ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles By Abhay Datar

Defining Backwardness

Various communities across the country have been demanding reservation on the basis of their social backwardness. The notion of “backwardness” seems to have attached itself to a given caste’s “position” or “status” in the traditional Hindu caste hierarchy. This is inevitable since the Constitution talks of social backwardness, in addition to educational backwardness. But as this paper argues in the debates over “backwardness” in the Marathi-speaking areas of the Bombay Presidency in the colonial period it was educational backwardness that was regarded as the primary criterion to determine whether a caste was backward or not, while in the early years of Maharashtra in the post-1947 period the criterion was primarily economic. Social backwardness was not regarded as a defining criterion, and thus can be considered as a recent entrant into the entire debate of defining the “backward.” Also, discussions on whether a community would cease to be backward if it fulfils certain conditions are practically missing in the present time.

Maharashtra 2014 - A Two-and-a-Half Horse Race

The Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navanirman Sena is once again set to determine the electoral outcome in the Lok Sabha elections this year in Maharashtra. The Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance should be concerned, as the MNS polarised the votes, both in the Lok Sabha and assembly elections, in the state in 2009 to benefit the Congress-NCP combine. 

The Lucknow Pact of 1916

The Congress-Muslim League Lucknow Pact of 1916 can easily be considered an important landmark during the nationalist movement in India. The Congress leaders agreed to the pact in the expectation that the executive-legislature relationship in the package of constitutional reforms would essentially be a continuation of the Morley-Minto reforms. But the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms, when announced, revealed that the nature of this relationship would be significantly different, leading the Congress leaders to oppose the pact and to the acceptance of communal electorates for the Muslims that it entailed, before the Southborough Committee. The pact also contained significant omissions and ambiguities which led to divergent interpretations on crucial provisions.