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

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Demand for Scheduled Tribe Status by Koch-Rajbongshis

In the pre-independence period, the detribalisation process seemed to be a means for tribes to get rid of social exclusion. But, in post-independence India, there have been continuous demands by various communities for retribalisation. In the politics of Assam, the Koch-Rajbongshi community along with five other communities, namely Tai-Ahom, Moran, Matak, Chutia, and Adivasi (Tea-Tribe) is demanding the Scheduled Tribe status. The authenticity of the Koch-Rajbongshi community’s demand is analysed.

Social Stratification among Muslims

The article "Does Untouchability Exist among Muslims? Evidence from Uttar Pradesh" (EPW, 9 April 2016) fails at both the methodological and policy levels.

Religion and Scheduled Caste Status

The Supreme Court's judgment in the case of Mohammad Sadique carries disturbing implications for Muslim Dhobis, Dooms, Julahas, Mochis, etc, who face social disabilities similar to Hindu Dhobis, Dooms, Julahas, Mochis, etc, but are denied the same legal status. It seems to convey that the former could get the Scheduled Caste status provided they agree to convert to Hinduism, Sikhism or Buddhism. This judgment is in conflict with the basic tenets of the Constitution. There is thus an urgent need to review the relationship of religion and caste as assumed in the acts that deal with the question of the membership of SCs.

The Time of the Dalit Conversion

More than a reference to the mass conversion of dalits to Buddhism in 1956 and to other religions in subsequent years, "dalit conversion", in this article, also denotes their conversion to full citizenship that followed with the abolition of untouchability, institution of universal adult franchise, extension of legal and political rights to all sections of the population, with special safeguards for disadvantaged groups. It could also denote a conversion to the "modern" - signified by a certain sensibility, particular kinds of dress and comportment and particular rules of social and political engagement. The time of the dalit conversion is also then the time of Indian democracy â?? a time of definition, anticipation and struggle, as seen in the call to educate, organise and agitate.

Why Is Religious Conversion Controversial in India?

In Search of Identity – Debates on Religious Conversion in India by Sebastian C H Kim; Oxford University Press, Delhi, 2003; pp xi+250, Rs 525 (HB).
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