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Dominant or Backward?

Using data from the India Human Development Survey, this paper examines the demands of Jats (Haryana), Patels (Gujarat), and Marathas (Maharashtra) to be classified as Other Backward Classes to access reservations. Compared to the major caste groups (Brahmins, other forward castes, existing OBCs, and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) in their respective states, based on several socio-economic factors, they are closer to dominant than disadvantaged groups. Their claim to backwardness is empirically unjustified. The paper examines the material basis of their anxieties in the context of structural changes in the Indian agricultural economy. It investigates networks and political connections that explain their success in mobilising.

Addressing Caste Prejudice

“Oh...you will get a job, because you are an SC,” I used to hear this from my neighbours from the Other Backward Classes (OBC), Thiyya castes. Some used to treat us “lower” than them. “Oh you people get stipend, so you can study” is another sentence Dalits used to hear from anywhere in Kerala. OBC...

Stooping to Conquer

The demand for reservation by Jats has grown stronger in the past four months. Does this demand reflect the changing political economy of rural Haryana? A historical analysis.

Fair Representation of SCs/STs

As we have progressed, various caste groups have agitated for their share in reserved quotas either as Other Backward Classes or Extremely Backward Classes. We have seen violent conflicts and social unrest over this issue. However, recent developments and statements by certain actors, and the...

Safai Karmis of Uttar Pradesh

A study of the operation of the Safai Karmi Scheme of the Uttar Pradesh government reveals the apparent weakening of the age-old link between caste and occupation, with Other Backward Classes and even upper castes competing with Scheduled Castes to secure the job of a sanitation worker in villages. Another significant fact which comes to the fore, is the struggle for power in the safai karmi unions between OBC and the numerically superior SC workers, with the former trying to establish their dominance, reflecting the nature of caste politics at play in the state.

'Representation' of OBCs in Higher Education

This article is a response to Jaya Goyal and D P Singh's "Academic Performance of OBC Students in Universities: Findings from Three States" (EPW, 1 February 2014). It challenges the claim that the Other Backward Classes are not under-represented in education and also the attempt to redefine representation as understood within the context of reservation policies. The author was also a part of the study on which Goyal and Singh based their article.

The Politics of Reservation Categories in Uttar Pradesh

Some of the Other Backward Classes in Uttar Pradesh want to be classified as scheduled castes, while some of the latter want to be reclassified as scheduled tribes. Despite the politics behind these demands, most of the castes demanding reclassification have good reason to feel that the benefits of reservation have passed them by. It is the invisibility of the numerically small castes with little education and no voice that has to be ended before the fruits of development can reach them.

Reservation for Marathas?

The Other Backward Classes of Maharashtra are concerned that if the Maratha community is given reservation then the OBCs will be edged out.

Why Jat Reservations?

Instead of the image of a prosperous and dominant community, the Jats of Uttar Pradesh have socio-economic indices comparable to Other Backward Classes like the Yadavas and Gujjars. The recent protest by Jats in Uttar Pradesh asking for OBC classification and reservations in government jobs is driven by the extended government neglect of their backwardness.

Discrimination in an Elite Labour Market? Job Placements at IIM-Ahmedabad

Using data on the iim -Ahmedabad's 2006 batch of mba graduates, we find that graduates belonging to scheduled castes or scheduled tribes get significantly lower wages (19 per cent lower in domestic jobs and 35 per cent lower when foreign jobs are included) than those in the general category. This difference disappears once their lower Grade Point Averages are taken into account, suggesting that the large wage difference is due to the weaker (on average) academic performance of sc/st candidates. The study suggests that in the absence of any serious attempt to equalise school-level opportunities, the current policy of reservations at elite educational institutions will be insufficient to equalise career outcomes even for the minority of sc/st candidates who can benefit from them.

After the OBC Judgment

It is now time to interrogate orthodoxies on both sides of the reservations debate.

Backward Castes Census: An Outmoded Idea

While backward castes need to be profiled, the census is not the best method to do so. For, objective data is difficult to come by due to the concept of caste changing according to the context and the impossibility of enumerating small but significant changes when attempting to take a large, overall picture.

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