Hindu professors sue Cal State over ban on caste discrimination

Two Hindu teachers have sued the principal of their law school to challenge the addition of celebrities to the anti-discrimination law amid a wider battle over whether the Colleges should clearly address bias based on discrimination.

Professors at California State University argued that the so-called caste system is an unfair protection against Hindus and wrongly suggests that oppression and discrimination are fundamental to Hinduism. important. Sunil Kumar and Praveen Sinha argued in the complaint, filed on Monday, that Hinduism is about compassion and harmony – principles directly opposed to racism.

Kumar said in a statement announcing the federal lawsuit, previously reported by Faith News Service. “But CSU’s Interim Policy excludes all Indian and Hindu origin staff and students just because we are Indian and Hindu. This by its very definition is discriminatory and not recognize our civil rights.”

Caste is a social hierarchy into which people are assigned at birth. Dalits, sometimes called “untouchables,” face discrimination and violence in South Asian countries despite laws against racism. In India, the caste system used to apply to Hindus but is now applied to people of various religions.

California State, the nation’s largest four-year public university, announced in January that it was adding liberals to its anti-discrimination policy after years of resistance. from Dalits. The law now identifies families as a group based on race and ethnicity.

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The university is following the lead of several universities, including Brandeis University and Colby College, which have taken a defensive stance in recent years as young Hindus advocated against discrimination. Lower-caste Hindus in the US often report microaggressions aimed at showing their status, said Dheepa Sundaram, a professor of Hindu studies at the University of Denver.

California officials did not immediately respond to a request from the Washington Post, but spokeswoman Toni Molle told the Faith News Service that adding discrimination to the anti-discrimination law 23 CSU campuses are always places of access, opportunity and justice for everyone.”

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The name caste as a protective characteristic, however, is controversial among some Hindus. The D.C.-based Hindu American Foundation, which represents California professors, said the university was biased toward Hinduism and that it had no right to interpret religion at all, much less as religious discrimination.

Suhag Shukla, the foundation’s executive director, said there is no other law in the State of California that “demonizes” other religions, races or ethnicities — which in fact means members of the community. The Hindu movement was denied equal protection under the law.

“CSU has turned non-discrimination on its head by adding a category that it means is available to communities that are already minority and specifically police only communities – Indian and Hindu students and teachers,” Shukla said in an email.

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In their lawsuit, Kumar and Sinha point to a time when California’s state government emphasized working with Hinduism; they say these events support their argument that the duty to protect the target Hindus.

Kumar, an engineering professor at San Diego State University, and Sinha, an economics professor at California State University at Long Beach, also said they did not identify as a particular race. They said they were concerned that the university would single out a group of people for the purpose of discriminating against them.

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Opinions on naming caste as a protected characteristic seem to vary by age and immigration, Sundaram said, with immigrants less likely. support this movement than Hindus whose families have lived in the United States for generations. Nearly 9 out of 10 American Hindus are immigrants, according to the Pew Research Center. But Sundaram said many young Hindus have formed alliances with other interest groups, such as Black Lives Matter, and are more inclined to call out racism.

Sundaram, who supports anti-Semitism, says that criticizing Hinduism – even in a country where Hindus are a minority – does not seem to promote Hinduphobia. He said that most discrimination against Hindus is based on the fact that many people are South Asian, not on their religion, and Hinduphobia is not a big problem.

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Most importantly, he said, he disagrees with the Hindu American Foundation’s argument that caste is not fundamental to Hinduism.

“You can acknowledge this as part of the culture and fight it, but to argue that it doesn’t exist in the culture, it’s just false,” Sundaram said. have said. “There is no way to make the situation real.”

The Hindu American Foundation is an advocacy group that last year protested online discussions about Hindu nationalism, a policy linked to India. Activists have sent nearly a million emails to universities, arguing that the event is Hinduphobic. The HAF later said that the conference supported the opposition who supported “anti-Semitism” and denied “inciting the massacre of Hindus.”

The foundation is also fighting a lawsuit filed by California regulators on behalf of an executive at the technology company Cisco who alleged that his superiors did not support him because he was Dalit. The HAF argued that the discrimination claims falsely show that Hinduism is racist.

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