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

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Why Do We Need a Specific Law to Safeguard Dalits Against Caste Violence?

A reading list to help understand why the provisions of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act should not be diluted.​

The 2015 Gram Pradhan Elections in Uttar Pradesh

The 2015 gram pradhan elections in Uttar Pradesh present a distinct picture of local elections as compared to state-level and national elections. Three factors— money, power, and violence with localised overtones— have driven the course of elections lately. Large-scale monetary benefits accruing from the position of pradhani motivate the contestants to make substantial investment in elections. The second important element is power that is primarily based on caste status. Although caste positions have changed, the power of caste remains intact. Middle castes have gained salience but relative empowerment of certain communities within the Scheduled Castes is a notable feature in rural societies. The most visible expression of power assertion is violence which is colloquially referred to as dabangai.

Genealogies of Nagaland’s ‘Tribal Democracy’

Compared to the bulky literature on caste and democracy, we still know little about the form and functioning of democratic politics amongst tribes. This is a serious lacuna, one which, at the level of sociology, impedes the kind of careful comparison that has long proven fruitful to capture the inner logic and intricacies of social life. If caste is deemed central to any understanding of contemporary Indian politics, what about those states and constituencies in which tribes preponderate numerically?

Legal Violence and Its Unacknowledged Terrain in Chaitanya Tamhane’s Court

A critical take on the film, Court, with respect to the legal discourse through which it weaves its narrative of the failure of legal activism. The film is critiqued through a particular branch of critical legal scholarship that associates the activities of the lawyer or legal activist with that of the translator or the interpreter. As activities pertaining to justice and the survival of human beings, acts of misreading and mistranslation are therefore not innocent or incidental to the legal process or legal activism.

Does India Need a Caste-based Quota in Cricket?

In India’s 85-year-long Test history, only four of the 289 male Test cricketers have reportedly been Dalits. While concrete steps have been taken to address a similar under-representation of non-white players in South Africa, Dalit under-representation in Indian cricket has received scant attention. There is a need to understand this as a function of systemic barriers arising from corporate patronage post-independence and the urban stranglehold of the game, instead of attributing it to choice, inherent inability or upper caste “tastes.” The grass-roots development approach of Cricket South Africa can serve as an example to address this anomaly.

How BJP Appropriated the Idea of Equality to Create a Divided India

Right-wing populism has managed to turn the traditional progressive political practices on their head. The BJP began with a critique of poor implementation of NREGA through a discourse on corruption, but gradually resignified it into a critique of welfare itself; anger against growing economic inequalities leads to the election of more pro-corporate government. This article looks at the future of right-wing populism in India, arguing that instead of a moral rejection, we need to undersand the "moral structure" on which it builds its politics.

Explicit Prejudice

A representative phone survey to study explicit prejudice against women and Dalits in Delhi, Mumbai, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan reveals widespread prejudice in several domains and discusses the consequences for women and Dalits, and society as a whole. The results suggest the need for a more robust public discourse and active approach to measuring and challenging prejudice and discrimination.

The ‘Non-Brahmin’ Cook from Pune and the Myth of the ‘Caste-less’ Middle Class

The incident in Pune wherein a Brahmin employer filed a police complaint—and the police filed a case under various laws—against her domestic help on the grounds that the latter misrepresented her caste highlighted the many levels of casteist prejudices even among the so-called ‘caste-less’ upper and middle classes. Unfortunately, the incident did not generate a wider protest against the systemic fault lines in society.

Development of a Few, Misery for the Masses

After 70 years of independence, India continues to languish at the bottom of the comity of nations on every parameter that constitutes real development. The widening economic disparities and relentless violence against Dalits, Adivasis and minorities demonstrate that B R Ambedkar’s dream of social and economic equality accompanying political equality remains elusive.

Caste in a Tamil Family

Written using the voice of Zehra Hashmi, an ethnographic narrative examines caste in transition in Jaffna, centred around a Vel . l . āl . ar family that lived in the peninsula throughout the duration of the Sri Lankan Civil War, which came to an end in May 2009. Based on field research and interviews conducted between 2011 and 2013, the authors find that interlocutors struggle to make meaning of post-war changes.

Faculty Diversity at the Indian Institutes of Management

A look at the social composition of faculty members at the Indian Institutes of Management reveals that the faculty body at these institutions is drawn from a very narrow spectrum of Indian society. The recently proposed legislation that will convert IIMs into full-fledged universities offers a canvas for public deliberation on the question of social diversity at these institutions of higher learning.

Robbing Rohith of His Dalitness

The basic question that the Rohith Vemula case raises is about the existence of the rule of law in India. If his mother Radhika Vemula was rich, there would have been no issue about Rohith’s caste and all people named in the FIR for abetting his suicide would have been in jail. But her fault is that she lived off the pittance that Rohith sent her from his paltry fellowship!

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