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

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Caste amongst Schoolchildren

A Response

The author's response to Disha Nawani's critique "Caste among Schoolchildren" (EPW, 6 September 2014) says she has missed the crux of his arguments.

Disha Nawani’s critique “Caste among Schoolchildren” (EPW, 6 September 2014) of my article “Critical Thinking on Caste among Schoolchildren in Maharashtra: Case Study of Two Schools in Chiplun” (31 May 2014) is so broad in its scope that it merits a response. While appreciating Nawani’s interest in my article, I must add that she seems to have missed the crux of my arguments. Nawani notes that my article “makes sweeping generalisations across sites and across respondents and holds the schools responsible for being unable to develop critical thinking among children.”

Nawani’s emphasis on the visible (or physical) manifestations of discrimination (derogatory names, asked to clean toilets, made to eat from separate utensils, drink water from a separate pot, etc) is misplaced too. In Maharashtra where the Dalit movement is robustly active such direct discrimination is not easy to practise and can evoke protests by Dalit organisations. However, nowhere in my article have I undermined the experiences of Dalits and others (lower caste for Nawani) that face discrimination at schools.

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