Caste-based discrimination in India and beyond

Caste-based discrimination in India and beyond

Saturday 12 March 6pm – 8pm

This evening is hosted by Karuna Deutschland, the German sister organization of The Karuna Trust. The Karuna Trust was founded in 1980 by a group of members from the Triratna Buddhist Order who had witnessed the suffering of the Dalit communities in India. Inspired by the teachings of the Indian social reformer Dr. Ambedkar, they started to fundraise in the UK to support people affected by caste-based and gender discrimination.
More than 40 years on, caste unfortunately continues to be a problem – and not only in India, but in the rest of the world as well.

For this evening we have invited three speakers who will talk about caste from the point of view of personal experience as well as socio-political contextualization.

Sajan Mani is an intersectional artist, hailing from a family of rubber tappers in a remote village in the northern part of Keralam, South India. His work voices the issues of marginalized and oppressed peoples of India, via the “Black Dalit body” of the artist. Mani’s performance practice insists upon embodied presence, confronting pain, shame, fear, and power. His personal tryst with his body as a meeting point of history and present opens onto “body” as socio-political metaphor.

Gajendran Ayyathurai (PhD Columbia, USA) is an anthropologist and a historian based in Göttingen, Germany. Before coming to Göttingen University, Ayyathurai taught at Columbia University, City University of New York, and William Paterson University, New Jersey, USA. He has published on the culture, memory, and history of the casteless Tamils/Indians in Tamil, English, and German. His current book project is titled "Deep Resistance: Buddhism, Caste, and the Marginalized in Colonial India". He has initiated a new subfield, Critical Caste Studies, with scholars from India, Europe, and North America.

Sayuri Moon is an Indian student currently pursuing her masters at Würzburg university. She will share about her experience of discrimination in an Indian university and journey of searching for identity in that space. She studied at the renowned Jawaharlal Nehru University for her Bachelor degree. A place with a high social and political awareness among students. She will talk about what it means to be an Ambedkarite Buddhist at a University like that.

The panel discussion will be hosted by Amoghamati, chairwoman of Karuna Deutschland.