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Backward Classes in Tamil Nadu 1872-1988

P Radhakrishnan The evolution of backward classes lists in Tamil Nadu clearly shows that, far from being a creation of the Indian Constitution, these were created by the British administration, supported and sustained by missionary educationists. Understanding the emergence and growth of these lists is crucial for rationalising the present backward classes categories. For it is these lists, and not any other arrived at after proper enumeration, which have been used to fill the three backward classes categories envisaged by the Constitution. More importantly, their adoption for dispensation of the far-reaching special treatment provisions of the Constitution has in effect reduced the perception and practice of these provisions to a mere concessionist policy.

Reservations and Class Structure of Castes

of Castes THE upper caste 'backlash' (merely another word for a reactionary movement) against reservation is on and has given rise to yet another national debate on what should be the basis of reservation and for how long it should be continued.

TAMIL NADU-Ambasankar Commission and Backward Classes

TAMIL NADU Ambasankar Commission and Backward Classes P Radhakrishnan Under mounting pressures from the Vanniyars, the DMK ministry in Tamil Nadu announced in March the introduction of compartmental reservations by setting aside, out of the overall 50 per cent reservations, 20 per cent for the most backward classes and denotified communities. This announcement and the tabling of the Ambasankar Commission's report in the state assembly suggest that there is some hope for the real backward classes in the state.

Middle Class Politics Case of Anti-Reservation Agitations in Gujarat

Anti-Reservation Agitations in Gujarat Ghanshyam Shah The middle class has grown in size disproportionately with economic growth in Gujarat. While their aspirations have risen, They are unable to satisfy their needs and maintain the traditional status, and therefore experience a strong sense of deprivation. This is especially true of the upper and middle caste members who are jealous of the new entrants from the traditionally low castes. The two anti-reservation agitations in Gujarat were essentially struggles within the middle class

KARNATAKA- Fighting for Backwardness- Venkataswamy Commission Report and After

Fighting for Backwardness Venkataswamy Commission Report and After Janaki Nair THE recent decision of Karnataka's Janata government to include both the Lingayat and the Vokkaliga communities in the list of Backward Classes eligible for reservations in educational institutions and government jobs, and to maintain the total level of reservations at 68 per cent brings the history of the State's reservation policy full circle. Quite unlike the virulent opposition to the proposed increase in such reservations in States such as Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka's recent agitation consisted entirely of the clamour of practically all castes, including the Brahmins, for the privilege of being included in the list of Backward Classes, This fight for privileges began in the first quarter of this century with the emergence of the non-Brahmin movement and was essentially a conflict between elites, a tone not entirely absent from even the recent agitation. Sixty-five years ago, a commission under the chairmanship of Sir Leslie Miller, the Chief Judge of Mysore, had recommended the reservation of 75 per cent of all government jobs for Backward Classes, which included both the Lingayats and Vokkaligas.

Backwards All...

Backwards All... Romesh Thapar FRANKLY, and particularly after the penetration of the security system at Raj Ghat by a wayward character, I think the time has come for our dynamic PM, Rajiv Gandhi, to rouse himself for another 'instant' decision and use his massive parliamentary majority to carry a constitutional amendment to declare all the tribes, castes and communities of India as 'backwards', A dramatic move of this kind might save us from the violent agitations now surfacing to claim everything (including security!) on the basis of 'reservations

Karnataka- Commissions and Omissions

Karnataka Commissions and Omissions KARNATAKA Chief Minister Ramakrishna Hegde's decision to reject the Venkataswamy Commission report, while it may have been politically expedient, has contributed little towards resolving the issues being persistently raised not only in Karnataka but in other States as well. Not only has the State Government included the politically powerful Vokkaligas in the new list, but also the Lingayats who had been excluded by the earlier Havanur Commission. The Backward Special Group has been retained and the existing 15 per cent reservations on the basis of occupation and income limit has been brought down to five per cent. The new policy brings 92 per cent of the State's population under the income-based backward classes category while retaining the level of reservations at 68 per cent and will be in force for three years.

Protection and Inequality among Backward Groups

Backward Groups Uma Ramaswamy Although the Scheduled Castes have been considered a homogeneous group, they are internally differentiated in terms of occupation, numerical strength, geographical spread and ritual status. While the awareness of a shared status stands them in good stead vis-a-vis the upper castes, the traditional cleavages and rivalry within have shown no signs of attentuation. This paper examines the manner in which the Mala and the Madiga, the two major untouchable castes of Andhra, have progressed during the three decades of preferential treatment. Any policy of protection and preference which operates along an ascriptive principle will inevitably bring to the fore micro- cleavages even as it succeeds at the macro level, as it has done in the case of the Mala and Madiga, THE Government of India is constitutionally pledged to uplift the backward sections of society. Caste and tribe, the basic units of Indian social structure, have been used by the government as major criteria for identifying backwardness. Clusters of castes with seemingly similar socio-economic status came to be treated as backward for the purpose of preference in education, government employment and election to political office. The Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes are the three major backward categories selected as target groups for development. The state has naturally been concerned to motivate the members of these castes to take advantage of the benefits. Rules and regulations governing their distribution have been relaxed from time to time to ensure that they actually reach the target groups. During the initial stages when the response was poor, the wisdom of the policy came under question. But the picture today is far different. The Scheduled Castes, for example, are not only taking advantage of the benefits earmarked for them, but are conscious of their privileged status as constitutionally protected people (Ramaswamy 1984).' Yet, the very success of the policy has brought in its wake a new set of problems. While, on the one hand, protectionism attempts to moderate the inequality between the Scheduled Castes and the rest, on the other hand it has engendered inequality among the Scheduled Castes themselves. The exploitation of benefits by some sections of these castes has pushed to the fore the differences rather than the uniformities among them. Obviously, it was not envisaged that some castes may be better placed to take advantage of the benefits than others. It was assumed that groups identified as backward have a measure of homogeneity in terms of their socio-economic characteristics. There was insufficient recognition of the fact that this homogeneity is only relative, that the Scheduled Castes could have a lot in common in relation to the upper castes and yet be differentiated amongst themselves. For its part, the administration which was under pressure to show results readily catered to those segments which aggressively exploited the opportunity. Under these conditions, it was but natural that the more advanced segments would take greater advantage of the benefits and steadily enhance the cleavage within the Scheduled Castes.

Scheduled Caste and Tribe Students in Higher Education-A Study of an IIT

Scheduled Caste and Tribe Students in Higher Education A Study of an IIT Viney Kirpal Nalini Swamidasan Amitabha Gupta Raj K Gupta This paper presents the results of a study, the third in a series, of academic and social adjustment of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students in the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay Section I of the paper traces the relationship between the backgrounds of SC/ST students and their academic performance, while section II focuses on the two main problem areas for these students. The recommendations of the study are set out in the final section.

Scheduled Castes and Tribes- The Left s Lost Role

pressures than say the removal of Solanki that might lead the anti-reservationists to withdraw their stir. Possibly they might even come to an agreement with the government. But such agreements will at best be temporary. Electoral compulsions are likely to push the Congress(I) government into granting fresh concessions to the backward castes, which might again provoke the upper castes to take to the streets.

Caste, Class and Reservations-(In Memoriam I P Desai)

Caste, Class and Reservations (In Memoriam: I P Desai) Upendra Baxi I P DESAI (IP) passed away on January 26, 1985. His contribution on this theme (EPW, July 14, 1984) was thus to be a last one. But it had all the qualities of IP's exemplary scholarship: clarity of thought, meticulous grasp of detail, obstinate insight, a vision of India and unusual generosity to colleagues with whose views he disagreed. It is characteristic of IP that he should have invited, not just anticipated, Ghanshyam Shah's (GS) response, which appeared close to his demise (EPW, January 17, 1985).

Reservation-An Election Event

Reservation An Election Event THE timing of the current anti- reservation agitations in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat is not unexpected. Reservation of seats in professional educational institutions and/or in government jobs on a caste basis is a device used by ruling parties to expand and consolidate their support bases on the eve of elections. And invariably the move leads the higher castes to take to the street s in protest. Three months ago, just prior to the Lok Sabha poll, the MP government announced reservation of 25 per cent of the seats in professional colleges and government service for 'backward classes'. More recently, just before the impending election to the state legislatures, the Gujarat government also raised the proportion of reserved seats in professional colleges and government service from 10 to 25 per cent. These reservations are in addition to t hose already in existence for Scheduled Cartes and Tribes, freedom fighters. evservicemen, and so on.


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