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

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No Shortcuts to Dalit Liberation

Ambrose Pintos article, Saffronisation of Affirmative Action (EPW, December 25, 1999) reminds me of similar and better articulated commentaries on reservations published in Economic and Political Weekly during the days of anti-Mandal agitation. These commentaries effectively exposed the upper caste character of the agitation. The need to fight upper caste arrogance under the pretext of merit underlined by the EPW was whole-heartedly supported by its readers.

A decade after the Mandal controversy, when I see scholars like Ambrose Pinto advancing the same arguments, but in support of lowering the minimum qualifications for facilitating the entry of dalits into higher levels of education and administration, I am finding it difficult to buy their logic. To put it this way might provoke some, to jump to the conclusion that I have also became a Manuwadi. Nevertheless, I prefer to argue that raising demands for lowering the qualification marks for dalits may benefit a few aspiring individuals to get into higher positions, but such concessions, if implemented, would adversely affect the interests of the dalits in the long run.

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