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

Patrick FrancoisSubscribe to Patrick Francois

Distress in Marathaland

The Marathas, Maharashtra’s dominant community, have been protesting against the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 and demanding reservations for themselves and a hike in minimum support prices. This study reveals that these demands do not address the source of Maratha distress—stagnation of farm incomes and the failure of the government to improve agricultural productivity. Poor farmers, whether Maratha or Dalit, have the same grievances, and therefore, a caste-based mobilisation may actually be counterproductive.

'One Kind of Democracy'

Even if we concede that the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme is designed as a demand-driven programme, and that local residents desire to have work projects in their area, whether it translates into effective demand, and whether the work projects actually get initiated depends very much on the dominant voices in local power structures. As this study shows in the case of Maharashtra, however progressive the design of modern democratic institutions, traditional caste hierarchies will try to sabotage their working by using their standing clientelist structures, with class and caste coming together to make this possible.
Back to Top