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

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Mayawati's Prospects

The article ‘On Judging Mayawati’ by Chittibabu Padavala (August 18) has highlighted some important problems facing Mayawati. Actually, what Mayawati is confronting is the powerful hegemony of neoliberalism. In an era of neoliberalism, what kind of power can be given to the dalits in Uttar Pradesh...

Dalit Christians: Betrayed by State and Church

Dalits who have converted to Christianity find that not only are the benefits of reservation not extended to them in contravention of constitutional provisions but even the church and the non-dalit Christian community actively discriminate against them.

Caste, Courts and Reservations

By staying the operation of the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act 2006, the Supreme Court has ensured that “elite” central institutions of higher learning such as the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) remain elitist...

On Backwardness and Fair Access to Higher Education

Against the backdrop of the policy of reservation of seats in higher education for the Other Backward Classes in India, this paper examines two inter-related yet distinct issues: (i) the use of economic criteria for assessing the backwardness of different social groups, and (ii) assessment of fairness of access to higher education of an identified "backward" social group. On an analysis of the NSS 55th round surveys for 1999-2000 we show that, on a range of economic criteria, there is a clear hierarchy across (essentially) caste-based social groups, with the scheduled castes (in urban India) and the scheduled tribes (in rural India) at the bottom, the OBCs in the middle, and the non-SC/ST "Others" at the top. However, for the poor among them, there is more of a continuum across caste-groups, with surprisingly small differences between the OBCs and the non-SC/ST Others. It is also shown that for the OBCs as a group, and especially for over 70 per cent of them who are above the poverty line, the extent of their under-representation in enrolments at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels is less than 5 per cent. Therefore, a 27 per cent quota for the OBCs, which would effectively raise their share in enrolments to over 50 per cent when their share in the eligible population is 30 per cent or less, is totally unjustified.

Kherlanji: Caste Violence

Caste Violence On most maps, Kherlanji or as its name has been otherwise spelt, Khairlanji, located in Maharashtra

Dalits: Prejudice in Institutions

Prejudice in Institutions Reservations may give students from a Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe background access to higher education, but it is not uncommon for these students to be discriminated against after they enter these schools of learning. Recently, the spotlight was turned by the media on the plight of these students in some of the institutions of higher education.

Gender, Caste and Fiction

In most of her works, Mahasweta Devi has tried to tackle and address the turbulence of caste/class/gender in the historic context of the brahmanic caste patriarchy. Even after assuming an occupational class status, the 'rudalis' transform themselves into a gendered caste, specifically a low caste of "whores". This could be identified as the central tension or contradiction in the social practice of Mahasweta's fiction and her narrative praxis.

Social Inequality, Labour Market Dynamics and Reservation

This paper brings two new elements to the debate around expanding reservation in centres of excellence in higher education. First, it separately estimates upper caste Hindu profiles in education (dropout and completion rates), employment and relative incomes and establishes that UCHs are significantly better off in all these parameters than scheduled tribes, scheduled castes and other backward classes. It also establishes that in urban India, ST, SC and OBC have very similar profiles and are at a great distance from the UCHs. In rural India, OBCs are situated in the middle - between ST and SCs on the one hand and UCHs on the other - but again at a significant distance from the latter. Second, it links this privileged positioning of UCHs with changing labour market dynamics in the 1990s and suggests that as a result these castes dominate access to the best jobs in the urban economy. Access to high quality tertiary education has then become key to accessing the most dynamic segment of a decelerating labour market. It uses evidence from both of these to intervene in the current debate around expanding reservations to OBCs in public institutions of higher learning and argues that the above make expanding reservation imperative

Redesigning Affirmative Action

Arguing for better policy design in affirmative action, this paper presents an illustrative model of a feasible alternative to caste quotas. The proposed model is evidence-based, addresses multiple sources of group and individual disadvantage (caste, region, gender and rural/urban residence), as well as interaction effects and degrees of disadvantage. Such an approach allows us to demonstrate that affirmative action is not about "appeasement" but about eliminating sources of tangible disadvantage in our unequal society.

Obituary: K R Narayanan- Making of a President

K R Narayanan's journey of life from a 'chetta kudil' (meanest hut) to Rashtrapathi Bhavan is a saga which has no parallel in India and is certainly more remarkable than that of Abraham Lincoln from a log cabin to the White House.

Interrogating Caste

Caste in Question: Identity or Hierarchy? edited by Dipankar Gupta; Sage Publications, 2004; SIMON CHARSLEY The editor of this rich and stimulating collection makes the bold claim to providing

Caste and Dalit Emancipation

Emancipation Dr Ambedkar and Untouchability: Analysing and Fighting Caste by Christophe Jaffrelot; Permanent Black, India, 2005; JANGAM CHINNAIAH The genre of biography and autobiography is yet to make a mark or be accepted by itself as a legitimate source within the modern Indian historical canon. Also, the (auto) biographies written so far have been confined to caste Hindu nationalist leaders. Significantly, the monopoly of the Congress Party over the nationalist politics did not allow any other personalities from other parties to grow as alternative figures. Because of this reason, the known biographies in modern India are mostly of caste Hindu leaders who belonged to the Congress such as Gandhi, Nehru, Tilak, Subash Chandra Bose, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan among others. Interestingly all these personalities hail from privileged caste Hindu backgrounds; this is not just a coincidence, rather a manifestation of the very nature of hierarchical caste society. In the politics of nationalism, caste Hindu nationalist leaders were projected as the sole makers of the modern Indian nation and nationalism. All other alternative articulations were discounted and even despised and condemned as

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