Issues

 

 

Segregation in private and public places

 

On several occassions community members have been considered polluted due to their caste and have not been able to enter places where other members of the public were allowed on that same basis. There are instances where community workers, young children and adults have been denied entry, denied use, denied perfectly acceptable invitations and also forced upon to conduct ceremonies to purify, causing community wide psychological and physical segregation under the disgraceful pretext of pollution.

Denials of discrimination despite these past and present incidents is characteristic of why the caste system continues. It is comparable to saying "I'm not a racist, but yes I am purer/superior than you".

Destruction of cultural belonging

Since 2010 there has been repeated denials of religious services to people of so-called low castes and to people who associate with people of the so-called low castes. Of primary concern is the belief of those consider themselves to be pure and that the others are impure, including those who associate with polluted people. Anyone who is not supposed to read religious texts because of their caste and those associate with such people are considered impure by the texts itself.

There have been significant historical changes in source countries to the extent that caste discrimination should have never entered Australia. However the emergence of such values only demonstrate failures on our part to resolve this matter without the use of direct action. Segregation in Australia is unacceptable.

This has emotionally and psychologically impacted the lives of many who still identify themselves as Hindus and wish to remain close to their culture, conducting basic cultural services like they have always done. But because of this disgraceful environment, many feel isolated and fear being humiliated by their own. Hence the deprivation of this very basic right of identity, for which all Lhotsampas have equally sacrificed their youth, well-being and lives since becoming refugees has been rendered meaningless. The irony of internal community discrimination for us persecuted refugees is sufficiently obvious.

Supression of freedom of expression

The radical beliefs of caste discriminstion emanates from a series of religious texts such as the Rig Veda and Manusmriti which also outlines that people who use logic should be outcasted. Therefore people who raise a voice against caste discrimination as an inhuman practice are boycotted as the very religious code allows for it. The same suppression also occurs in Adelaide where an introductory educational video of cohesion matters was used as a further basis to discriminate when discrimination has occurred in the past and present irrespective of the video.

This suppression demonstrates a serious and reckless disregard for the democratic and citizenship rights of this multicultural country of Australia.

Living under feudal values

Constantly living under the influence of feudal values, the ability of individuals to gradually assert a stable, progressive and modern individuality is significantly affected. The ongoing outright denial of equal status continues to exacerbate and compound the mental health issues of some of the most vulnerable people amongst our communities. Gender discrimination also emnates from the same feudal system and so without resolving the conditions of these values neither caste nor gender discrimination can be resolved.

Children and Youth

Discrimination has also been detected amongst educated youth, perpetuating the system of their parents who then willingly or unwillingly drive lower psychological morale for their friends and peers. This form of psychological indoctrination was also found in a primary school child providing the most confronting example. Families and communities are the strongest foundations that could ensure a productive pathway for migrant youth. Yet if this environment is going to remain closed, conflict smitten and which deprives children and youth of optimal kinships and constructive peer pressure then many of us are likely to feel very disoriented and rootless.

Social sub-stratification

Whenever caste discrimination is promoted and made widspread, various sub-castes stratify into smaller identifiable groups searching for dignity and security. Sub-stratification is a historically popular reaction in source countries such as India, Sri-Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan. But it is also a politically destructive force which swiftly decreases participation in recognized community structures, stagnating the community and stalling all forms of development. This has been the exact scenario of the Bhutanese community of Adelaide since 2010. A perfectly harmonious and diverse community suddenly becomes divided and opposed towards eachother completely shattering the foundations of cohesion. Although sub-grouping sends a strong message against caste discrimination, it is complete political solidarity which could in reality ensure long-term changes, and ensure long-term development with larger pools of resources and stronger community networks.

Decreased impacts of Government funds

Caste discrimination adds another layer of difficult for state agencies as well as service providers to reach community members in need as their vulnerability increases in a fragile community environment. An overall reduction of community interaction due to this issue means services will gather fewer participants and beneficiaries leading to further divides over resources. This will in effect increase reliance on caste sub-groups for the access of services and therefore further exacerbating the discrimination.

Impacts on community businesses and employment support networks

It also impacts the constructive capacity of communities because local businesses which are supposedly run by impure people are boycotted, while the lack of togetherness beginning from eating to friendships reduces the scope of friendships. This then reduces the scope of employment support networks and business venture initiatives amongst community members.

This can also significantly impact community based entrepreneurial capacities of young people in the future.

Derogatory surnames

Many former Bhutanese refugees have derogatory surnames. Their surnames were incorrectly and arbitrarily registered in the refugee camps as "Kami". Kami is not only used to generally refer to so-caled low-castes but there have been many cases in Australia, where it was used with derogatory intentions. It also has bonded labourer connotations. Names have an incredible capacity to communicate caste status. In fact without meaning in surnames the whole caste system would crumble. Although skin colour and bodily features is the first assessment to determine a person's caste, it can always be trumped by one's surname. And no doubt there are longer high caste names than the ones these families originally used, yet they were given a general derogatory surname to demean them.

We say this because many families have exactly the same derogatory surname as if they were a class even though all of them have a variety of original surnames. These names were never noted on important refugee registration documents. So after resettlement many only tolerate the usage of this derogatory surname. So changing it would makes a huge difference to people who do not wish to be outrightly addressed in this way.