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

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Caste or Economic Status: What Should We Base Reservations On?

From the debates generated by the Mandal Commission recommendations, we examine criticisms and the underlying principles for caste-based reservations.

Is There A Second Wave of Dalit Upsurge in West Bengal?

The Matua movement that lost momentum after raising hopes of Dalit awakening in West Bengal appears to have received fresh impetus again. But is it too early to pass verdict on the future trajectory of the movement and Dalit politics in general?

Socio-spatial Stigma and Segregation

Caste-based spatial segregation, largely assumed to be a characteristic of rural societies, is reproduced in urban spaces as well, and a large population of Dalits continue to inhabit segregated settlements in the metropolitan cities of the country. Fieldwork conducted in one such segregated neighbourhood of Balmikis in central Delhi is drawn upon to explore how they perceive the urban space and how they think they are perceived by others.

Proposed Ban on Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd’s Books in DU Raises Questions about the Future of Critical Thought

Scholars of social sciences write and teach from particular ideological and political frameworks, and to expect them to be “objective” or “non-partisan,” without any sensitivity to questions of power, takes away much needed perspectives of the marginalised sections of society in academia. Any critique of an academic work should stem not from unwillingness to deal with complex or discomfiting ideas, but from close reading and engagement. This article discusses these aspects in light of the recent call to ban Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd’s books from the University of Delhi’s MA Political Science reading list, as well as other instances of such interference in university curriculum in recent years.

Daring to Imagine Caste’s Antithesis

Republic of Caste: Thinking Equality in the Time of Neoliberal Hindutva by Anand Teltumbde, Delhi: Navayana, 2018; pp 432, ₹ 600.

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.

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