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

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Caste, Class and Politics in West Bengal

This study analyses the interrelationships between caste, class and politics in a village in West Bengal and looks into the reasons for the relative absence of the rural proletariat in the political process. This relationship has been drawn both at the level of the panchayat raj institutions and the organisational structure of the dominant political party in the village.

Caste Discrimination and UN

The United Nations Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination, concluding its discussion on descent-based discrimination, strongly condemned caste practice in south Asia. This describes a new framework for moving towards the elimination of caste-based, descent-based discrimination.

Caste and the Metropolitan University

In January the Hyderabad Central University (HCU) rusticated 10 dalit students and registered police complaints against them for resorting to violence on the campus. While the students were confined in a police lock-up for six days, several groups unsuccessfully attempted to persuade the university authorities to reconsider its decision. The Andhra Pradesh High Court has directed the university to take an immediate decision on the appeal filed by the students. What caused the incident and what is at stake in this conflict?

Oppression and Denial

Progressive legislation and constitutional safeguards have done little to rid the social order of the widespread evil of caste discrimination. As this paper argues, taboos imposed by tradition and belief still exert their stranglehold across most of India, impose social obligations and economic deprivation on several of those in the dalit category, and as borne out in surveys conducted across four Indian states.

Dialectics of Caste and Casteism

Dialectics of Caste and Casteism C P Bhambhri POLITICAL parties and intellectuals of every theoretical and ideological persuasion have to grapple with the changing dynamics of Indian caste system and Javeed Alam in his

Dalit Assertion through Electoral Politics

The post-independence period has seen democratic institutions gaining greater legitimacy among the scheduled castes, who having grown conscious of their numerical strength in electoral arena, are exercising their voting right more forthrightly. This has liberated them from the role of passive voter-supporter in the overall environment of subjugation and subordination, to actively shifting their traditional party loyalties in favour of new parties espousing their interests. If the SCs in varying degrees have deserted the Congress, in various states, the growing class differentiation amongst them has resulted in the lower class dalits opting for exclusively SC-based parties like the BSP, the Left Front or the left-of-the centre regional parties. Yet, as the CSDS survey shows, though political institutions of Indian democracy have gained support of the SCs, there has been a erosion of their confidence in the political parties. This alarmingly signals that the support extended by the dalits to the parliamentary system should not be taken for granted.

Is Caste Appeal Casteism?

Among the oppressed the appeal to caste is for unification of similar 'jatis' into larger collectivities and political mobilisation for power so as to subvert the very relations of the 'varna' order. Caste appeal here is, therefore, far from being casteism. On the other hand, the self-perceived transcendence of the traditionally hegemonic middle class from caste consciousness has rapidly collapsed in the last decade. There has been a steady decomposition of the consciousness of the middle class into articulated caste interests of brahmins, thakurs and so on. Within the Muslim communities there has been a shift away from concerns of security to those of equality and dignity - a politics in affinity to that of the dalits and the OBCs for recognition. They are therefore no more a vote bank; it is a case of alignment of interests of a secular nature, a social coalition of oppressed forces. This fusion of opposite tendencies and intercession of contrary forces has rendered the process of democratisation more and more complicated so that simple judgments become one-sided and are a sure source of misunderstanding.

Emergence of Backward Castes in South Telengana

Studies of two villages from Telengana, Andhra Pradesh, tell us a story of the emergence of backward castes in local politics. These unirrigated villages have not seen green revolution or any improvement in agricultural technology, which has prevented the strengthening of earlier class/caste power structure. It has allowed backward castes to improve their position socially and also in landownership.

Tamil Nadu : New Caste Equations

The new political equation emerging in Tamil Nadu is, thus, informed by two contradictory tendencies. While the dalits' alignment with the Muslims is problematising the Hindutva's agenda of co-opting the dalits as Hindus, the anti-Muslim politics of the backward caste thevars is making available a new territory for Hindu communal mobilisation. The future course of politics in Tamil Nadu may depend critically on which of these trends will assert.

Reservations and Class Structure of Castes

of Castes THE upper caste 'backlash' (merely another word for a reactionary movement) against reservation is on and has given rise to yet another national debate on what should be the basis of reservation and for how long it should be continued.

BONDED LABOUR-Missing Numbers

Missing Numbers M K T ARITHMETIC is proving to be the most elusive part of the problem of bonded, labour. If one goes by the claims made by 21 states and union territories, the problem is nonexistent in their areas. Two states, West Bengal and Kerala, have promised To keep a watchful eye, should any rare specimen of bonded labour be found. This brings the geographical limits of the incidence of bonded labour down to eight states Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and UP.

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