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Caste, Class and Reservations-(In Memoriam I P Desai)

Caste, Class and Reservations (In Memoriam: I P Desai) Upendra Baxi I P DESAI (IP) passed away on January 26, 1985. His contribution on this theme (EPW, July 14, 1984) was thus to be a last one. But it had all the qualities of IP's exemplary scholarship: clarity of thought, meticulous grasp of detail, obstinate insight, a vision of India and unusual generosity to colleagues with whose views he disagreed. It is characteristic of IP that he should have invited, not just anticipated, Ghanshyam Shah's (GS) response, which appeared close to his demise (EPW, January 17, 1985).

Caste, Class and Reservation

Caste, Class and Reservation Ghanshyam Shah WHILE rejecting the recommendations of the Mandal Commission for caste based reservation I P Desai (IP) coherently argues his case in favour of class based reservations (EPW, July 14, 1984). His argument is based on two counts. One, he believes that if the state accepts caste as the basis for backwardness, it legitimises the caste system which contradicts secular principles. Two, he observes that the traditional caste system has broken down and contractual relationships between individuals have emerged. 1 share not only his idealism but also believe that all those who believe in secular society should make efforts to strengthen the processes of class formation. I find fault with his observations and analysis. He does not pay enough attention to the prevailing identity of 'we-ness' among the members of the same caste as well as the nature of the political structure and processes. He also fails to relate his observations in the historical context to the social groups which tilt the balance against the secular forces. However, I have agreement with IP's approach and some of his observations on the changing social reality I fully agree with him when he says that there is nothing inherent in the caste system that will resist all forces of change and will perpetually determine social, economic and political action of the Hindus. No doubt, the traditional caste structure supposedly based on ideology of purity and pollution has little relevance to the present day India.1 I use the term 'caste' in this note as a social group and not as a part of the hierarchical order. The terms 'high caste' or 'low caste' are used here in the sense of purity and pollution, but partly in their historical context and partly in connection with the present overall economic and educational condition of the members of the group. The high or upper castes are those which enjoyed dominance over economic resources in the recent past before independence, and today the majority of its members are relatively well-off, enjoy dominance (not necessarily political offices) and are better educated than the members of the other social groups. The condition of the low castes is the opposite of this.

Caste, Infrastructure and Superstructure-A Critique

Caste, Infrastructure and Superstructure A Critique Dipankar Gupta The question whether it is 'caste' or 'class' that constitutes the primary level of reality in Indian society has been one of the constant concerns of Indian sociology. The two important contending approaches are the 'culturological approach which argues that caste is a primordial reality of Indian society and everything else springs from it; and various 'Marxist' approaches which, while recognising the importance of caste, question the theoretical and historical assumptions underlining the 'culturological' approach. The most lucid and influential exponent of the thesis of caste as primordial reality is the French sociologist, Louis Dumont, A measure of the influence of Dwmont's views can be had in the fact that a Marxist critic of Dumont, Maurice Godelier, in arguing that caste is part of the 'infrastructure', apparently taking a middle position between those who argue that caste is part of the sub-structure and those who argue that is part of the superstructure, ends up finally with views virtually similar to those held by Dumont.

Scheduled Caste Voters New Data, New Questions

Studies of voting behaviour of scheduled caste voters often arrive at different, even contradictory conclusions, though they generally agree that 'bloc voting' is a feature of scheduled caste voting behaviour. These studies rely for the most part on three sources of data to cross-check casual observations: studies of particular scheduled caste communities sample surveys; and studies of differences in election results between reserved and non-reserved constituencies.

Social Mobility and Caste Violence-A Study of the Gujarat Riots

A Study of the Gujarat Riots Pradip Kumar Bose This paper examines certain structural aspects of the present caste riots in Gujarat. It argues that the caste and geographical spread of the violence is closely related to the social mobility of the affected scheduled caste population, Taking literacy, education and employment as indicators of social mobility, and scheduled caste concentration in a particular area as a factor inducing hostility, the paper shows how it is precisely those sections of the scheduled castes who are relatively better educated, more mobile and have some access to jobs thathave been most seriously affected by the present caste riots; similarly; the areas thus affected also show a relative concentration of the scheduled castes.

Gujarat-Caste Violence

credits for subscriptions to the tune of Rs 800 crore to the black money bonds, the contribution of the Union Budget to total Plan expenditure will be less than 56 per cent in 1981-82 compared to about 60 per cent in

Classes in Caste Idiom

will pick up substantially". Clearly, the authors of the Economic Survey are not concerned about the extent to which such transfer of resources to a microscopic class of industrialists inhibits the development process and blocks the achievement of all the wider objectives which elsewhere they pretend to espouse.

BONDED LABOUR-Missing Numbers

Missing Numbers M K T ARITHMETIC is proving to be the most elusive part of the problem of bonded, labour. If one goes by the claims made by 21 states and union territories, the problem is nonexistent in their areas. Two states, West Bengal and Kerala, have promised To keep a watchful eye, should any rare specimen of bonded labour be found. This brings the geographical limits of the incidence of bonded labour down to eight states Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and UP.

Educational Opportunities for the Scheduled Castes - Role of Protective Discrimination in Equalisation

Marked progress has been made by the scheduled castes in education, as is manifest from the rise in their literacy rates, enrolment co-efficients and the proportion of their numbers in Class 1 and 11 categories of jobs in Central and state services.

Political Mobilisation and Ethnicity among Adi-Dravidas in a Bombay Slum

Then, at 49, while he was operating, and had been in the surgery contin- uously for 67 hours, a shell burst nearby. His scalpel cut his hand slightly, and after a few days he realised he was hit by Septicemea. With no drugs, it was a matter of a few days, he knew, before he would die. He wrote his farewell letter to General Nieh. Then he passed away. A battlefront cry now became, "Down with invaders! Remember Or Bethune. Long live free China. Remember 0r Bethune". As he lay dying, his colleagues had said, "Not in all China. No comrades, not in all the world will there be enough tears." "Bethune was a man who achieved painful consciousness of his weaknesses, but instead of succumbing to them he reached greatness in vanquishing them. Thus, he turned...the revolutionary for whom life was comradeship with the people, a few handfuls of millet per day, and surgery performed in the midst of bloody and now famous battles. He found his final, indestructible strength in his vast dream of remaking the world." The book needs no recommendation. But the question of "taking medicine to the people" needs vastly more than recommendation. Is there a relevance in the Bethune story for us in the medical colleges and the profession? We have debates on TV on the 'brain drain' of doctors to the West, even as those who stay behind look upon their profession as a 'moneyspinner', stick to the cities, and live splendidly on the steadily declining health of the community. Doctors are not primarily dealers' but 'professionals' who trade in their expertise and therefore go only where there is monetary demand and charge what the market will bear! Be- thune's story would question the very bases of such practice.


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