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

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Right to Contest

All progressive forces need to come together to roll back the recent moves by the Bharatiya Janata Party Governments of Rajasthan and Haryana to curtail the right to contest elections through arbitrary and restrictive criteria. Parliament has just passed an amendment to the President's address reiterating the fundamental right to contest elections. This is a battle for India's democracy.

Undone by Its Own Mistakes

In the 2015 Bihar elections, Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies led at the outset but lost badly to the Grand Alliance when votes were counted. The familiar themes of caste and development--along with governance, class alignments, the reservations issue, and communal polarisation--were all important, but the mishandling of them by BJP leaders turned them to their rivals' advantage. The BJP campaign suffered from the over-centralisation of power in the hands of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. A detailed account, based on fieldwork and interviews with those on the ground, explains how BJP lost in Bihar.

Dalit Question in the Upcoming West Bengal Assembly Elections

Suppressed for long, autonomous Dalit politics is finding its voice in West Bengal through the organisational strength of the Matua Mahasangha. This article takes a look at the recent developments in this organisation and how it is projecting Dalit demands in the run-up to the coming legislative assembly elections in the state.

Removing Discrimination in Universities

How can we create just and non-discriminatory spaces in universities when the discriminatory practices are not obvious and apparent? The author suggests two ways—reporting and addressing indirect discrimination and a periodic discrimination audit of educational institutions.

Caste Discrimination in Relief

A fact finding committee on the impact of floods and relief work in Viluppuram and Cuddalore district in Tamil Nadu finds that Dalits are discriminated against when it comes to distribution of relief material and allocation of funds.

Caste in a Casteless Language?

This paper focuses on a new archive of dalit writing in English translation. The "archive" has a forced homogeneity imposed by the term "dalit", which embraces an urban middle-class dalit and a member of a scavenger caste; the homogeneity is consolidated by the fact that the translated texts are in an international language. The questions asked concern the relationship between caste and the English language, two phenomena that represent considerably antithetical signs. Dalit writers accept English as a target language, despite the fact that local realities and registers of caste are difficult to couch in a language that has no memory of caste. The discussion shows how English promises to dalit writers (as both individuals and representatives of communities) agency, articulation, recognition and justice. The paper draws attention to the multiplicity of contexts that make writing by dalits part of a literary public sphere in India, and contribute to our thinking about caste issues in the context of human rights.

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.

Uttar Pradesh: Politics of Change

Whenever in government the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has been able to initiate the kind of structural changes that have engendered a qualitative improvement in the lives of the dalits. This has generated a stable support base for the party election after election.

Child Labour and Food Security

Coming to Grips with Rural Child Work. A Food Security Approach by Rira Ramachandran and Lionel Massun (editors); Institute for Human Development, New Delhi, 2002 ; pp 468, Rs 750.

Himachal Pradesh: Appropriating Images from Village Life

Social and economic relations are often structured around long prevailing traditions or the 'culture' of a region. In a rapidly globalising world, such traditions are under threat as the momentum for greater homogenisation of culture builds up. This essay looks at three villages, diversely populated, whose lives are essentially built around traditions surrounding the local deity. It is such little traditions that reinforce subsistence among the population that are now increasingly under threat.

Scheduled Castes in Sikh Community

An understanding of the distinctive caste hierarchy in Sikhism and the new pattern of competing hierarchies, parallel to that of the Hindus, calls for insights into the dynamics of political power and economic relations both at the local and regional levels. This paper aims at exploring the trade-off between the doctrinal principles of Sikh religion and the ruling social and political interests in the context of changes in the society and economy of Punjab.

A Dalit's Caste

If the law does not just mean fixity of rules but also capacity to dispense justice, can patrilineality be a fair and sufficient ground for pronouncing judgment on a caste identity?

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