Caste in Canada

The Unheard Stories of Dalit Canadians (2020-23)

Primary Investigators: Dr. Anne Murphy (University of British Columbia) & Dr. Suraj Yengde (Harvard University/University of Oxford)

The “Caste in Canada” project presents the histories and experiences of Canadians impacted by caste discimination — such as Dalits, who have been subjected to extreme marginalization and exclusion by dominant castes in the caste system of South Asia, and others, also marginalized on the basis of caste — in the words of members of these communities. Listen, and watch: to understand the implications of caste in Canada.

This page offers a sample of the narratives collected for the project: follow the links for each individual’s name to explore further, to see more short videos on various topics, or delve into the longer interviews.

About the Caste in Canada project. 

Kamlesh Ahir: How does caste interact with female identity?

Sutey Ahir: How did caste influence your life in Canada?

Surjit and Manjit Bains: What is a Dalit woman’s experience like?

Jogender Banger: How did you navigate the challenges related to caste when you arrived in Canada?

Rashpal Singh Bhardwaj: How has caste shaped your life?

Jai Birdi: How can we react to caste discrimination with power and resilience?

Meera Estrada: When did you decide to talk openly about your caste?

Param Kainth: How have the Buddha’s teachings inspired other Gurus?

Kamaljit: How is the discussion around caste unfolding in North America and what significance does it hold for the Dalit community?

Mohan Lal: How did Dr. Ambedkar impact the Dalit community?

Mohinder Ralh: How did caste influence your life in India?

Vipasna Nangal: How does migration to Canada complicate caste?

Vijay Puli: How does caste operate in Western societies?

Gurpreet Singh: How do you imagine your identity?

Learn more about the project through this recorded talk, from 27 October 2023.

Supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Engage grant, with additional support from the Dr. Hari Sharma Foundation and the Centre for India and South Asia Research (UBC).

About the project. 

Banner image: Collage of photographs, from left to right, interview of Surjit and Manjit Bains with Dr. Anne Murphy (courtesy of Jai Birdi); the Guru Ravidas Sabha Vancouver (courtesy of Anita Lal); Kamaljit, participant in the project; portrait of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar by Raghavendra Rao Karkala, now in the collection of the University of the Fraser Valley Library (acrylic on canvas); Mohan Lal Karimpuri, author and activist; Vipasna Nanal, project participant and video interview editor.