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

Articles By Caste in India

Caste and Power in Villages of Colonial Bengal

An exposition of four court cases demonstrates that by the late 1920s, the educated middle classes wielded the colonial state apparatus. Moreover, the colonial state had partially delinked the premodern affiliation of local muscle to the local hubs of power. Therefore, at the village level, local malcontents were isolated and booked for lawbreaking. Villagers/village communities were located within a caste-based social structure, though caste hierarchies in Tamluk seemed more fluid. They also had the option to activate the (ideally) caste-neutral state apparatus, which sharpened their perceptions of legal subjectivity, and increased their stake in the government.

When ‘Anybody Can Be Brahmin’

The appointment of Dalit priests to temples in Kerala has been engendered by the growing departure of Brahmin youth from priestly jobs, coupled with existing aspirations of the lower castes to become priests in Brahminical temples. This move is aimed at the formation of a cohesive “Hindu community” through the reconfiguration of caste practices, not the eradication of caste.

Caste, Contemporaneity and Assertion

This article is in response to the opinions and views expressed in the “Caste and Class” special (EPW, 19 November 2016). An evolutionary and historical method has not helped us to understand the caste system and its exploitative nature in its entirety. Therefore, we need to analyse it from a new perspective which can explain the caste system by critically looking at assertion of both, the so-called upper castes and Dalits together.