Caste and Democratic Politics In India
About This Book
The Indian constitution seeks to prevent the perpetuation of caste and build a casteless social system. But in over half a century since Indian independence, this has not been achieved and does not seem likely in the near future. Therefore, no understanding of Indian politics is possible without a thorough understanding of the complexities of the caste system. The aim of this four-part book is to bring about such an understanding. It begins by examining the various meanings attached to the notion of caste. The essay and book extracts in this first section include classic writings on caste such as those by G S Ghurye, Louis Dumont, Mahatma Gandhi and B R Ambedkar. The second part consists of essays that demonstrate the relationship between caste and power. The third part comprises material that investigates caste and various Indian political practices on the ground. The fourth, on caste and social transformation, includes discussion on one of the most salient topics in contemporary Indian politics, namely, the issue of reservations for socially backward castes.
Ghanshyam Shah is Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He has edited and written numerous books and essays on the subject of class, caste and politics in India.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements; List of Contributors; 1. Introduction: Caste and Democratic Politics; PART 1 THE MEANING OF CASTE: Introduction; 2. Features of the Caste System; 3. Heriarchy: The Theory of the 'Varna'; 4. Caste Must Go On; 5. Caste in India; 6. Ran-Manohar Lohhia on Caste in Indian Politics; 7. Caste; Class and Property Relations; PART II THE DIFFUSION OF POWER: Introduction, 8. The Transformation of Authority in Rural India; 9. Caste and Class: Social Reality and Political Representations; 10. Federating for Political Interests: The Kshatriyas of Gukarat; PART III CASTE AND POLITICAL PROCESSES: Introduction; 11. Pragmatic Progressives in Regional Politics: The Case of Devraj Urs; 12. The BJP and Backward Castes in Gujarat; 13. New Phase in Backward Caste Politics in Bihar, 1990-2000; Dalit Assertion Through Electoral Politics; PART IV CASTE AND SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION: Introduction; 15. Social Backwardness and the Politics of Reservations; 16. The Anti-Caste Movement and the Discourse of Power; Appendix to Chapter 16, Notes; Select Bibliography