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

Reservations in IndiaSubscribe to Reservations in India

BJP and Reservations

The issue of reservation has more often than not formed an important electoral issue for every party, especially on election eve and the BJP has not been an exception to this. But its harping on the 'economically backward classes' has meant a complete about-turn from the politics of 'Kamandal vs Mandal' that it preached through most of the early 1990s.

Scheduled Castes and Tribes

The persistence of constitutionally sanctioned privileges to the scheduled castes and tribes by way of job reservations and preferential treatment in educational institutes beyond the period originally specified by the Constitution has divided Indians into two divisive camps - pro and anti reservationists. The latter argue that merit has often taken second place as a result of such policies that anyway benefit only a certain section, already privileged, among the disadvantaged. However, as data collated from various sources reveal, the SCs and STs continue to be poorly represented in government services and they score far lower than most other sections in several development indicators, chiefly literacy.

Other Backward Classes: Then and Now

Recent decades have marked a notable shift in the backward class movement marked by a move away from the clamour for kshatriya status towards a demand for greater access to state resources, representation in civic institutions and state recognition of numerous sub-caste identities that exist at a local level. With the issue of reservation acquiring a greater salience in electoral politics, however, the question remains whether the other backward classes as a category for public policy in contemporary India is still a measure for social and educational empowerment or has it dovetailed to a mere political trump card.

Caste and the Metropolitan University

In January the Hyderabad Central University (HCU) rusticated 10 dalit students and registered police complaints against them for resorting to violence on the campus. While the students were confined in a police lock-up for six days, several groups unsuccessfully attempted to persuade the university authorities to reconsider its decision. The Andhra Pradesh High Court has directed the university to take an immediate decision on the appeal filed by the students. What caused the incident and what is at stake in this conflict?

Oppression and Denial

Progressive legislation and constitutional safeguards have done little to rid the social order of the widespread evil of caste discrimination. As this paper argues, taboos imposed by tradition and belief still exert their stranglehold across most of India, impose social obligations and economic deprivation on several of those in the dalit category, and as borne out in surveys conducted across four Indian states.

Reservations within Reservations

The UP exercise of creating quotas among the backwards and the dalits may have been motivated by the election politics of the BJP trying to salvage its image in the state, but it nevertheless defines the new and important political trajectory that is likely to be drawn in other states, such as Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Punjab, as well. The articulation of the interests of the dalit sub-castes, progressively marginalised is to be expected.

Educational Inequalities among Scheduled Castes in Maharashtra

Despite a century old struggle for social and political reform and independence, literacy levels remain discouragingly low among substantial sections of the scheduled castes in Maharashtra. However, the rise in literacy rates has been marked by variations within the scheduled castes as borne out by census reports from 1961 onwards. The variations are based on levels of development, the migrancy factor and willingness to take on newer occupations, as well as traditions of hierarchy that continue to persist in the social system.

Moments in a History of Reservations

Though the subject of reservations has figured prominently in public debates ever since the recommendations of the Mandal Commission Report were sought to be implemented in 1991, there has been very little discussion by the beneficiaries of reservations. This paper looks at some of the more significant historical, constitutional and legal moments in the evolution of a reservations policy in India.

Caste Enumeration in Census

There is a belief that including caste data in census enumeration will perpetuate the caste system and deepen social divisions. In fact, not including caste data would perpetuate the injustice of the caste system because lack of data will render inefficient policy measure meant to help the weak.

Reservation Policy

J V Deshpande’s note on reservation policy (‘Reservation Policy: Real Issues’, EPW , April 29) is yet another instance of blaming the victims. The main thrust of his argument is that if the dalits and the minorities are not adequately represented in institutions of higher education, they, in their...

Constituent Assembly Debates and Minority Rights

The Constitution of India excludes religious minorities from the purview of group-preference provisions because the dominant nationalist opinion in the Constituent Assembly held that resort to such safeguards was legitimate only for enabling backward sections of the population to overcome their disabilities, not for facilitating the preservation of distinct cultural identities.

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