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

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Trade Unions in Banks Remain Relevant

“Are Trade Unions Relevant in the Indian Banking Sector?” by Bino Paul G D and Pooja Gupta Mahurkar (EPW, 16 April 2016) contains surmises and generalisations without verifiable supporting data, apart from glaring contradictions. Further, it does not address the current challenges before bank unions.

Clean India, Unclean Indians Beyond the Bhim Yatra

The Safai Karamchari Andolan traversed 500 districts of the country with the message "stop killing us." The participants, manual scavengers who clean dry latrines, sewers and septic tanks, are forced to carry on this dehumanising work despite laws against it. Will the Swachh Bharat campaign succeed in addressing the issues connected with manual scavenging?

Migration, Bachelorhood and Discontent among the Patidars

Juxtaposing data collected in the 1950s with data from 2013, this paper describes some of the consequences of a crisis of agriculture in India as a crisis of values and aspirations. Among a relatively prosperous Patidar community in western India, agriculture continues to be economically remunerative while farmers are considered poor. Instead, the ability to secure a job away from land, to move out of the village and possibly overseas have come to constitute new markers of status in a traditionally competitive society. The paper departs from common representations of the caste as an upwardly mobile and successful group, and focuses instead on the discontent and on those who try to achieve the new values of the caste, but fail. As a consequence of failure it shows how Patidars recur to what, from an outsider's point of view, may seem paradoxical: in order to "move up" and participate in the culture and economy of the caste, they have to "move down." In this respect, the paper also contributes to understanding the unevenness of India's growth and the contrary trends that work both to strengthen and weaken caste identity.

Village Restudies

An account of the inception, management and initial conclusions of a research project which "restudied" three villages, one each in Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat is presented. These villages had been first studied in the 1950s by British anthropologists F G Bailey, Adrian C Mayer and David F Pocock. The new research was to focus on the sociological conditions of life in these villages today and compare the results of the new surveys with the data from the 1950s. The material presented here also points to some of the strengths, weaknesses and idiosyncratic charms of "restudies."

Revisiting the Rural in 21st Century India

The Review of Rural Affairs this time focuses largely on "restudies" of villages that were studied by social anthropologists and economists in the 1950s. The papers are not simply about documenting the unfolding evolutionary process of development, but bring new perspectives of social science understanding to the study of rural society, and also reflect on the enterprise of anthropology and fieldwork. Jamgod in Madhya Pradesh, Sundarana in Gujarat, Bisipara in Odisha, and Palanpur and Khanpur in Uttar Pradesh were restudied, while one paper presents the results of a fresh study of villages in Nagaland.

How Egalitarian Is Indian Sociology?

Even after completing a hundred years Indian sociology is practised in the milieu of domination. British, European and American domination has been well documented while the domination of the so-called twice-born castes has not been analysed. This article highlights the domination of the twice-born castes at four levels--as members practising sociology in universities, institutions and colleges, in the sphere of production of knowledge while writing chapters of books, producing knowledge with the help of scriptural sources, or producing data from the field and while teaching sociology in the classrooms.

Studying Childhood in India

A look at the various ideas of childhood that have been dominant in India over the past century or so, and what they mean for parenting, pedagogy and politics in the new century.

Scavenging for the State

A study of sewage workers and toilet cleaners employed with the Pune Municipal Corporation shows how solid waste management is narrowly focused on dry latrine cleaning. One needs to urgently reform solid waste management system and improve the working conditions of people who are employed in cleaning our cities.

Dalit Politics in India

Dalit political parties in North and Central India have overwhelmingly pursued an agenda of recognition, calling for equal respect, rather than one of redistribution. While this has improved the social and economic standing of Dalits better situated in terms of class, it has failed to substantively improve the lives of the majority of Dalits. Ultimately, Dalits' quest for equal treatment will be limited so long as it lacks a redistributive politics that addresses exploitative economic relations.

The Pariahs and Missionaries of South India

The Pariah Problem: Caste, Religion and the Social in Modern India Delhi: Navayana, 2015 (First published by Columbia University Press, 2014), pp 396 , ₹ 495. Modernity of Slavery: Struggles against Caste Inequality in Colonial Kerala by P Sanal Mohan, Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2015; pp 368, ₹ 1,195.

Students Fight Discrimination

The students of the University of Hyderabad have passed a resolution unanimously at their Students' Union's general body meeting on 12 April 2016 demanding a Committee Against Prejudice and Discrimination on campus. This committee is seen as a way to institutionalise their struggle against prejudice and discrimination, which saw an intensification in the past few months. This proposed CAPD will comprise all sections of the university community and will focus on redressing complaints of prejudicial treatment and discrimination within campus. Modelled on the anti-sexual harrassment committee, it is also expected to create awareness about overt and covert forms of discrimination and prejudice.

Gender Inequality in Well-being in India

This article proposes to measure functioning-based well-being, as proposed by Amartya Sen and others, for 28 states in India based on National Family Health Survey 3 (2005-06) data. Significant differences between states were found in terms of well-being and wealth indices. Overall, women were found to be far behind men in terms of well-being. The well-being of women was found to decline with age and when they were in larger families, unlike men. While upper-caste women were not found to be doing significantly better than Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe women, upper-caste men were better off. And the women in the northern mountainous regions were found to be doing better than women in the Indo-Gangetic plains. However, the well-being of both men and women was found to be significantly related to the wealth they possessed.

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