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

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Bhojanmata’s Struggle for Dignity

Caste consciousness imposes moral limits on preferential hiring in the mid-day meal schemes.


Various state governments, for the last several years, have introduced the mid-day meal scheme for school children to provide them with nutritious food and ensure their physical retention in the classroom. It was also intended that such a scheme would contribute to the food economy of the needy households. However, as the media reports and several ground-level studies show, such a scheme, though useful, has been a cause for maintaining caste hierarchy that is mediated through the social construction of children, who otherwise are considered to be ethically innocent of caste consciousness.

The recent mid-day meal controversy that occurred in a government school from a district in Uttarakhand has once again brought forth the problem of caste discrimination against a Dalit woman who, as the media reports suggest, was first appointed and immediately dismissed from the job of a bhojanmata or a mid-day meal cook. The job of a bhojanmata was reportedly then given to an upper-caste woman. However, after determined protests by the aggrieved Dalit woman, the promise to restore her job seems to have been given.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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