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

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Reservations and the Return to Politics

The history of reservations in India shows it to have been an instrument of governance, a mechanism for social and political representation, rather than a way of achieving social justice. A return to the foundational moment of the modern Indian nation state to examine the conditions of possibility of political self-constitution that prevailed then will set us on the right track to an understanding of the political role that reservations have played and continue to play in a polity that is divided.

Debating Dalit Emancipation

Dalits in Modern India: Vision and Values (second edition) edited by S M Michael;

Dalit Christians: Betrayed by State and Church

Dalits who have converted to Christianity find that not only are the benefits of reservation not extended to them in contravention of constitutional provisions but even the church and the non-dalit Christian community actively discriminate against them.

Caste, Courts and Reservations

By staying the operation of the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act 2006, the Supreme Court has ensured that “elite” central institutions of higher learning such as the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) remain elitist...

On Backwardness and Fair Access to Higher Education

Against the backdrop of the policy of reservation of seats in higher education for the Other Backward Classes in India, this paper examines two inter-related yet distinct issues: (i) the use of economic criteria for assessing the backwardness of different social groups, and (ii) assessment of fairness of access to higher education of an identified "backward" social group. On an analysis of the NSS 55th round surveys for 1999-2000 we show that, on a range of economic criteria, there is a clear hierarchy across (essentially) caste-based social groups, with the scheduled castes (in urban India) and the scheduled tribes (in rural India) at the bottom, the OBCs in the middle, and the non-SC/ST "Others" at the top. However, for the poor among them, there is more of a continuum across caste-groups, with surprisingly small differences between the OBCs and the non-SC/ST Others. It is also shown that for the OBCs as a group, and especially for over 70 per cent of them who are above the poverty line, the extent of their under-representation in enrolments at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels is less than 5 per cent. Therefore, a 27 per cent quota for the OBCs, which would effectively raise their share in enrolments to over 50 per cent when their share in the eligible population is 30 per cent or less, is totally unjustified.

Kherlanji: Caste Violence

Caste Violence On most maps, Kherlanji or as its name has been otherwise spelt, Khairlanji, located in Maharashtra

Redesigning Affirmative Action

Arguing for better policy design in affirmative action, this paper presents an illustrative model of a feasible alternative to caste quotas. The proposed model is evidence-based, addresses multiple sources of group and individual disadvantage (caste, region, gender and rural/urban residence), as well as interaction effects and degrees of disadvantage. Such an approach allows us to demonstrate that affirmative action is not about "appeasement" but about eliminating sources of tangible disadvantage in our unequal society.

Caste and Dalit Emancipation

Emancipation Dr Ambedkar and Untouchability: Analysing and Fighting Caste by Christophe Jaffrelot; Permanent Black, India, 2005; JANGAM CHINNAIAH The genre of biography and autobiography is yet to make a mark or be accepted by itself as a legitimate source within the modern Indian historical canon. Also, the (auto) biographies written so far have been confined to caste Hindu nationalist leaders. Significantly, the monopoly of the Congress Party over the nationalist politics did not allow any other personalities from other parties to grow as alternative figures. Because of this reason, the known biographies in modern India are mostly of caste Hindu leaders who belonged to the Congress such as Gandhi, Nehru, Tilak, Subash Chandra Bose, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan among others. Interestingly all these personalities hail from privileged caste Hindu backgrounds; this is not just a coincidence, rather a manifestation of the very nature of hierarchical caste society. In the politics of nationalism, caste Hindu nationalist leaders were projected as the sole makers of the modern Indian nation and nationalism. All other alternative articulations were discounted and even despised and condemned as

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.

Reservations and Casteism

The growth of caste consciousness has hurt the development of progressive social consciousness among the oppressed and exploited millions of the labouring classes because caste ideology has made workers casteists and not fighters for secular anti-poverty programmes.

Reservation and Efficiency

The corporate sector needs to keep in mind that anti-discrimination measures like reservation are needed for growth as much as equity. It is necessary to emphasise that anti-discrimination policies will not only provide fair and non-discriminatory access to historically excluded and discriminated groups like the dalits, but simultaneously remove constraints imposed by caste discrimination on labour markets, and thereby induce competitiveness and economic growth.

Implications of Reservations in Private Sector

The proposal to extend reservations to the private sector has generated mixed reactions. The private sector is divided on the idea. The issue may go yet again to the Supreme Court. The implications of the proposal could be that labour productivity in the private sector may decline, the undeserving among the SC/STs and OBCs may get most of the benefits as they have managed to in the public sector in the past and for the really marginalised SC/STs reservations may not mean much as they are not equipped to avail of the benefits.

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