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.




Must Read

Justice Indu Malhotra set a dangerous precedent by stating that courts should not delve into the rationality of religious practices. This article contests the arguments made by this lone dissenter to...
Studies on sexual harassment complaint committees over the years highlight how committees, even when instituted, often do not function as they should. 
Two judgements in August 2017 came under the scanner for the language they used to define consent and talk about survivors of sexual assault.
Though atheism has been socially prevalent in India, it has remained a grey area in the legal context. There are no specific laws catering to atheists and they are considered as belonging to the...
Several unconstitutional laws in India repress its citizens. A reading list from the EPW Archives.
The prevention of torture has been one of the key human rights developments in the last decade. With India’s strong stake for a seat at the security council, the issue has assumed importance. However...
Back to Top