Radio 4 programme on 26th September
On caste with bias
From Jay Lakhani, Hindu Council, UK
I was one of the presenters on this issue. I feel sad that a wonderful opportunity of removing one of the serious misconceptions about Hinduism was missed by this programme.
Hereditary caste is not sanctioned in Hinduism though it parades as Hinduism. The scriptures of authority have never given sanction to the idea that one is born upper or lower. Hereditary caste is a social phenomenon like the English class system. It was, and to a certain extent, it is still practised in a Christian nation like England, but it would be wrong to suggest that it is Christianity. In the same manner, to equate the hereditary caste system with Hinduism (by presenting this issue in a religious programme) undermines this religion. Unfortunately, most of my comments were edited out.
In the interview, I had gone to great lengths to emphasise this and also made a pointed remark that if you want to find hereditary caste being practised in the United Kingdom with all pomp and splendour, you have to look at the Royal family. At birth one is considered to be above all others; fit to be the head of the State …..and also of the church! This is the best example of hereditary caste system operating in the UK.
It is very important that programmes on Sunday are utilised to tidy up serious misconceptions about religions rather than perpetuating these misconceptions. Any Hindu being discriminated against in the name of caste would have benefited by listening to my detailed comments and even more importantly, those Hindus who discriminate in the name of caste would have learnt that their religion does not sanction any such practices. These comments would have also removed a serious misconception many non-Hindus have about Hinduism.
We hope that the BBC will revisit this issue and allow us a greater say on this issue.