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

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Dominant or Backward?

Using data from the India Human Development Survey, this paper examines the demands of Jats (Haryana), Patels (Gujarat), and Marathas (Maharashtra) to be classified as Other Backward Classes to access reservations. Compared to the major caste groups (Brahmins, other forward castes, existing OBCs, and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) in their respective states, based on several socio-economic factors, they are closer to dominant than disadvantaged groups. Their claim to backwardness is empirically unjustified. The paper examines the material basis of their anxieties in the context of structural changes in the Indian agricultural economy. It investigates networks and political connections that explain their success in mobilising.

Safai Karamcharis in a Vicious Cycle

A study of 360 safai karamcharis employed with the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai suggests that policies aimed at uplifting conservancy work may actually be institutionalising caste-based occupations. This article describes the situation that keeps generations of safai karamcharis in this occupation, and recommends practical solutions to break the vicious cycle.

Robbing Rohith of His Dalitness

The basic question that the Rohith Vemula case raises is about the existence of the rule of law in India. If his mother Radhika Vemula was rich, there would have been no issue about Rohith’s caste and all people named in the FIR for abetting his suicide would have been in jail. But her fault is that she lived off the pittance that Rohith sent her from his paltry fellowship!

Caste, Contemporaneity and Assertion

This article is in response to the opinions and views expressed in the “Caste and Class” special (EPW, 19 November 2016). An evolutionary and historical method has not helped us to understand the caste system and its exploitative nature in its entirety. Therefore, we need to analyse it from a new perspective which can explain the caste system by critically looking at assertion of both, the so-called upper castes and Dalits together.

The 'Silence' of the Marathas

The signals of the silent Maratha morchas are loud; the Maharashtra government must act.

Scavenging for the State

A study of sewage workers and toilet cleaners employed with the Pune Municipal Corporation shows how solid waste management is narrowly focused on dry latrine cleaning. One needs to urgently reform solid waste management system and improve the working conditions of people who are employed in cleaning our cities.

Addressing Caste Prejudice

“Oh...you will get a job, because you are an SC,” I used to hear this from my neighbours from the Other Backward Classes (OBC), Thiyya castes. Some used to treat us “lower” than them. “Oh you people get stipend, so you can study” is another sentence Dalits used to hear from anywhere in Kerala. OBC...

Manual Scavenging Must End

Manual scavenging is a caste-based occupation wherein certain sub-castes of Dalits are condemned to manually clean, carry, dispose or handle human excreta from dry latrines and sewers. Though it has been constitutionally banned for more than 20 years now, it is still widely prevalent in the country...

An Open Letter to Smriti Irani

Thanks to your stunning performance, we, faculty members of the University of Hyderabad, are compelled to do what we should have done in the past month or so, but could not bring ourselves to—write about Rohith Vemula, write about our other students, write about the state of academics, write about...

On the Ambedkar–Gandhi Debate

In response to the discussions around Arundhati Roy’s introduction to B R Ambedkar’s Annihilation of Caste, this article draws on Ambedkar’s views on caste in government policy to reiterate his continuing relevance today.

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