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

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Holding Up Half the Sky

Political representation is a necessary condition for a liberal democracy. Political quotas are meant to address the absence of those who are excluded because of the inegalitarian social structures in which political processes are enacted. This is accepted as a legitimate justification for scheduled caste and scheduled tribe quotas in legislatures and Parliament. Reserved quotas for women are a fair extension of that same principle. The Women's Reservation Bill must empower women to address their situation politically, not to serve the old hierarchies once again. An effective implementation of reserved quotas for women in legislatures and Parliament is a must to bring a more participative and inclusive, a more egalitarian and sensitive citizenship for all.

Value-Neutrality and Prejudice

Rudi Heredia ANDRE BETEILLE's 'Religion as a Subject for Sociology' (EPW, August 29) calls for some comments. The use of the comparative method in sociology as urged by Durkheim and the 'empathetic understanding' of Weber have indeed been put to constructive use in the sociology of religion. Beteille would have these extended to the study of politics for "the lesson that the social theorist learn from the study of religion cannot be altogether without value for the study of politics" (p 1868). He writes:
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