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

Electoral Politics and ReservationsSubscribe to Electoral Politics and Reservations

Why the Census Should Not Count Caste

A response to the article "The Politics of Not Counting Caste" (EPW, 19 June 2010) and the editorial "Why We Must Count Caste" (22 May) on caste in the 2011 Census, contesting the main arguments therein on the need to enumerate all castes during the enumeration.

Caste and Census: A Forward Looking Strategy

In modern India, vast quantities of research have documented caste-based inequalities in many dimensions of well-being. If these inequalities are not simply imagined but reflect social processes that deserve public policy attention, incorporating questions about caste in the census is imperative. However, there is a need to devise an accounting framework that has clarity of purpose since there are many complexities involved in collecting caste data.

Counting Castes: Advantage the Ruling Class

If castes are counted in the 2011 census, it will be the second biggest blow to the emancipation project of the oppressed, the first being the Mandal reservations.

The Politics of Not Counting Caste

In the debate on whether or not to count caste in the 2011 Census, there has been too little reflection on the implicit assumptions and analogies about both the census and caste that underpin the positions that have been taken. This article attempts to identify the major models that have been tacitly at work. Questioning the view that the status quo is benign or neutral, it argues that not counting caste has defeated the desire to transcend caste, and suggests that "caste blindness" be rejected in favour of a fresh beginning.

Why We Must Count Caste

A caste census is an occasion for collective reflection on the caste question.

Beyond Caste Voting: Modasa, Gujarat Revisited

The intensity and nature of caste sentiments have changed in the last four decades, and they have come to have a limited influence in voting behaviour. In the course of the political process, agglomerations of different jatis, sometimes even of unequal social status, have evolved a common political identity. But perceptions of identity, common interests and political preferences among the members are not monolithic or static. In Modasa, Gujarat, primordial sentiments of oneness and honour have transformed into "secular" economic interests. In the entrenched Hindutva setting, nourished by Narendra Modi, vikas (development) and governance were the central issues that influenced voters in the 2007 assembly elections.

Dalits, Praja Rajyam Party and Caste Politics in Andhra Pradesh

The formation of the Praja Rajyam Party in Andhra Pradesh has been received with conflicting attitudes and expectations by the two major dalit castes in the state. While the Malas embraced the party as the champion of social justice, the Madigas opposed it as the party of the Kapus. Rather than seeing the prp in these binary and oppositional lenses, it is necessary to view the party as a new choice for dalits. A brief history of caste politics in Andhra Pradesh is also undertaken in this essay.

Mayawati's Prospects

The article ‘On Judging Mayawati’ by Chittibabu Padavala (August 18) has highlighted some important problems facing Mayawati. Actually, what Mayawati is confronting is the powerful hegemony of neoliberalism.

Backward Caste Politics in Uttar Pradesh

The several political parties espousing the cause of the backwards in UP have played a part in reconfiguring the political agenda in the country and providing a platform for transformative politics. But on important issues, the performance of the backward movement in the state has been less than satisfactory. It has failed to address the issue of 'backward identity' and has been unable to develop a class politics.

Political Participation, Representation and the Urban Poor

In recent times, social scientists have noted the decline of state responsiveness to social claims. There appears an equal decline in the ability of existing structures of representation to provide poorer social groups influence over policy. On the other hand, there is also evidence of a crisis in popular representation in several low- and middle-income countries. Poorer social groups appear to have a limited capacity to present a reform agenda that addresses issues of basic rights and ensures livelihoods. To test this hypothesis, this paper studies sample communities in Delhi, representative of a broad cross section of the population. Through an analysis of the data collected, the study describes and explains patterns of political participation, focusing in particular on ways in which poorer social groups organise, obtain political representation and try to solve collective social problems. It appears, contrary to most expectations, that the needs and interest of poorer people are increasingly being met through the 'new politics' of social movements, the poor in particular still seek to represent themselves and to tackle their problems through political parties.

Reservation for Muslims

The move by the Andhra Pradesh government to reserve positions for backward Muslims in the state has been condemned by the right wing and the liberals alike. But the issue instead calls for a renewed debate on reservation.

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