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

Articles by Abhay DatarSubscribe to Abhay Datar

Defining Backwardness

Various communities across the country have been demanding reservation on the basis of their social backwardness. The notion of “backwardness” seems to have attached itself to a given caste’s “position” or “status” in the traditional Hindu caste hierarchy. This is inevitable since the Constitution talks of social backwardness, in addition to educational backwardness. But as this paper argues in the debates over “backwardness” in the Marathi-speaking areas of the Bombay Presidency in the colonial period it was educational backwardness that was regarded as the primary criterion to determine whether a caste was backward or not, while in the early years of Maharashtra in the post-1947 period the criterion was primarily economic. Social backwardness was not regarded as a defining criterion, and thus can be considered as a recent entrant into the entire debate of defining the “backward.” Also, discussions on whether a community would cease to be backward if it fulfils certain conditions are practically missing in the present time.

Maharashtra 2014 - A Two-and-a-Half Horse Race

The Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navanirman Sena is once again set to determine the electoral outcome in the Lok Sabha elections this year in Maharashtra. The Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance should be concerned, as the MNS polarised the votes, both in the Lok Sabha and assembly elections, in the state in 2009 to benefit the Congress-NCP combine. 

Maharashtra Cabinets

The politics of Maharashtra has long been characterised by the domination of the Maratha community. A few studies have tried to quantify this domination by mapping the social and caste profi le of the members of the state legislative assembly. This article analyses the composition of selected state cabinets from 1960 to argue that while Maratha dominance has remained intact, it has acquired a sharp regional profi le, with power being increasingly concentrated in the hands of Maratha political leaders from western Maharashtra.

The Lucknow Pact of 1916

The Congress-Muslim League Lucknow Pact of 1916 can easily be considered an important landmark during the nationalist movement in India. The Congress leaders agreed to the pact in the expectation that the executive-legislature relationship in the package of constitutional reforms would essentially be a continuation of the Morley-Minto reforms. But the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms, when announced, revealed that the nature of this relationship would be significantly different, leading the Congress leaders to oppose the pact and to the acceptance of communal electorates for the Muslims that it entailed, before the Southborough Committee. The pact also contained significant omissions and ambiguities which led to divergent interpretations on crucial provisions.

Assembly Elections in Delhi

The recent Delhi assembly elections witnessed several close campaigns between the two major parties, Congress and BJP. While votes were cast in terms of caste, community and age preferences, the Congress won because of the development-oriented administration of the incumbent Dixit government.

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