By Satwinder Kaur Bains
SASI hosted an afternoon panel and dialogue on the critically important topic of caste and anti-casteism as a relevant issue in the diaspora. The issue of caste discrimination has received critical attention at post secondary institutions in the US in the recent past and has become an area of discrimination recognized by Universities in the US, UK and beyond.
Our speakers were Balbir Madhopuri, an award winning, widely acclaimed poet/author and speaker and it is was a great honour to have him in our midst, Arvinder Kaur Dhaliwal who is also an acclaimed author and poet and Balwinder Singh Grewal who was the 2022 winner of the Dhahan Prize for Dubolia (the Driver) a book of short stories “where the political and the philosophical are intertwined to probe the limits of human endurance”.
The conversation was on storytelling as a path towards freedom for the marginalized, learning parallels between the historical experiences of women and how casteism plays out in India, exploring ideas for moving forward and gaining life insights from towering authors who themselves have overcome huge barriers. The stories all affirmed how human dignity if robbed from us when we exclude and violate our fellow human beings, while instilling hope that there can be a better tomorrow.
The audience were enriched by the conversations and the readings and contributed to the dialogue about the need for anti-caste activism in the diaspora and beyond.