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

CasteSubscribe to Caste

State and Its Anxiety of Caste Census

Acknowledging the fact of caste through census reveals the truth of anxiety.

Conjoint Effects of Caste

This article attempts to extend studies on Ambedkar’s understanding of the nation state to include his concerns for the international. This is achieved by looking at the problem of caste inequality outside the borders of the Indian nation state and the latter’s response or the absence of response to such a pertinent issue. Via an analysis of political sovereignty, the social question, and Buddhism, we seek to demonstrate how Ambedkar reworks the connections between the national and the international on the common register of human equality.

Is Ambedkar’s Prejudice against ‘Tribe’ a Settled Matter?

A challenge is mounted against the widespread assumption that Ambedkar was prejudiced against “tribe,” by revealing acts of academic carelessness that occur in the writings of some scholars through the cherry-picking of quotes and failure to historically contextualise the same. Some such popular (mis)quotes and Ambedkar’s writings on tribe over a period of time are investigated, taking into account both their immediate and larger historical context, to argue that there are better ways to make sense of Ambedkar’s stance on the subject.

How Unstable Are the Sources of Livelihood?

This paper, based on the data from the annual Periodic Labour Force Survey, reflects on the lack of sustainable sources of livelihood and the phenomenon of multiple activities pursued simultaneously. A thorough analysis of the quarterly data suggests that in the rural areas, workers largely dependent on agriculture are compelled to shift to other activities in the off season. The nature of employment also varies, particularly in the urban areas. The occupational choice model estimated based on the quarterly data is indicative of changes in the marginal effect for workers of a given caste or an individual with a certain educational attainment. Certain social categories and workers with less educational attainments are more susceptible to changing probability of joining a particular activity and adopting multiple activities.

Navigating through Democracy

Politics of the Poor: Negotiating Democracy in Contemporary India by Indrajit Roy, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, New York, US, Melbourne, Australia; New Delhi and Singapore: 2018; pp xxi + 521, price not indicated.

Forking Paths

Sasheej Hegde is grateful to the authors Gopal Guru and Sundar Sarukkai for their lively participation in a symposium on the book organised by the Department of Sociology, University of Hyderabad on 3 March 2020, which also oversaw a critical input from Aseem Prakash of Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Hyderabad and Parthasarathi Muthukaruppan of English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad. The event was, fortunately, just before the COVID-19 disruption, although the latter explains largely the delay in our rendition. This paper also celebrates the over three decades of friendship between its two authors—and, even as it bears the brunt of a writing style intrinsic to one of them, the foray marks their shared interests and concerns, at once analytical, ethical and political (of the order of “maitri” as encapsulated in Experience, Caste, and the Everyday Social ).

Forking Paths

The attempt here is to think with, and systematically through, Gopal Guru and Sundar Sarukkai’s ambitious work, Experience, Caste, and the Everyday Social (2019). Addressing the two configurations of thought underlying the work—namely the focus on “sensing” as central to the conceptualisation of the social and the idea of “the everyday social”—the paper tries to capture the movement of the text and the conceptual manoeuvres underscoring it. The challenges for our attempt at theorising caste are highlighted, even as new pathways are forged for understanding the problem of caste in India.

History Matters

In enabling us to acknowledge differences, and developing skills of thinking and analysis, history matters.

March for Backwardness

Overviewing the historical trajectory of the demand for the reservations for Marathas, the background conditions for such demand are sought be explained. The nature of the agitation for reservations and the political response to the agitation are analysed.

Engaging with Isabel Wilkerson’s Idea of Race

A meditation on Isabel Wilkerson’s critique of race that proceeds through an overview of Wilkerson’s multiple agendas, observations about her arguments, with respect to race, and an analysis of the intertwining of systematised discrimination (knowledge) and legalised violence (force of law).

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