Caste in Politics and the Politicisation of Caste

Topics: Caste system in India, India, Caste Pages: 23 (8368 words) Published: April 17, 2015
Caste in Politics and the Politicisation of Caste

Lesson: Caste in Politics and the Politicisation of Caste
Lesson Developer: Dr. Jagannath Ambagudia
College/ Department: Department of Political Science,
Rajdhani College

Institute of Lifelong Learning, University of Delhi

Caste in Politics and the Politicisation of Caste
Table of Contents
Title: Caste in Politics and the Politicisation of Caste
Caste and Politics in Colonial Period
Caste and Politics in the Post-Colonial Period

• Role of Caste Associations in Politics
• Caste and Democratic Upsurge
• Caste and Voting Behaviour
• Caste Consciousness and Politics
• Dalits and Caste Politics
• Socialist Party and Caste Politics
• AJGAR Formation and Caste Politics
• Emergence of OBCs
• Politicisation of Caste
Issues and Concerns of Caste Politics in India

• Identity and Recognition
• Reservation
• Education
• Economic Empowerment
• Discrimination
• Equality of Opportunity
• Dignity
• Human Rights
• Distribution of Power and Authority

Institute of Lifelong Learning, University of Delhi

Caste in Politics and the Politicisation of Caste

The discourse on caste and politics in India shall begin with the nature of Indian society. This is primarily because of the fact that such discussion cannot ignore the implication of social structure over the functions of political system. The other probability is the diverse nature of the society, which is seen as the compete grid of caste, ethnicity, religions etc., where different social groups have been located in various levels of social structure, thereby experiencing different degree and magnitude of social, economic, cultural and political developments and deprivation. Their capability to take independence decisions while casting vote in the electoral processes of the country and active or inactive participation in political affairs of the state have much to do with their experiences in different spheres of life. The changing relationship between caste and politics and the increasing relevance of caste in Indian politics raises some pertinent questions, such as what form is caste taking under the impact of modern politics? What form is politics taking in a cadre-ridden society? Does caste use politics? Or does politics use caste? Some of these questions assume centre stage while discussing about caste and politics in Indian context. The proceeding pages attempt to address these questions. Caste and Politics in Colonial Period

The relationship between the caste and politics during the colonial period is essentially linked with the discussion on the practice of social discrimination against the marginalised groups of the society such as the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs). These social groups have been discriminated against for centuries in social, economic, cultural and political spheres of life. They have not been allowed to equally participate in the public life. The area of operation of public sphere was limited to certain sections of the society, who are perceived to be considered as 'higher caste'. The higher castes developed the notion of 'superiority' and 'inferiority', 'purity and pollution', where the SCs have been apparently considered as 'inferior' and associated with 'pollution'. This notion of the Hindu social order pushed the SCs/Dalits to the margin and practised the notion of untouchability. This perception of the Indian society leads to the emergence of anti-caste movements in different parts of the country and produced great leaders such as Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Jyotirao Phule, Periyar etc., who tirelessly fought for the recognition of the distinct identities and for the protection and promotion of rights and dignity of the marginalised groups.

The role of these leaders in democratising the Indian democracy had has increasing relevance...

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