin skin types. Many other racial theories prevailed at the time which have since been consigned to trash. So it’s shocking to see attempts to revive these discredited theories within the UC system. 

In the documents submitted to the court for Dr. Bhagat Singh Thind, the term used washigh-caste Hindu stock” indicating that it had connotations for racially classifying people of the Indian subcontinent and had nothing to do with the Hindu faith. Dr. Bhagat Singh Thind himself was a practising Spritual scholar who later taught theology across the country. 

One can hardly blame two powerless individuals of the time, for trying to use prevailing beliefs to secure a stable life for themselves. The blame lies in modern day activists who seek to twist and co-opt these individuals to build fake history.

As we discuss the association of “caste” with color, let’s hear from Dr. Ambedkar himself: “European students of Caste have unduly emphasised the role of colour in the Caste system. Themselves impregnated by colour prejudices, they very readily imagined it to be the chief factor in the Caste problem. But nothing can be farther from the truth”

While American laws applied concepts of race to their Indian immigrants, pre-colonial India had no colorism. Infact some of the most popular and beloved Hindu deities are known to have darker skin shades. We hope the Senate has heard of  Bhagwan Krishna, whose name quite literally means “the dark one.” Or of the all powerful female deity Kali, whose name means “the black one”. History aside, one only has to look at a gathering of folks from South Asia, to see how absurd the statements conflating “caste” with color are. 

 It was only in 1946, one year before Indian Independence, that America removed racial qualifications for naturalization using the Luce Celler Act. However, even today it continues the use of nation based quotas to limit immigration from non-white countries. This is why the current wait for Indian immigrants to get a permanent residence can stretch to more than 50 years. Surely the unfairness of nation based discrimination is worthier of attention for the student body of UC Davis?

Falsehoods 8

WHEREAS, the discourse on linking Caste and White supremacy goes back to Dr. B.R. Ambdekar, a Dalit, who lived in New York City during the Harlem Renaissance and was exposed to ideas of Black consciousness and Black resistance, during his time at Columbia University and through his friendship with African-American intellectuals like W.E.B DuBois1; and,

Truth 

Dr. Ambedkar is an icon for ALL Indians, and after independence, he was appointed to head the assembly that drafted the Indian Constitution. It is noteworthy that his appointment was by a consensus that included all of India’s myriad political parties. To understand how revolutionary this step was, it helps to remember that by contrast, the U.S. Constitution was drafted primarily by rich land-owning white men. Trying to limit Dr. Ambedkar’s appeal to a neo-political identity is inappropriate, especially since he himself never used that identity to describe himself. 

Additionally, Dr. Ambedkar was in the US from 1913-1916 at Columbia University. The Harlem Renaissance is dated to 1918

It was only more than 30 years later, in 1945 when the UN charter was being formed, that Ambedkar wrote his first and only letter to W.E.B DuBois which starts by saying “Although I haven’t met you personally, I know you by name as everyone does…” . This might be a sign of connection in purpose but it certainly does not speak of friendship between the two intellectuals. We wonder at the authors’ intent in making these fake assertions.

Falsehoods 9

WHEREAS, the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act in the U.S. encouraged the immigration of largely upper Caste, South Asian professionals and students from newly independent cities,while also allowing a small group of Dalit and other Caste-oppressed communities to emigrate owing to the “reservation or quota” i.e. Affirmative Action system, back home1; and, 

WHEREAS, in the US, Caste-oppressed groups found themselves caught in immigration networks where they were “vastly outnumbered by upper Caste Hindus” and had to hid their Dalit identity, to escape the risk of ostracization in these South Asian immigrant networks1; and, 

WHEREAS, this led to a process of “homogenization’” wherein South Asian culture and society became solely defined around the upper Caste norms leading to further alienation of Caste-oppressed traditions and invisibility of the Dalit identity from everyday spaces2; and, 

Truth 

Here we must point out the continued and repeated reliance of this resolution on a single source of data from Equality Labs, an organization known for its bigoted views on Hinduism and Hindus. It is disappointing to see a document so poorly researched gather traction at a prestigious university like UC Davis. 

In 1965, for the first time in American history, the Immigration and Nationality Act stopped discrimination against non-white Immigrants. This act does not mention class, religion, “caste,” tribe, clan or other form of community grouping native to different parts of the world. So it is unclear how the Senate resolution imagines this piece of legislation specifically encouraging upper “caste” South Asian professionals. 

Nor is reservation or affirmative action found in all South Asian countries. Infact, it is a dominant factor only in one country – India. 

The insinuation that, just by belonging to a certain part of the world, a segment of American immigrants are likely to be less worthy of American values, is itself a racist trope designed to arouse anger and hatred. It is like the internment of the Japanese during World War II or the Islamophobic attacks in the wake of 9/11 where some people are treated as lesser Americans just because they come from a certain part of the world or subscribed to a minority faith. 

Falsehoods 10

WHEREAS, the results of the 2016 Equality Labs survey on Caste-based discrimination in the U.S. indicate that “all of the inequalities associated with Caste status, religious purity, and social exclusion” are found in major South Asian American Institutions – with the demographics recording time in the U.S., education, income and land ownership, to understand the status quo of the community1; and, 

WHEREAS, the 2016 Equality Labs survey also shows that folks from Caste-marginalized groups – Dalits, Adivasis and Shudras, take refuge in hiding their identities and carry the fear and (intergenerational) psychological burden of being “outed”1; and, 

WHEREAS, the 2016 Equality Labs survey also documents the issue of discirmination in K-12 and higher education institutions such that almost 40% Dalit students have experienced the same in the diaspora1; and, 

WHEREAS, cases of social exclusion are more rampant in graduate student groups and professional working circles given the lack of protections around discrimination due to oppressed-Caste identity, unlike other marginalized identities such as but not limited to race, ability, gender, sexuality, ethnicity,and more1; and,

WHEREAS, 60% of the 2016 Equality Labs Survey’s respondents reported that their peers had used derogatory slurs, jokes, and comments against them–an experience that is common amongst University of California, Davis, students as well based on records by the Harassment and Discrimination Assistance and Prevention program (HDAPP)1; and,

WHEREAS, 26% of the 2016 Equality Labs Survey’s respondents also reported facing physical assault in the US on the basis of their Caste identities1; and

Truth 

A quick reminder, this whole section makes multiple citations, but from only one source – Equality labs. As stated upfront, this source cannot be relied upon. We are surprised that the resolution has quoted from the group’s survey directly and that the body passing the resolution hasn’t bothered to critically examine the surveying methods or results.

It has been more than five years since the Equality Labs report has been published. There is yet to be a single academic research paper that utilizes their data or their findings. If one is wondering why, it is because of the unscientific and biased processes that were employed. 

While a detailed rebuttal can be found here and here, we can summarize some of the points below. 

For example, Equality Labs conducted its survey without sample randomization and without qualifying the “sample.” Responses were collected using an online self-administered platform, which makes the data likely to be biased in favor of the agenda pushed by the organization soliciting feedback. A survey claiming to study “caste in the US,” was open to participants from anywhere in the world. Many more such flaws are evident if anyone with a decent understanding of statistics and polling were to take a look. For students of an institution of higher education to use such data is not reflective of scholarly pursuit.

The merits of the organization itself are undercut by its open prejudice against select religious groups. For instance, the founders and directors of Equality Labs and their prominent ideologues openly preach hatred against select groups. Below, you can see publicly shared tweets from their political director asking to “dismantle” one and only one religious group. (The tweets have since been deleted and the account is now locked).

Another example of hateful stereotyping, can be seen in an event flier. Here, an undefined category of Hindus from varying “castes” -savarnas- who number in the hundreds of millions, are accused of being systematic rapists and abusers, simply due to their birth in a particular community. 

This thinking reflects the colonial roots and seems to inspire Equality Labs. In 1871, India’s British rulers passed the Criminal Tribes Act, which deemed entire “castes” as criminals by birth and subjected them to grave atrocities, including restrictions on movement. By 1947, more than 13 million people in 127 communities faced search and arrest if any member of the group was found outside their “prescribed” area as described here – an appalling state of affairs that the modern Indian state sought to rectify right away. It is also estimated that over 100 Million people today live under the cloud of the Criminal Tribes Act

It seems as though UC Davis hopes to re-enact the modern day version of the Criminal Tribes Act, where certain groups are deemed guilty for life and penalized accordingly. Not only is it morally abhorrent, it fundamentally violates the equal protection clause of the US Constitution.

Even setting aside charges of bias, a one-off unscientific survey conducted by a non-research organization with no credible evidence should not be the basis of such fundamental changes at reputed organizations. If this proposal is under serious consideration, a better examination of the pollsters and the methods used to collect the polls should be made available.

Assertion 11

WHEREAS, in November 2019, Brandeis University in Massachusetts issued a public statement including Caste-protections as part of its nondiscrimination policy for faculty, staff, students and alumni1; and,

WHEREAS, in June 2020, a lawsuit was filed against Silicon Valley-based Cisco Systems for violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act “which makes it unlawful to discriminate on the basis of religion, ancestry, national origin/ethnicity and race/colour” and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act1; and

Response

The resolution from Brandeis University does not gaslight Hindu constructs unlike this resolution. Nor does it share many of the misinterpretations we discussed above. In a clarification to the same resolution they imply that caste can be construed in existing federally protected categories of race, color, ancestry, religious creed, and national or ethnic origin.

The lawsuit against Cisco was thrown out by a federal court and is under litigation at a county level court. It would not be right to pull a quote without context. Secondly, one lawsuit or act of “alleged discrimination” by a couple of people in one office of one company cannot be used to convict a whole group of people. To assign the guilt of an individual onto his/her entire current and future community is classic Hinduphobia.