What Is India News Service
Thursday, November 08, 2007


Ever since the law-giver Manu divided ancient Indian society into a hierarchical system, every aspect of a Hindu’s life, name, schooling, occupation, housing, marriage, worship, rights, has been determined by caste.  Manu’s system segregated individuals on the basis of "ritual purity." Caste Hindus were considered essential to the functioning of life and subdivided into four principal categories, or varnas. 

News Analysis



Views on Caste

• Ambedkar

 Swami Vivekananda

• Gandhi

Mark Tully




Brahmins (priests) and Kshatriyas (warriors) enjoyed an exalted position in society and a monopoly on religious education and political power. Vaishyas (traders and merchants) were allowed some privileges and the chance to acquire wealth and land. Shudhras (peasants and artisans) worked to provide for the other castes.

Since the caste system was abolished in 1950, successive governments have instituted programs to assist untouchables, who call themselves Dalits, or "broken people." These include a series of land reforms and a system of "reservations" -- affirmative-action programs that give Dalits and tribals preferred access to government jobs and education.

Historically, the basic limitation of lower caste mobilisation in the north was its failure to break out of the Sanskritisation mould in contrast to western and southern India where caste movements were questioning Hindu religious culture.  In Tamil country, the multi-layered ideology of Dravidianism emerged out of opposition to Brahmanism and Brahmin institutions of colonial rule, and in the hands of Periyar became associated with a vision of Dravidian and Shudra primacy against Aryan Brahmanism.  In Maharashtra, Jyotiba Phule blamed Brahmins for the deprivations of the lower castes and hence of the many ills of society.  There are three tendencies in lower caste politics in north India: Laloo Yadav's cultural critique and opposition to upper caste-class privilege; Mulayam Singh Yadav's substitution of upper castes politics with a model of a peasant-cum-caste politics; and Mayawati's Dalit power agenda. 

Change Quota-Reservation Policy


Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati has just now armed herself with a new law to fight organised crime by powerful people. (Minister Or Criminal?, Tribune, Editorial, The Tribune, Nov 08, 2007)

A minister in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh resigned over allegations of his involvement in the kidnapping of a female college student, colleagues say. (Politician 'Resigns Over Kidnap' , British Broadcasting Corporation, Correspondent or Reporter, Nov 08, 2007)

Half a century ago D. D. Kosambi — whose birth centenary merits celebration at the national level — characterised the great uprising as ‘feudal’ and yet the final verdict on its significance was positive and it was perceived as a glorious struggle. (1857: What Does It Mean To Us?, Hindu, Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, Nov 08, 2007)

BJP president Rajnath Singh believes that direct intervention by the US in the form of negotiations with Indian political parties over the civilian nuclear agreement proves the UPA did not bother to do its homework and take Opposition. . . (Upa Has Ignored Opp On N-Deal , Pioneer, A N Sudarsan Rao , Nov 08, 2007)

A local court on Wednesday granted bail to JD(U) MLA Anant Singh and five others arrested on charges of assaulting journalists here last week. (Attack On Scribes: Jd(u) Mla, Others Granted Bail, Indian Express, Correspondent or Reporter, Nov 08, 2007)

The Janadesh Yatra has given the movement for land rights fresh momentum and also captured the popular imagination. (March For Land, Frontline, Jayati Ghosh, Nov 08, 2007)

The Foreign Office on Wednesday summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner Manpreet Vohra and protested the denial of a visa to Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed. (Fo Summons Indian Envoy Over Visa Denial To Rashid, Daily Times, Correspondent or Reporter, Nov 08, 2007)

According to highly-placed sources in the JD(S), Deve Gowda is now waiting for the right time to bring forth the old copy of conditions (sent his BJP counterpart Rajnath Singh on November 1, 2007), though he is ready to soften his stand on some . . . . (Gowda's 12-Point Conditions Still Apply , Deccan Herald, P M Raghunandan, Nov 07, 2007)

In a quick reaction to allegations that her Ministerial colleague Anand Sen Yadav was involved in the kidnapping of a Dalit girl, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Tuesday recommended a CBI inquiry and simultaneously asked him . . . . . (Minister Quits; Mayawati For Cbi Probe Into Kidnap Case, Hindu, Correspondent or Reporter, Nov 07, 2007)

Sixty-year-old Yacoob thanked Allah as he spontaneously knelt on the floor of the special court trying the Coimbatore blast case. (Trial And Error , Telegraph, Correspondent or Reporter, Nov 07, 2007)

Tamil Nadu enacts a law granting separate reservation for Muslims and Christians in the Backward Classes quota. (Reservation For Minorities, Frontline, S. Viswanathan, Nov 07, 2007)

WORK for every hand, bread for every stomach, land for the landless, protection for small farmers and traders, change in the present economic policies.” (Rallying Forces For Land, Frontline, Purnima S. Tripathi, Nov 07, 2007)

Ministers from G-20 countries, including India and Brazil, will meet in Geneva on November 15 to renew efforts toward closing the gap in the much-delayed Doha round of WTO negotiations. (G-20 To Give Doha Momentum , Deccan Herald, Correspondent or Reporter, Nov 07, 2007)

IN October, Karnataka was mired in political shenanigans and uncertainties. With the transfer of power from the Janata Dal (Secular) to its coalition partner, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), not taking off, hell broke loose as the political . . . . ("The Ideology Is Only In Speeches": , Frontline, Ravi Sharma , Nov 07, 2007)

Last week UP Chief Minister Mayawati introduced in the state Assembly the long-awaited Uttar Pradesh Control of Organised Crime Bill, 2007, with a view to eliminating organised crime root and branch. Modelled on the law enacted in Maharashtra . . . . (Crime Syndicates, Tribune, Editorial, The Tribune, Nov 06, 2007)

The Railways seemingly continues to thrive on "Lalunomics", as it is the LJP now, on the pattern of the RJD, that is targeting this biggest public sector unit(PSU) to ferry its supporters from Bihar and Jharkhand during its proposed rally. . . (Now, Ljp Wants To Use Railways For Its Rally , Tribune, Ambarish Dutta, Nov 06, 2007)

Dr. Kalaignar M. Karunanidhi — Portrait of a Multi-Faceted Legend of Dravidians: His Life and Times: K.S.R. Publications, No. 5, 3rd Avenue, Indira Nagar, Chennai-600020. Rs. 350. Management Guru Professor Laloo’s Rail: Sunil Jogi . . . (New Arrivals, Hindu, Correspondent or Reporter, Nov 06, 2007)

There was something obscene about Pakistan Army soldiers entering the hallowed precincts of the country’s Supreme Court where they had no business to be, going to the Chief Justice and saying to him his services were no longer required. (Edits, Statesman, Editorial, Statesman, Nov 06, 2007)

The reaction of 10 High Courts to the Judges (Inquiry) Bill envisaging the National Judicial Council (NJC) is quite interesting. (Special Article, Statesman, DEBAKI NANDAN MANDAL, Nov 06, 2007)

A dirge penned by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi as a tribute to LTTE’s political wing leader S P Tamilselvan, who was killed in a Sri Lankan air raid at a militant hideout has raised many questions. (Mourning Tamilselvan: Crying Foul Over A Dirge , Deccan Herald, S Murari, Nov 06, 2007)


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