Electoral Reservations, Political Representation and Social Change in India : A Comparative Perspective

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    Manohar CSH
This book relates to the Indian debate on reservations – a legal provision that guarantees a minimum presence in various institutions to social categories considered as victims of a historical prejudice. It focuses on the implementation of electoral reservations for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes and women.Reservations aim at recording the individual, egalitarian premises of democracy with the traditionally major role of communities and hierarchies in the Indian society. Through reservations, the law tackles frontally the contrast between the political system and the social structure of India – and one can wonder which of the two comes out more transformed in the process. This series of empirical case studies – dealing with different levels of political life, different regions and different timeframes – brings elements of answer to that question; indeed the very heterogeneity of the collection allows us to go beyond the specific problematic usually associated with each beneficiary category.

The chapters analyse the working of reservations in reference to two closely connected yet distinct issues: the effectiveness of reservations as a means towards political representation; and their relevance as instruments of social change.

The book thus offers a collective, though partial, stock-taking exercise, and adds to our understanding of reservations as a policy, their limitations, and their principal and secondary effects.


Introduction Stéphanie Tawa Lama-Rewal

  1. A Quest for Identity through Politics: The Scheduled Castes in Uttar Pradesh
    Sudha Pai
  2. Safeguards or Segregation? Reservations for the Scheduled Castes in Bihar
    Prakash Louis
  3. Reservations and Social Change: The Case of the North-East
    Walter Fernandes
  4. The Policy of Reservations for Scheduled Tribes
    Bhupinder Singh
  5. Electoral Reservations for Scheduled Tribes : The Legitimization of Domination
    Virginius Xaxa
  6. Empowered without Reservations: OBCs in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar
    Meenakshi Jain
  7. Reservations for Backward Classes in Kranataka’s Panchayati Raj Institutions
    K.S. Narayana
  8. Reservations for Women in Urban Local Bodies : A Tentative Assessment
    Stéphanie Tawa Lama-Rewal


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