Essays in Philosophy


published on February 20, 2021

Gajendran Ayyathurai

Emigration Against Caste, Transformation of the Self, and Realization of the Casteless Society in Indian Diaspora

Regardless of British colonial motives, many Indians migrated against caste/casteism across Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans. British Guiana marked the entry of Indian indentured laborers in the Caribbean in 1838. Paradoxically, thereafter religious and caste identities have risen among them. This article aims to unravel the intersectionality of religion, caste, and gender in the Caribbean Indian diaspora. Based on the recent field study in Guyana and Suriname as well as from the interdisciplinary sources, this essay examines: how brahminical deities, temples, and patriarchal institutions have re-invented caste-based asymmetrical sociality in the plantation colonies. Contrary to such re-establishment of brahminical inequalities, it argues, the castefree Indo-Guyanese religio-cultural practices foster inter-religious and inter-racial inclusive integration. And that this has led to self-transformation as well as in the making of a casteless society in the Caribbean.