Reservations and ‘caste feeling’ in South India.
Clarinda Still, Modern Indian Studies, School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies, University of Oxford.
Using ethnographic research in a village in coastal Andhra Pradesh, this paper describes the local social effects of the reservation policy. I argue that upper-caste antipathy towards Dalits is no longer openly expressed on the basis of ritual pollution or caste. Rather, today, upper-caste animosity is publicly voiced through the discourse of reservations and their perception of ‘state favouritism’ towards Dalits. ‘Caste feeling’ is thus displaced and distorted into resentment about reservations, despite the fact that very few Dalits have actually benefitted from the policy.