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

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Lynchings in Bihar: Reassertion of Dominant Castes

 Lynchings in Bihar: Reassertion of Dominant Castes Prakash Louis The recent lynching of so-called thieves in Bihar is in reality the killing of dalits by the dominant castes, who find themselves sidelined by the present state government and want to reassert themselves. There is no organised protest because unlike in other parts of the country, dalits here have never had a strong political organisation of their own.

Dalit Christians: Betrayed by State and Church

Dalits who have converted to Christianity find that not only are the benefits of reservation not extended to them in contravention of constitutional provisions but even the church and the non-dalit Christian community actively discriminate against them.

NREGA Implementation II - Birth Pangs in Bihar

What is holding back the government of Bihar from implementing the national rural employment guarantee scheme in the state? Like its predecessor, the present leadership of the state government too seems to be strong on rhetoric and weak in implementation.

Jehanabad - II: Viewing Bihar

"Operation Jailbreak" carried out by the Maoists in Jehanabad brings many facts about Bihar, and indeed India, to the fore, among which are the caste question, violation of the minimum wages act and failure of land reforms.

Affirmative Action in Private Sector

While enforcement of special measures like establishment of Employment Opportunities Commission, instituting special provisions for higher education has been suggested as a possible alleviative for reservation in private sector, the need of the hour is to ensure a nationwide debate on this issue.

Caste Tensions in Punjab

The recent incidence of conflict involving members of the landowning caste of jats and the scheduled caste of â??ad-dharmis' in the Talhan village of Punjab is far from a typical case of caste violence or 'dalit oppression' frequently reported from other parts of India. Instead, it ought to be viewed as a case of 'dalit assertion' for equal rights and a share in the resources that belong commonly to the village and had so far been in the exclusive control of the locally dominant caste, the jats. Further, notwithstanding the rather peculiar and complex nature of the Talhan case, this could mark the beginning of a new phase in the history of caste relations in Punjab. Though the issues are varied, there seems to be an underlying pattern in several other cases of conflict being currently reported in the state.

Scheduled Castes and Tribes

The persistence of constitutionally sanctioned privileges to the scheduled castes and tribes by way of job reservations and preferential treatment in educational institutes beyond the period originally specified by the Constitution has divided Indians into two divisive camps - pro and anti reservationists. The latter argue that merit has often taken second place as a result of such policies that anyway benefit only a certain section, already privileged, among the disadvantaged. However, as data collated from various sources reveal, the SCs and STs continue to be poorly represented in government services and they score far lower than most other sections in several development indicators, chiefly literacy.

Gujarat : Earthquake and After

The recent earthquake in Gujarat claimed thousands of lives, very many still unaccounted for. It was the army and several NGO groups who took the initiative in launching rescue and relief efforts. But on the government now lies the more onerous responsibility of reconstruction and rebuilding. This task of rebuilding a sustainable, stable future has also to be accomplished keeping in mind people's sentiments and the need to maintain transparency in all its dealings.

Jharkhand : Marginalisation of Tribals

The formation of the state of Jharkhand is the culmination of a 200-year old struggle by the people of the region. Statehood, however, may not ensure the development of the region's original inhabitants, the tribals; mainline parties with an eye on vote-banks have ensured the continued dominance of the trader-bania nexus, and tribals themselves are divided by ever-deepening cleavages.

Bihar : Class War Spreads to New Areas

A semi-feudal society like Bihar gives rise to ruthless oppression, violent revolts and resistance. Private senas flourish in the atmosphere of lawlessness. The cycle of violence and counterviolence continues.

Fractured Mandate for Social Change in Bihar

Though politicians continued with caste equations and commentators relied on exit polls and such, the voters of Bihar let it be known that they wanted change. In the recent assembly elections they have not given any party a majority.

Shankarbigha Revisited

With the sharpening of the agrarian crisis, conventional caste relations are being assailed by the younger generation who are aserting themselves against oppression and exploitation. This has prompted systematic attempts by the upper castes to curb the emergence of this new identity. The massacre at Shankarbigha last year and other similar incidents in the region have to be located in these emerging social tensions.

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