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Reservation Policy : Real Issues

Real Issues J V Deshpande writes: Some of the assertions in the note on reservation policy (

Economic and Caste Criteria in Definition of Backwardness

While the NFHS was conducted with the primary objective of collecting data on reproductive status, it has generated considerable data on caste and economic conditions. An analysis of this data set shows that there are wide differentials in the economic conditions of the socially backward castes and classes. This raises vital questions on the role and relevance of caste-based privileges.

Dalit Assertion through Electoral Politics

The post-independence period has seen democratic institutions gaining greater legitimacy among the scheduled castes, who having grown conscious of their numerical strength in electoral arena, are exercising their voting right more forthrightly. This has liberated them from the role of passive voter-supporter in the overall environment of subjugation and subordination, to actively shifting their traditional party loyalties in favour of new parties espousing their interests. If the SCs in varying degrees have deserted the Congress, in various states, the growing class differentiation amongst them has resulted in the lower class dalits opting for exclusively SC-based parties like the BSP, the Left Front or the left-of-the centre regional parties. Yet, as the CSDS survey shows, though political institutions of Indian democracy have gained support of the SCs, there has been a erosion of their confidence in the political parties. This alarmingly signals that the support extended by the dalits to the parliamentary system should not be taken for granted.

Dialectics of Caste and Casteism

Dialectics of Caste and Casteism C P Bhambhri POLITICAL parties and intellectuals of every theoretical and ideological persuasion have to grapple with the changing dynamics of Indian caste system and Javeed Alam in his

Is Caste Appeal Casteism?

Among the oppressed the appeal to caste is for unification of similar 'jatis' into larger collectivities and political mobilisation for power so as to subvert the very relations of the 'varna' order. Caste appeal here is, therefore, far from being casteism. On the other hand, the self-perceived transcendence of the traditionally hegemonic middle class from caste consciousness has rapidly collapsed in the last decade. There has been a steady decomposition of the consciousness of the middle class into articulated caste interests of brahmins, thakurs and so on. Within the Muslim communities there has been a shift away from concerns of security to those of equality and dignity - a politics in affinity to that of the dalits and the OBCs for recognition. They are therefore no more a vote bank; it is a case of alignment of interests of a secular nature, a social coalition of oppressed forces. This fusion of opposite tendencies and intercession of contrary forces has rendered the process of democratisation more and more complicated so that simple judgments become one-sided and are a sure source of misunderstanding.

Emergence of Backward Castes in South Telengana

Studies of two villages from Telengana, Andhra Pradesh, tell us a story of the emergence of backward castes in local politics. These unirrigated villages have not seen green revolution or any improvement in agricultural technology, which has prevented the strengthening of earlier class/caste power structure. It has allowed backward castes to improve their position socially and also in landownership.

Tamil Nadu : New Caste Equations

The new political equation emerging in Tamil Nadu is, thus, informed by two contradictory tendencies. While the dalits' alignment with the Muslims is problematising the Hindutva's agenda of co-opting the dalits as Hindus, the anti-Muslim politics of the backward caste thevars is making available a new territory for Hindu communal mobilisation. The future course of politics in Tamil Nadu may depend critically on which of these trends will assert.

Backward Classes and the Census-Putting the Record Straight

record straight, (I) In view of the constitutional commitment of having a list of socially and educationally backward classes, the 1951 Census had made a limited castewise enumeration apart from that relating to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.1 Some of the states were already having a list of educationally backward castes and comunities, apart from the SC and ST, Besides, a list of obviously so-called advanced castes like the brahman, kayastha and rajput was prepared. The census enumerators were instructed not to record the caste names of persons belonging to the latter categories but to record others. Thus a large number of castes were enumerated. But the data were not published. These were made available to the first Backward Classes Commission. The report of the commission makes a mention of this fact. I had a personal set. I made the same available to the second Backward Classes Commission, as chairman of the Technical Advisory Committee of the commission, but the commission did not use these data and took a dishonest course, in protest against which I dissociated myself from the commission and later made a public statement. To avoid misunderstanding I should make it clear that I am fully committed to reservation for SC, ST and OBC and to affirmative action for minorities. In 1991,I informed Vinod Pande, the then secretary, Interstate Council, about this source of information. I think a friend I know has a set. Even without enumeration of castewise data during the 2001 Census, most of the requisite information can be obtained by an acceptable method of projection of 1951 and earlier census data.

Caste and the Census-Implications for Society and the Social Sciences

criterion of mere seniority, such as longer duration of the incumbent in office of the chief justice, the action of not appointing the seniormost judge would not have looked like supersession.

Should Caste Be Included in the Census

the Census? Ambrose Pinto IS casteism the bane of Indian society? The general impression is that there is too much of casteism in India. Whether it is a question of politics, education, urban or rural development allocation of resources for various sectors, caste comes to play a major role. That is why several social scientists and politicians have suggested that the only way of getting rid of caste in Indian society is by rejecting caste outright. Many others hold that instead of making caste the criterion, we should adapt the class or economic factor. Therefore caste should not be included in the census

Positive Discrimination and the Question of Fraternity-Contrasting Ambedkar and Mandal on Reservations

The divergences between Ambedkar and Mandal on their respective reservation policies are significant It is not just that Ambedkar's programme envisions the removal of untouchability and with it the undermining of the caste system in public life, but it is also about creating assets among those who have none. This is what brings the moral imperatives of fraternity to the forefront. The assets of the better off are put in the collective pool so that socially valuable assets may be created in sites where there were none. This measure has a moral resonance, for out of this collective pooling new assets are being created. Reservations in the Mandal scheme lack this moral quality. The targeted beneficiaries of Mandal are quite plainly not without socially valuable assets. Further, they are unwilling to merge their existing tangible assets into the collective pool as their express purpose is to convert one kind of asset into another. Caste in the case of the Mandal Commission is an important political resource to be plumbed in perpetuity. The Mandal programme, therefore, is not in the spirit of enlarging fraternity, as the Ambedkar proposals are.


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