Caste in India by Diane Mines

By Diane Mines

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In 1919 the powers of provincial assemblies were expanded and noises were made about granting self-rule to India eventually. , they often sent Mahatma Gandhi and other members of Congress to jail with indefinite terms of detention). In other words, even though the electorate was expanded and provincial assemblies were given increasing control over agriculture, education, and local taxes to support those endeavors, the British retained control over law and order and refused to give up control over the central government.

Many Indians debate the legitimacy of reservation systems for some of the same reasons that opponents of affirmative action in the United States also cite: that affirmative action programs ought to be based on economic rather than caste status (or in the United States race) or that affirmative action only succeeds in creating a more permanent social underclass, whose members rise by means of identity rather than achievement and so are ironically condemned to doubt their own achievements and also be doubted by others, who as a consequence sustain a view of minorities (whether caste or race) as a separate class of disadvantaged citizens rather than fully integrated members of society.

These efforts were not particularly successful, and in fact the exclusion of Untouchables from temples continues in many places to this day. 4 Ambedkar disagreed vehemently with Gandhi's proposal for a religious solution to caste exclusions and pursued direct legal and political action instead. Unlike Gandhi, who idealized an authentic Hinduism devoid of caste ranking, Ambedkar argued that caste had its origins in religion and Brahmanical Hinduism in particular. Religion, therefore, could not be the course for real change.

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