Why California’s anti-caste bill matters

Should the bill become law, it would mark a watershed in the history of human rights and civil rights in the US, not just for Americans of Indian and South Asian origin but also for stigmatized communities from other regions.

At the time of writing this piece, the California Senate Bill 403, which seeks to outlaw caste-based discrimination in the state, rests on governor Gavin Newsom’s desk waiting to be signed into law. 

During its long journey to this point, the bill has been fiercely opposed by sections of Indian Americans and Hindu Americans who, with the support of Hindu far-right groups like the Hindu American Foundation and Coalition of Hindus of North America, have sought to kill the bill or to dilute it to the point of meaninglessness. Meanwhile, activists who have fought hard to secure the passage of …


Rohit Chopra

Rohit is a professor of communication at Santa Clara University. His research centres on global media and culture, online communities and the relationship of media, memory and violence. He is the author or editor of four books, most recently, The Gita for a Global World: Ethical Action in an Age of Flux (Westland 2021). His current book projects focus on disability in global culture and media and media representations of the 1992-93 communal riots in Mumbai. His writing has been featured in Time, The Conversation, South China Morning Post, Scroll, The Wire and The Caravan. You can find out more about him at www.rohitchopra.com.