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

Articles By Sonalde Desai

Caste in 21st Century India: Competing Narratives

Recent debates regarding inclusion of caste in 2011 Census have raised questions about whether caste still matters in modern India. Ethnographic studies of the mid-20th century identified a variety of dimensions along which caste differentiation occurs. At the same time, whether this differentiation translates into hierarchy remains a contentious issue as does the persistence of caste, given the economic changes of the past two decades. Using data from a nationally representative survey of 41,554 households conducted in 2005, this paper examines the relationship between social background and different dimensions of well-being. The results suggest continued persistence of caste disparities in education, income and social networks.

Caste and Census: A Forward Looking Strategy

In modern India, vast quantities of research have documented caste-based inequalities in many dimensions of well-being. If these inequalities are not simply imagined but reflect social processes that deserve public policy attention, incorporating questions about caste in the census is imperative. However, there is a need to devise an accounting framework that has clarity of purpose since there are many complexities involved in collecting caste data.

Soldiers of Saffron, Sonal Shah and Secularism

In our haste to reject the "soldiers of saffron" who live and work outside India, there is a risk that we may be engaging in a politics of personal destruction with tremendous pain for the individuals concerned. There is a fine line between rejection of hate and exploitation of youthful ignorance and folly. If we cross that line we will become vulnerable to charges of McCarthyism.