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

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Scavenging Profession: Between Class and Caste?

A recent incident where some people belonging to the "Bhangi" community smeared human excreta to protest the Karnataka government's plan to evict them from their homes brings out in stark relief the failure of reformist initiatives to end the manual clearing of human excreta. This article argues that part of the reason for these failures has been the inability to imbue the "Bhangi" with political agency, while our ideological and literary imaginations have only tried to see this issue in terms of caste or class.

Dalits and a Lack of Diversity in the Newsroom

This article explores the issue of dalits' inclusion in the media industry. It argues that under-representation of dalits in Indian media leads to an exclusion of news on dalits.

Caste in South Asia

This is with reference to “Comparative Contexts of Discrimination: Caste and Untouchability in South Asia” by Surinder S Jodhka and Ghanshyam Shah (EPW, 27 November 2010). Academic discussions about the caste system in south Asia are not a new thing but this paper, based on a large-scale survey, is...

Caste Census: The Road Ahead

Can we expect to see a greater clarity of purpose and firmness of resolve in counting caste?

Why the Census Should Not Count Caste

A response to the article "The Politics of Not Counting Caste" (EPW, 19 June 2010) and the editorial "Why We Must Count Caste" (22 May) on caste in the 2011 Census, contesting the main arguments therein on the need to enumerate all castes during the enumeration.

Caste and Census: A Forward Looking Strategy

In modern India, vast quantities of research have documented caste-based inequalities in many dimensions of well-being. If these inequalities are not simply imagined but reflect social processes that deserve public policy attention, incorporating questions about caste in the census is imperative. However, there is a need to devise an accounting framework that has clarity of purpose since there are many complexities involved in collecting caste data.

Does Class Matter? Class Structure and Worsening Inequality in India

Does class structure matter in understanding the increasing inequality in India during the period of economic liberalisation? There is now clear evidence from the National Sample Survey quinquennial household consumer expenditure surveys conducted in 1993-94 and 2004-05 that increased distance between urban elites (owners, managers and professionals), rural rentier classes (such as moneylenders and absentee landlords) that are more stratified at the top, and unskilled urban workers, marginal farmers and agricultural workers, who are increasingly more stratified at the bottom, helps us understand the distributional dynamics of the Indian growth story. This paper analyses the class structures in India and decomposes the overall inequality into inter-class and intra-class terms. It explains these changes by analysing the Indian policies during this period.

Counting Castes: Advantage the Ruling Class

If castes are counted in the 2011 census, it will be the second biggest blow to the emancipation project of the oppressed, the first being the Mandal reservations.

The Politics of Not Counting Caste

In the debate on whether or not to count caste in the 2011 Census, there has been too little reflection on the implicit assumptions and analogies about both the census and caste that underpin the positions that have been taken. This article attempts to identify the major models that have been tacitly at work. Questioning the view that the status quo is benign or neutral, it argues that not counting caste has defeated the desire to transcend caste, and suggests that "caste blindness" be rejected in favour of a fresh beginning.

Modi Spews Caste Venom

Caste venom is embedded in the body politic of this country. The BJP occasionally spews it; the Congress successfully conceals it.

Atrocities on Dalits

The question of atrocities on dalits – who constitute around a sixth of the nation’s population – and the consequent denial of justice in a majority of cases is an unfortunate reality of our country. The hiatus which exists between constitutional pronouncements to “abolish u ntouchability in all...

Why We Must Count Caste

A caste census is an occasion for collective reflection on the caste question.

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