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The Rise of the Other Backward Classes in the Hindi Belt

Christophe Jaffrelot
The Journal of Asian Studies
Vol. 59, No. 1 (Feb., 2000), pp. 86-108
DOI: 10.2307/2658585
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2658585
Page Count: 23
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The Rise of the Other Backward Classes in the Hindi Belt
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Abstract

Christophe Jaffrelot shifts attention away from the Scheduled Castes and Tribes to highlight the Hindu OBCs who constitute over 40 percent of India's total population. Across North India-with one exception-he finds that the OBCs have enhanced their representation in state and national legislative assemblies at the expense of upper castes. However, the OBCs are, by no means, a unified group. Although they have acted as a cohesive political unit in some contexts, divisions exist between upper and lower OBCs that generate different kinds of plebeian politics in North India. Indian democracy, as the symposium papers insist, is changing; it is becoming more inclusive and participatory. "India is," as Vashney concludes, "still far from becoming a democracy from below, but democratic power is increasingly moving downward. Democracy is no longer a gift from above."

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