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

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Misreading Hierarchy and the Illusion of Numbers

Caste and Electoral Outcomes

Understanding the relation of caste and electoral outcomes merely in terms of arithmetic runs is fundamentally fallacious. It fails to factor in the element of mutual repulsion among castes and the multiplicity of hierarchies. Shift from caste as a system to caste as an identity makes caste-arithmetic explanations of election results all the more questionable.

India has 900 million voters and yet it has successfully pulled off elections for seven decades. The world commends India as it should, for conducting this massive event in a generally peaceful and orderly fashion. Routinely also, scholars and pundits lick their pencils and dash off pieces on how castes impact voting behaviour.

India is probably the most stratified society in the world and, to top it all, it also has caste, that ultimate social curio, which no society anywhere else has. This is what makes otherwise cautious people become captives of an exotic frame of mind. It is this that distorts our understanding of the relationship between caste and politics.

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Updated On : 24th Apr, 2020

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