Skip to main content

Lacchu Kabadia: Diaspora play in Canada highlights caste discrimination, oppression

By Jai Birdi 
July 23 is indeed a historical date in the history of Canada. On July 23, 1914, Komagatamaru, a ship full of passengers from India, was forcefully returned from the shores of the west coast because of the racist immigration policies of colonial Canada. This day is now observed annually to remind the public and the lawmakers of the impact of unfair laws and policies.
On July 23, 2023, while this date was being observed in Vancouver to reflect the unfair policies of Canada, Chetna Association of Canada, a lower-mainland based community organisation, observed caste based discrimination and oppression by hosting a play, Lacchu Kabadia.
Lacchu Kabadia explores the impact of caste-based discrimination and inspires the audience to rethink beliefs and assumptions that create barriers for full inclusion.
Lacchu Kabadia is conceived, scripted, directed, and performed by Dr. Sahib Singh, a visiting artist and recipient of the Sharomani Natakkar Award from the Punjabi Language Department in 2020.
The play was well received with a full audience of about 650 guests at the North Delta Secondary School theatre.
Rajinder Singh Pandher, a Burnaby resident and a board member of the Punjabi Language Educators Association of BC (PLEA) sent his sentiments as follows:
"Million thanks for arranging this stage drama. All the audience was very much moved with emotions & the very wrong system in the SAMAJ. Hopefully this disease will disappear in our third generation in foreign countries. We fully support your efforts to awaken the populations. So keep up the good social education work."
Pandher is also a prominent activist, columnist, and former editor of a newspaper he founded, Sach Di Awaaz.
During the event, Chetna Association of Canada also honoured and presented awards to Arwinder Kaur (writer of Living while Human) and Gurdip Bhullar of Bhullar Academy in recognition of his film, Kammo.
Organisers also awarded Singh with the Dr. Ambedkar Arts & Literature Award (2023) for Lacchu Kabadia, and his community engagement.
The event was graced by MLA Jinny Sims, Speaker Raj Chouhan, and BC's former premier, Ujjal Dosanjh.
Master of Ceremony was Navjot Dhillon, a prominent broadcaster, motivational speaker, and media strategist.
Param Kainth, vice-president of Ambedkarite Association of Canada (AICS) was also moved by the play and commended Dr. Sahib Singh for his remarkable presentation.
Opening song was performed by Surrey-based artist Jyotika Jasuja.
In explaining the role and priorities of Chetna for the next year, Birdi highlighted the need for adding caste as a protected category in the legal system of BC.
The association, along with Ambedkarite International Coordinator Society (AICS) and ELLAN Foundation, presented the memorandum to MLA Sims and Speaker Chauhan. The memorandum requests the Province of British Columbia to:
  • Make amendments to the relevant legislations and regulations so the category of "caste" is included as a protected category. We appreciate that the category of 'ancestry' is already included in various existing legislations, regulations, and policies. However, without the explicit reference of caste as a stand alone category, timely and appropriate measures, including training and investigation, are often delayed or overlooked.
  • Community awareness on why caste matters in BC.
  • Enhance community capacity to observe Dr. Ambedkar Equality Day, Dalit History Month, and other anti-caste oppression initiatives.
Pix: Mohan Bachra



The Vaccine War fails to reveal: Jabs not one of Indian scientists' 'proud' achievements

By Bhaskaran Raman*  On 28 Sep 2023, the movie “The Vaccine War” by Vivek Agnihotri was released internationally, as the story behind India’s Covid-19 vaccine development. While there will be many a review written, as for other movies, a technical review is important, as the film is supposed to be fact-based, on the science and scientists behind the science.

Insider plot to kill Deendayal Upadhyay? What RSS pracharak Balraj Madhok said

By Shamsul Islam*  Balraj Madhok's died on May 2, 2016 ending an era of old guards of Hindutva politics. A senior RSS pracharak till his death was paid handsome tributes by the RSS leaders including PM Modi, himself a senior pracharak, for being a "stalwart leader of Jan Sangh. Balraj Madhok ji's ideological commitment was strong and clarity of thought immense. He was selflessly devoted to the nation and society. I had the good fortune of interacting with Balraj Madhok ji on many occasions". The RSS also issued a formal condolence message signed by the Supremo Mohan Bhagwat on behalf of all swayamsevaks, referring to his contribution of commitment to nation and society. He was a leading RSS pracharak on whom his organization relied for initiating prominent Hindutva projects. But today nobody in the RSS-BJP top hierarchy remembers/talks about Madhok as he was an insider chronicler of the immense degeneration which was spreading as an epidemic in the high echelons of th

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site The article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Why is green revolution harmful for nutrition, food safety, environment, climate change

By Bharat Dogra*  A lie repeated a hundred times will not turn a lie into a truth. The big media should realize this and stop perpetuating the lie of the green revolution saving India from hunger, long after the world has awakened to the reality of how harmful the green revolution has been from the point of nutrition, food safety, environment and climate change.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Govt of India argument 'unscientific, it lied in SC': GM mustard environmental release

Counterview Desk  The advocacy group Coalition for a GM-Free India has urged the Supreme Court of India to pass orders to implement the unanimous recommendations of the five independent experts of the Court’s Technical Expert Committee, including the Government  of India’s experts. 

Busy in political event, Gujarat govt 'evaded' plans to reduce massive Narmada floods

Counterview Desk  Farmer rights group Khedut Ekta Manch Gujarat in a letter to Bhupendrabhai Patel, chief minister, with copies sent to the officials concerned, has asked the Gujarat government to form an independent committee to investigate the recent massive flooding in Narmada, even as seeking proper compensation to those affected by the disaster, many of whom are farmers.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.