Two journalistic reports from Eastern UP and Maharashtra and an extensive survey of caste practices in rural Gujarat.
A Village in a Million by Anonymous / The Economist
Shahabpur, a village on the Gangetic plain, is caste-addled and somehow cohesive. But modernity, fast encroaching, is changing its ancient ways ...
There is no typical Indian village. India is too vast and its cultures and ecology too diverse. Much that is true of Shahabpur will be irrelevant elsewhere. Yet the socio-economic pressures evident here are being felt across much of the country. Agriculture is in the doldrums, so millions of peasants are leaving the land, to find alternative work at home or in distant cities. Many are struggling: India’s services-led economic growth is creating too few semi-skilled jobs. Yet, if Shahabpur is any guide at all, the boom may be more far-reaching than is often supposed. And with the country expected to sustain high growth rates for many years, it will in the end bring about massive changes.
The Caste Buster by Anand Giridharadas / NYT
And I had a sense, from this and earlier visits to Indian finishing schools, of a generation being trained rather than educated. They knew nothing about industry, art, history, literature, science. There were now hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of Indians who were making this bargain and adopting this focus. And they were liberating India. But I wondered what kind of country they would make when there were enough of them to change its essential character. Their heads were filled with SWOT analysis and ways to win friends and influence people, not with the tolerance of Asoka, the poetry of Kabir, the universalism of Tagore.
Understanding Untouchability by Navsarjan and RFK Center
Caste-based discrimination is the most complex human rights issue facing India today. To date, the tools used to assess its status have been divided by discipline—human rights, legal and social science. Although significant contributions toward understanding untouchability have been made in each of these areas, it is difficult to comprehend the scope and pervasiveness of the problem without combining the tools of all three. We have spent the last four years compiling quantitative, comprehensive and reliable data exposing the current state of untouchability (caste-based discrimination) against Dalitsi (“untouchables”) in Gujarat, India. This report presents data on untouchability practices in 1,589 villages from 5,462 respondents in Gujarat on the issue of untouchability.