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

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Caste and Gender in Colonial South India

Caste and Gender in Colonial South India Recasting the Devadasi: Patterns of Sacred Prostitution in Colonial South India by Priyadarshini Vijaisri; Kanishka Publishers, New Delhi, 2004; pp 346+xii, Rs 750.

Political Participation, Representation and the Urban Poor

In recent times, social scientists have noted the decline of state responsiveness to social claims. There appears an equal decline in the ability of existing structures of representation to provide poorer social groups influence over policy. On the other hand, there is also evidence of a crisis in popular representation in several low- and middle-income countries. Poorer social groups appear to have a limited capacity to present a reform agenda that addresses issues of basic rights and ensures livelihoods. To test this hypothesis, this paper studies sample communities in Delhi, representative of a broad cross section of the population. Through an analysis of the data collected, the study describes and explains patterns of political participation, focusing in particular on ways in which poorer social groups organise, obtain political representation and try to solve collective social problems. It appears, contrary to most expectations, that the needs and interest of poorer people are increasingly being met through the 'new politics' of social movements, the poor in particular still seek to represent themselves and to tackle their problems through political parties.

Reservations and Casteism

The growth of caste consciousness has hurt the development of progressive social consciousness among the oppressed and exploited millions of the labouring classes because caste ideology has made workers casteists and not fighters for secular anti-poverty programmes.

Reservation and Efficiency

The corporate sector needs to keep in mind that anti-discrimination measures like reservation are needed for growth as much as equity. It is necessary to emphasise that anti-discrimination policies will not only provide fair and non-discriminatory access to historically excluded and discriminated groups like the dalits, but simultaneously remove constraints imposed by caste discrimination on labour markets, and thereby induce competitiveness and economic growth.

Implications of Reservations in Private Sector

The proposal to extend reservations to the private sector has generated mixed reactions. The private sector is divided on the idea. The issue may go yet again to the Supreme Court. The implications of the proposal could be that labour productivity in the private sector may decline, the undeserving among the SC/STs and OBCs may get most of the benefits as they have managed to in the public sector in the past and for the really marginalised SC/STs reservations may not mean much as they are not equipped to avail of the benefits.

Reservation for Muslims

The move by the Andhra Pradesh government to reserve positions for backward Muslims in the state has been condemned by the right wing and the liberals alike. But the issue instead calls for a renewed debate on reservation.

Dalit Question and Political Response

In the existing literature the concept of mobilisation is used to analyse electoral strategies employed by political parties to obtain votes from a section of the population - in this case dalits. This aspect has been extensively covered for both Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh during the 1990s. The attempt here is to understand the response of political parties to fundamental shifts in the democratic arena in the 1990s in these two states: the decline of the single-dominant party system and the emergence of narrower political formations based on identity which has created a more competitive environment. The differential patterns of mobilisation employed by the BSP and the Congress in the two states using state power from above to put into effect programmes for dalits in order to enlarge their support base among them are examined.

Caste System and Hinduism

Caste System and Hinduism GAIL OMVEDT MV Nadkarni

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