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

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Is Caste Appeal Casteism?

Among the oppressed the appeal to caste is for unification of similar 'jatis' into larger collectivities and political mobilisation for power so as to subvert the very relations of the 'varna' order. Caste appeal here is, therefore, far from being casteism. On the other hand, the self-perceived transcendence of the traditionally hegemonic middle class from caste consciousness has rapidly collapsed in the last decade. There has been a steady decomposition of the consciousness of the middle class into articulated caste interests of brahmins, thakurs and so on. Within the Muslim communities there has been a shift away from concerns of security to those of equality and dignity - a politics in affinity to that of the dalits and the OBCs for recognition. They are therefore no more a vote bank; it is a case of alignment of interests of a secular nature, a social coalition of oppressed forces. This fusion of opposite tendencies and intercession of contrary forces has rendered the process of democratisation more and more complicated so that simple judgments become one-sided and are a sure source of misunderstanding.

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