How has the Idea of Backwardness Taken Shape in Maharashtra?


In the debates over “backwardness” in the Marathi-speaking areas of Bombay Presidency in the colonial period, the lack of education and need for social diversity were repeatedly highlighted as criteria to determine whether a caste was backward or not, but the economic criterion was scarcely mentioned.


The divergent opinions on backwardness and reservation are evident, for instance, in the debates of the Southborough Committee which was to recommend a scheme of political representation at the all-India as well as the provincial level in 1919.







Abhay Datar, in his article “Defining Backwardness: Debates in Bombay/Maharashtra”, published on 23 December in EPW, chronologically explores the debates that occurred in the late nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries over “backwardness” in the Marathi-speaking areas of the Bombay Presidency.


He argues that social backwardness was not regarded as a defining criterion, and can be considered as a recent entrant into the debate of defining the “backward.” A timeline based on the paper:








Read the full article here.



Curated by: Sohnee Harshey []

Design: Chaitanya Mandugula

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