Caste can’t be brushed aside as a global worry
California-based Apple Inc’s adoption of an explicit ban on caste discrimination is a sign of its harsh impact overseas. Denial of such a problem is untenable. Let’s be part of the solution
As Indians, are we too thin-skinned about caste inequity than is good for us? Official attempts to keep it off the global agenda have lost conviction as the world’s cradle of digital innovation, that techscape along America’s west coast which throbs with techies of Indian origin, grapples with this desi concept from a staff perspective. Going by our past record, word of Apple Inc’s adoption of an explicit policy that bars caste discrimination within this company based in California is likely to split opinion in India. As reported, not only is caste named, a staff training module explains the need of this ban to employees who are not familiar with the concept. Apple’s code of conduct was updated a while ago to place it on a list that includes race, religion, gender, age and ancestry as markers that must not mark any individual apart for unfair treatment. Such a corporate spotlight on a touchy issue might disturb those who have sought to keep it privy, a matter for us to resolve among ourselves at home. But this position has been weakened by attitudes of desi origin in the US forcing major businesses to reckon with hereditary labels that are invisible to most Americans but can still be visibly unfair to folks at the receiving end.