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

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Response to Arundhati Roy

Continuing with the discussion around "The Doctor and the Saint," Rajmohan Gandhi counters Arundhati Roy's response in four areas--Gandhi and the Blacks of South Africa, Gandhi and caste, Gandhi and Ambedkar, and the subject of joint/separate electorates for Dalits.

All the World's a Half-Built Dam

A response to Rajmohan Gandhi's "Independence and Social Justice: The Ambedkar-Gandhi Debate" (EPW, 11 April 2015).

Scheduled Caste and Tribe Students in Higher Education

The IITs, known for their excellence in teaching and research, have come under criticism for their casteist outlook, manifested recently in IIT Madras derecognising the Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle. This article explains the findings of a 1982-1984 study that aimed to understand how SC and ST students in IIT Bombay adjusted to the academic and social environments.

Reading Arundhati Roy Out of Context

Rajmohan Gandhi's assertion that Arundhati Roy has taken statements made decades ago out of context and not provided the sources for her arguments are turned against him. This response to Gandhi's "Independence and Social Justice" (EPW, 11 April 2015) cites two such instances.

Independence and Social Justice

Taking exception to Arundhati Roy's "The Doctor and the Saint," this article seeks to add to our understanding of the B R Ambedkar-M K Gandhi debate. It does not attempt to analyse or assess the debate as such, disavowing any desire to confront either Gandhi or Ambedkar. But it makes no secret of the fact that it disagrees with Roy, going so far as to insinuate that the chief purpose of "The Doctor and the Saint" was to demolish Gandhi.

Ambedkar and Gandhi

B R Ambedkar and M K Gandhi thought through different paradigms and spoke in different frameworks. As the study of ideas and political thinking in India departs from a simplistic straitjacketing based on literal accounts, we do not have to fall into the trap of sitting in judgment on key figures. This article points out that it might be much more rewarding if ideas and thinkers are studied through interpretative lenses. Such exercises will allow us to make a choice between a conversation and a closure of ideas.

Caste and the Power Elite in Allahabad

This article examines the social composition of public institutions in Allahabad, and specifically, the share of different castes and communities in positions of power and influence - the Press Club, the university faculty, the Bar Association, the police, and the commanding positions in trade unions, non-governmental organisations, media houses, among other public institutions. These turn out to be heavily dominated by a small group of upper castes - Brahmins and Kayasthas in particular. Disadvantaged castes, for their part, are largely relegated to subordinate or menial positions. The findings raise troubling questions about the resilience of caste hierarchies. Aside from better enforcement of reservation norms, there is an urgent need for more voluntary attention to diversity in public life, of the sort that has significantly reduced ethnic or gender imbalances in other countries.

Practice of Caste in Higher Education

Beyond Inclusion: The Practice of Equal Access in Indian Higher Education edited by Satish Deshpande and Usha Zacharias (New Delhi: Routledge), 2013; pp 356, Rs 415 (hardback).

Imagining a Casteless and Classless Society

Poet of the Revolution: The Memoirs and Poems of Lal Singh Dil translated by Nirupama Dutt (New Delhi: Viking /Penguin), 2012; pp 216, Rs 399.

Sanitation Workers

This refers to the article by Vivek Kumar entitled “Whose Cleanliness?” (EPW, 1 November 2014). He has given a vivid analysis of the “Clean India Campaign”, and its relation with caste. These are indeed correct and convincing. However, there are some important points which should be understood in...

I, a Manual Scavenger, Not Your Vote Bank

The world of manual scavenging is informed by caste, patriarchy, filth and humiliation. Their only source of "power" comes from politicians considering them a vote bank; yet, without truly understanding their lives, aspirations, and living conditions, how can governments promise them policies that could empower and change their lives?

Caste among Schoolchildren

Despite the potential of the paper, "Critical Thinking on Caste among Schoolchildren in Maharashtra: Case Study of Two Schools in Chiplun" (EPW, 31 May 2014), it is reduced to a reporting of some of the views and attitudes of children on caste-related issues and leaves much to be desired. The paper does not achieve the objectives it set out for itself. It makes sweeping generalisations across sites and across respondents and holds the schools responsible for being unable to develop critical thinking among children.

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