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Survey and Research Papers on SC/ST

Survey at an IIT Campus Shows How Caste Affects Students' Perceptions

In order to further the discussion of appropriate policy interventions to reduce caste inequality, we need to understand better how caste affects individuals  in their economic and social lives, how caste values affect perceptions, and the social and individual behaviours based on such perceptions that perpetuate inequality and deprivation for certain caste groups.

It is widely accepted that caste disparities continue to exist in India. After Independence, the state moved towards creating a “casteless society.”  Caste was formally abolished and a system of quotas or reservations was created for the formerly “untouchable” caste groups (Scheduled castes or SCs and Scheduled tribes (STs)) in university admissions, government jobs, and political posts.  Despite affirmative action, the gap in average socio-economic and education status between high and low caste groups remains large as research documents.   

While previous research has examined inequality in income and education, it has not explored much about whether such inequality is solely due to denial of social and economic rights and opportunities in the past, or whether there are channels of social exclusion and psychological impact of discrimination that persist in the present.  To further the discussion of appropriate policy interventions to reduce caste in¬equality, we need to understand better how caste affects indi¬viduals in their economic and social lives, how caste values affect perceptions, and the social and individual behaviours based on such perceptions that perpetuate inequality and deprivation for certain caste groups.  

This article emphasises the education gap in the caste system.  Although education is supposed to be a leveler of inequality in opportunity, access to reasonable quality of education greatly differs by caste. The fraction of population belonging to SC or ST groups gets smaller the higher the level of educational attainment (Chakravarty and Somanathan 2008).  For example, in urban India in 1999–2000, individuals belonging to the SC/ST groups constituted 18.3% of the population in the 17–25 age group, but barely 11.3% of them had completed high school (Chakravarty and Somanathan 2008).  The proportion of individuals from SC and ST groups in college graduates was only 7.4% (Sundaram 2006).   These statistics show that the education system has a long way to go towards achieving caste equality. Educational attainment is one of the channels through which caste gaps continue to persist.  But it cannot be assumed that a difference in educational attainment is the only factor that keeps individuals from disadvantaged caste groups from moving forward socially and economically.  

Once students complete their studies and enter the labour market, they are likely to face discrimination.  Deshpande (2011) shows that discrimination is common in the workplace, in part because employers value “family background.”  Madheswaran and Attewell (2007) examined discrimination in the labour market using National Sample Survey (NSS) data.  They found that in urban salaried jobs, employees belonging to SC/STs received 30% lower wages on average compared to those from other caste groups. Fifteen percent of the wage differential was unexplained by education attainment and work experience. Thorat and Attewell (2007) designed a field experiment and found that companies discriminated by caste and religion in how often they contacted job applicants who had submitted identical resumes. Banerjee et al (2007) conducted similar experiments and found lower discrimination in the call-centre industry and none in the software industry.
Using placement data of MBA graduates from Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad, Chakravarty and Somanathan (2008) find that graduates from the SC or ST categories get significantly lower wages than those in the general one.  This difference disappears once their lower grade point average (GPA) scores are accounted for, suggesting that the large wage difference is due to the lower academic performance of SC/ST candidates.  The authors conclude that in the absence of any serious attempt to equalise school-level education opportunities, the current policy of reservations at elite educational institutions does not suffice to equalise labour market outcomes even for the minority of SC/ST candidates who benefit from them.

In this article, we examine the academic performance of students from SCs or STs compared to other caste groups at one of the top engineering institutes, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) located in Banaras Hindu University (BHU).  The three caste categories, General, OBC (Other Backward Classes), and SCs/STs are in hierarchical order according to the beliefs of the caste system, with the SCs/STs at the bottom and General Caste at the top.  Caste discrimination faced by SC/STs is undeniably the worst.  Therefore, we are primarily interested in looking at the gap in performance of SC/ST students compared to general caste students although we also report comparisons with the OBC category.  A significant gap exists in the academic performance of SC and ST students compared to those in the general caste group exists.  The gap remains even after controlling for different socio-economic backgrounds of students.  

In the survey, students from the SC/ST categories report facing negative attitudes from fellow students.  A majority of students from these categories believe that students from the general caste category have higher or same academic ability as others and that those from the reserved caste category have same or lower ability than others.  Most students from the general caste have similar beliefs about inferior abilities of students from lower caste groups and superior abilities of students from general caste groups.  We posit that such beliefs and perceptions create a psychological barrier to academic performance of students from lower caste groups. 

The recent suicide by Dalit scholar, Rohith Vemula, who was a doctoral candidate at the University of Hyderabad is a poignant reminder of the humiliating impact of caste discrimination in university campuses.  According to one estimate, 18 SC students at institutes of higher education chose to end their lives in the last four years (Hindu 2016).   In an experiment involving students in sixth and seventh grades in rural Uttar Pradesh, Hoff and Pandey (2013) found no caste gap in performance of students when caste identity was anonymous.  When caste identity was made salient, there was a drop in performance of low caste students and a significant caste gap emerged favouring the general caste category students.
Our results reiterate that reservation policy in education is far from successful in levelling the playing field for students belonging to disadvantaged caste groups.  Policy intervention has to begin sooner, in the early school years, to attempt to equalise opportunities in education.  In addition, negative attitudes, perceptions and stereotypes about the ability of students belonging to the SC/ST groups are a major hurdle.  Policy should recognise how such perceptions hold back individuals and groups, and seriously attempt to think of ways to alter these.
Survey design

Students studying chemical engineering at IIT-BHU were contacted to participate in a survey online, where 121 students completed the survey.  In the survey, students were asked about their GPA for last six semesters, parental education, parental income bracket, parental occupation, type of school attended prior to coming to IIT, language of instruction in school prior to IIT (English or Hindi), and whether the student took the IIT entrance test in English or Hindi.  They were asked to indicate their caste category: general, OBC, or SC/ST.  
They were also asked about the attitudes of teachers and fellow students towards them and their opinion of the academic ability of other students from the general caste category and reserved caste category.

Table 1 lists the variables in the survey and the average characteristics of students in the sample. Table 2 describes sample characteristics by caste category.   

Table 1: Sample Characteristics

Sample CharacteristicsPercentn
(unless stated otherwise)(unless stated otherwise)121
General caste51.24121
Type of school attended prior to IIT (1=government, 0 =private)22.31120
Grade Point Average (GPA, mean over 5 semesters in points)7.60121
Language of instruction in school prior to IIT (1=English, 0=Hindi)78.51121
Language in which student gave the entrance exam for IIT (1=English, 0=Hindi)87.60120
Father’s education: no formal education3.33120
Below class 107.50120
Class 10–1214.17120
College or higher75.00118
Mother’s education: no formal education15.25118
Below class 1012.71118
Class 10–1223.73118
College or higher48.31121
Monthly income of family: less than 3,0004.96121
Mother’s occupation: housewife80.83120

Table 2: Sample Characteristics of Students by Caste Category

Sample Characteristics by Caste CategoryGeneral CasteOBCSC/ST
Mean GPA7.857.577.01
Percent attended government school212917
Percent attended private school797183
English medium of instruction in school (before coming to IIT)898050
Hindi medium of instruction in school (before coming to IIT)112050
Gave the entrance exam for IIT in English949462
Gave the entrance exam for IIT in Hindi6638
Father’s education: Father’s education: Father’s education: Father’s education:
no formal education0017
Below class 1001417
Class 10–1211238
College or higher896358
Mother’s education: Mother’s education: Mother’s education: Mother’s education:
no formal education3954
Below class 107278
Class 10–12203913
College or higher702425
Monthly income of family less than 3,000538
Mother’s occupation: housewife748888


Students in the general caste category have higher average GPA compared to students in the OBC and SC/ST categories.  Those from SC/STs have the lowest GPA.    

While there is not a large difference in the percentage of students who attended private versus government schools between the three caste categories, those in the general and OBC category are more likely to have attended an English medium school prior to joining IIT, and more likely to have taken the entrance exam to IIT in English as compared to the SC/ST students.  

In terms of socio-economic status, students from the general caste tend to be at the highest, those from the OBC are in the middle and SC/ST students are at the bottom.  For students from the general caste, both parents are more likely to have at least college-level education, they are more likely to be in a higher family income bracket, and more likely to have a mother who works as a professional.  Students in the SC/ST category have the reverse of these outcomes.  

The difference in the GPA between students in the general caste and SC/ST caste is about 0.84 points and significant below one percent level.  The difference in the GPA between students in the OBC and SC/STs is about 0.56 points and also significantly below one percent level (Table 3, column 2).  

Some of the difference in the GPA across caste categories is likely to reflect differences in family and class background. We analysed the difference in GPA after controlling for family characteristics.  A linear regression of GPA on caste category also includes student’s observed socio-economic characteristics.  After including controls for student background variables, the difference in GPA between general caste students and SC/ST students is smaller in magnitude, but stays significant below 1% significance level (columns 3–4, Table 3).   Parents’ education and mothers’ occupations are not significantly correlated to the GPA.  Having taken the IIT entrance exam in English positively correlated with GPA (column 4) and so was having attended a government school (versus private) prior to IIT (columns 3–4).  

How do we explain the caste gap in GPA between those from general caste category and SC/ST students after controlling for family background variables? We hypothesise that caste continues to affect student’s academic performance in other ways: unobserved socio-economic and psychological factors.  

Students from lower caste categories are likely to face humiliation and harassing attitudes from others in their daily lives.  The survey tried to capture some likely channels of such psychological influences through additional questions.  They were asked how they feel about the attitudes of fellow students and teachers towards themselves.  They were asked about their perception of the academic ability of other students who belong to general caste and reserved caste categories.  

When asked about teachers’ attitudes, most students from each of the three caste categories find teachers helpful or neutral (Figure 1 and Table 4A).  Note that however 13% of students in the SC/ST caste category felt teacher attitudes towards them were hostile.   

When asked about the attitudes of fellow students, 72% of general caste students said helpful, and 28% said neutral.  In the SC/ST category, 46% said that attitudes of fellow students was helpful, 33% said that it was neutral and 21% said that it was hostile (Figure 1b).  Responses of OBC students fell in the middle of general and SC/ST categories.  Note that 21% students in the SC/ST category found the attitudes of fellow students hostile compared to none in the general category.

Students were asked their opinion of the academic ability of other students in the general caste category.  43% of students in the general category respond that it is the same as others, 55% say more than others, and 2% say less than others.   Students in the SC/ST category have a similar response:  54% say same as others, 46% say more than others, and 0% say less than others (Figure 2a).  In other words, at least 98% students from general caste category as well as in SC/ST caste category feel that the former have higher or same ability as others.  Responses of students from the OBC category are similar.

Students were similarly asked about the ability of other students in the reserved category.  In the general caste category,  61% of students said it is less than others,  and 39% said same as others.  Students in SC/ST category responded as follows:  46% said less than others, and 54% said same as others (Figure 2b).   Students in the OBC category have similar responses.  More than half the students in general caste and about half the students in OBC and SC/ST category believe that students from the reserved caste category have lower academic ability than others.  

In other words almost everyone in both the general and reserved caste categories believes that general caste students have higher or same ability as others.   And a majority of students in both caste categories believe that reserved category students are less able.  Almost no one in any of the caste categories believes that the reserved category students have more ability than others.  

It is also possible that using the phrase “reserved category” in the survey question leads the respondent to associate students in this category with lower ability.  In this case, the answer to the question about the ability of reserved category students can be attributed to both mindsets as well as the effect of using the term “reserved category” in the question and we are unable to distinguish between the two channels of effect.    


We discuss results from a survey of students belonging to general caste, OBC and SC/ST at one of the elite engineering institutes in India, IIT-BHU.  We find that GPA is lower for students from SC/ST caste category.  The difference in GPA continues after controlling for socio-economic characteristics and family background which is not surprising.  

Students belonging to SC/ST group report facing hostile attitudes from teachers and fellow students.  A majority of general caste, OBC and SC/ST caste students believe that general caste students have higher academic ability and reserved caste students have lower ability.

Despite constitutional remedies like caste-based reservation in higher education and jobs, the effects of caste continue to persist.  The reservation policy has not succeeded in levelling the playing field in higher education.   Further, income gaps exist after students’ from lower caste categories graduate and find a job (Chakravarty and Somanathan 2008).  Policy intervention in education has to begin sooner, in pre and early-school years, to attempt to level the playing field.  

Negative attitudes, perceptions and stereotypes about the ability of SC/ST caste category are a major hurdle too.  Our survey indicates those from SC/ST caste category face several reminders of their caste identity in day to day life on a campus of higher learning.  In an experiment involving students in sixth and seventh grades in rural Uttar Pradesh, Hoff and Pandey (2012) find no caste gap in performance of students when caste identity is anonymous.  But when students are reminded of their caste identity, a significant caste gap in performance emerges favouring general caste students.  Hoff and Pandey (2008) find that low caste students had internalised the values of their discriminatory system, and heeded its “narrative” which kept them from achieving outcomes comparable to those from higher caste categories.  This validates discriminatory ideology and reproduces the effects of discrimination over time.  

The good news is research in the behavioural science reveals that perceptions and attitudes are malleable.  A study in social psychology found that when African-American students were encouraged to see intelligence as something fluid and changeable as opposed to fixed at birth, they obtained higher grades and enjoyed academics more (Aronson et al 2002). In another study, students from a minority background were asked to write about a value that was important to them while those in the control group were told to write about something least important to them (Cohen et al 2006).  Those in the first group increased their academic performance relative to the control group.  The authors attribute the result to the fact that students in the first group reaffirmed their self-worth and so were able to mitigate the anxiety or stress that minority students have to deal with.   Policymaking can attempt to recognise how negative perceptions hold back individuals and groups, and find ways to change them.   Interventions can target shifting perceptions and mindsets about castes and this needs to be explored. 

Priyanka Pandey
Sandeep Pandey
Priyanka Pandey ( is with the World Bank. Sandeep Pandey can be contacted at This work was made possible with the participation of students at Indian Institute of Technology (Banaras Hindu University) in the study survey in 2015-16.
Vol. 53, Issue No. 9, 03 Mar, 2018
1 March 2018



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Slavery on the high street. Forced labour in the manufacture of garments for international brands.

Poverty, Discrimination and Slavery: The reality of bonded labour in India, Nepal and Pakistan

By Surinder S. Jodhka and Ghanshyam Shah

By S.N. Malakar and Chittaranjan Senapati

By Gobinda C. Pal

By Surinder S. Jodhka

By Patricia Maringi G. Johnston

By Sanghmitra S. Acharya

By Geetha B. Nambissan

By Kalinga Tudor Silva, P.P. Sivapragasam and Paramsothy Thanges

By Krishna B. Bhattachan, Tej B. Sunar and Yasso Kanti Bhattachan

By Iftekhar Uddin Chowdhury

By Surinder S. Jodhka and Katherine S. Newman

By Nidhi Sadana

By Christophe Jaffrelot


Discrimination against Dalits in the educational system is a widespread problem in caste-affected countries.1 
Alienation, social exclusion, and physical abuse transcend all levels of education, from primary education to university. Illiteracy and drop-out rates among Dalits are very high  due to a number of social and physical factors. Legislation on the area is limited, and measures that have been taken are often inadequately implemented. 
Governments are recommended to take specific measures to ensure equal access to education for Dalits in accordance with international human rights principles. In particular, IDSN calls on governments, national institutions, UN experts and agencies, as well as civil society organisations, to take into consideration the recommendations contained in the draft UN principles and guidelines for the effective elimination of discrimination based on work and descent, as listed in the section below. 

Illiteracy and dropout rates for Dalit children 

The illiteracy rate for Dalit children is generally high in affected countries, compared to that of other children. Although the literacy rate has generally increased among Dalits over the last years, the literacy gap between them and other children is still wide. Sample studies from Bangladesh indicate that around 96% of the 
country’s estimated 5.5 million Dalits are illiterate (One World Action, 2011). Apart from posing a barrier in access to education, the widespread illiteracy also results in lack of gainful employment options for Dalits (HRW, 2007). A UNICEF report from 2006 points to the fact that the quality of education is often so low that children “mechanically go through five years of primary education and emerge barely literate” (UNICEF, 2006: A). The same study concludes that the poor quality of education is a significant factor in explaining the low level of completion rates in primary education. 
The dropout rate for the Dalit children is generally high, especially at the elementary level. Indeed, according to 
UNICEF the dropout rate among Dalits in India is 44.27% in primary school (2006: B). Statistics from Nepal illustrate a significant gap between the share of the Dalit population in relation to illiterary rates and enrollment shares (see text box). Although the general dropout rate has generally decreased, the difference in dropout rates between Dalit children and other children has in fact widened in some countries. In India, the difference in dropout rates between Dalit youth and all Indian youth has actually grown from 4.39 pct. in 1989 to 16.21 pct. in 2008 (IDSN and Navsarjan briefing note, 2010). 
1 Caste-based discrimination is associated with the notion of purity and pollution and practices of “untouchability”, and is deeply rooted in societies and cultures where this discrimination is practiced. It is estimated to affect 260 million persons globally, out of which the vast majority of the affected persons live in South Asia (e.g. India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka). Other affected groups include the Buraku community in Japan, the Al-Akhdam community in Yemen, low caste groups in Africa such as the Osu in Nigeria, and the Diaspora community in e.g. the United Kingdom. 

Discriminatory practices against Dalit children in schools 

The forms of structural discrimination, alienation, and abuse that Dalit children face in schools are so stigmatising that they are oftentimes forced to drop out of school. One of the main issues is the discriminatory practice conducted by teachers. In 2006, the Special Rapporteur on the right to education noted that “teachers have been known to declare that Dalit pupils cannot learn unless they are beaten” (HRW, 2007). Discriminatory 
practices against Dalit children exercised by teachers may include corporal punishment, denial of access to school water supplies, segregation in class rooms, and forcing Dalit children to perform manual scavenging on and around school premises (IDSN and Navsarjan briefing note, 2010). 
A Nepalese study on caste-based discrimination in school documented that indirect discrimination by teachers, such as neglect, repeated blaming, and labeling of Dalit students as weak performers, lead to social exclusion of Dalit students in schools. The consequence was irregular attendance in classroom, less concentration in studies, less participation in school activities, lower performance, failure, and school drop-out (D.R. Bishworma, 2010). Additionally, Dalit children face discriminatory attitudes from fellow students and the community as a whole, in particular from higher caste members who perceive education for Dalits as a waste and a threat. This is linked to a perception among some higher caste people that educated Dalits pose a threat to village hierarchies and power relations, and that Dalits are generally incapable of being educated (Vasavi et al., 1997). Other factors adding to high drop-out rates 
The poor educational status of Dalits is due to both social and physical factors. The extreme poverty in which most Dalit families live is another underlying reason why the drop-out rate of Dalit children is so high. Many parents simply cannot afford to send their children to school and are dependent on their workforce to ensure the survival of the family. 
The distance to schools is also considered a huge barrier for Dalit children, and a significant part of the explanation for the low enrolment rate and the high dropout rate. Due to the unwillingness of higher caste groups to live side by side with Dalits, Dalit families often live in remote areas, away from the main villages and schools. This residential pattern has two major implications. Firstly, the location of schools within the main 
villages, and hence within higher caste areas, makes it difficult for Dalit children to gain access to schools, due to caste tensions. Secondly, the great physical distance to schools often result in Dalit children dropping out, as the distance is simply too far to walk on an everyday basis (UNICEF, 2006: A). 

Migratory labour is another factor that adds to the high dropout rates. 

Many Dalits are landless and are forced into migrant labour, as this is often the only way to ensure the economical survival of their families. The continuous migration in search for labour implies a frequent disruption of the Dalit children’s education and makes them incapable of keeping up with the academic advancement of other children (HRW, 2007). Finally, the lack of proper facilities is a general problem in many schools. Many public schools have second-rate facilities, i.e. lack of classrooms, basic infrastructure, qualified teachers, and teaching aids. 

 Discrimination in higher education 
Intolerance, prejudice and harassment towards Dalits are not only found at the elementary school level. Several incidents have occurred in institutions of higher education where discrimination is practiced by senior upper-caste students, teachers, faculties, and administrations. The caste bias manifests itself in the way teachers ignore Dalit students and unjustly fail them in exams, in social exclusion and physical abuse, and in the unwillingness of the university administration to assist Dalits and support them. As a grave consequence of this harassment, a disproportionate number of Dalit students have committed suicide (The Death of Merit, 2011: A). 

Indeed, in India alone, 18 Dalit students have committed suicide in one of the country’s premier institutions between 2008-2011, and this number only represents the official cases. Counting all the Dalit students whose families did not protest against the incessant discrimination that eventually led to suicide, the number is likely to be much higher (The Death of Merit, 2011: B). 

In many affected countries, the practice of caste discrimination is explicitly prohibited as per their constitutions. 
However, most of these countries fail to take specific legislative action to address the issue. India is the exception, and over the years several legislative measures and affirmative action have been taken to ensure the rights of the country’s large Dalit population, including reservation policies and quotas. There are good examples of how affirmative action measures have been benefitted the most marginalized. For instance, the primary school tuition fee has been abolished for Scheduled Castes, and incentives such as free textbooks, uniforms and stationary are provided for Scheduled Caste children. Out of 43.000 scholarships for talented children from rural areas, 13.000 have been given to Scheduled Caste children (UNICEF, 2006: A). 
Unfortunately, implementation of such measures continues to be highly inadequate. Below are examples of the 
non-enforcement of special measures and barriers to effectively improving the educational status of the Dalits 
in India: 

 Reservation policies and quotas for Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes in India only apply to public schools, and not private schools. Moreover, the Dalits who have converted to for instance Christianity and Islam still cannot benefit from these provisions. 
 In higher educational institutions 15% of seats are reserved for Scheduled Castes. This is also the case in technical educational institutions. However, in technical and professional courses in higher education, some reserved seats remain unfilled. 
 Universities often fail to follow the guidelines set up for Dalit students by the University Grant Commission (UGC) (Government of India). The widespread discrimination against Dalits throughout the entire educational system indicate that more needs to be done by affected governments to ensure implementation of laws, programmes and quotas. 

Case stories of Dalit children in India - 

Victims of caste discrimination: 
A survey 
by Navsarjan Trust, India reveals that teachers, local governments, and community members routinely subject the children of manual scavengers to discrimination and forced labour as part of their daily experience of attending school and living in their communities. The survey - Voices of Children of Manual Scavengers – is based on interviews with 1,048 children between the ages of 6 and 17 in the state of Gujarat. Together with Navsarjan’s groundbreaking report Understanding Untouchability it forms the basis of this briefing document - compiled by IDSN in February 2011. IDSN briefing paper: DALITS’ ACCE





Anil Chamaria, Feelance Journalist

Jitendra Kumar, Independent Researcher

Yogendra Yadav, Senior Fellow, CSDS


 India's 'national' media lacks social diversity, it does not reflect the country's social profile
 Hindu upper caste men dominate the media. They are about 8 % of India's population but among the key decision makers of the national media their share is as high as 71 %.
 Gender bias rules: only 17 % of the key decision makers are women. Their representation is better in the English Electronic media (32 %).
 Media's caste profile is equally unrepresentative. 'Twice born' Hindus (dwijas comprising Brahmins, Kayasthas, Rajputs, Vaishyas and Khatris) are about 16 % of India's population, but they are about 86 % among the key media decision makers in this survey. Brahmins (including Bhumihars and Tyagis) alone constitute 49% of the key media personnel.
 Dalits and adivasis are conspicuous by their absence among the decision makers. Not even one of the 315 key decision makers belonged to the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes.
 The proportion of OBCs is abysmally low among the key decision makers in the national media: they are only 4 % compared to their population of around 40 % in the country.
 Muslims are severely under-represented in the national media: they are only 3 % among the key decision makers, compared to 13.4% in the country's population.
 Christians are proportionately represented in the media (mainly in the English media): their share is about 4 per cent compared to their population share of 2.3 %
 Social groups that suffer 'double disadvantage' are also nearly absent among the key decision makers: there are no women among the few OBC decision makers and negligible backwards among the Muslims and Christians. 

Survey methodology:

For this survey 40 ‘national’ media organizations located in Delhi were identified. These included all the major news papers, news magazines, radio channels, television channels and news agencies that could be said to have a national spread. Of these information could be obtained about 37 organizations. For this purpose different publications or channels of the same media house have been treated as different organaisations.

For each of these organizations we sought information on the top 10 ‘key decision makers’ who matter in deciding the news and editorial policy of the organization. For each of these persons thus identified, information was collected on their social profile in terms of their gender, age, religion, caste/community, mother tongue and state of domicile. The information was available for 315 key decision makers. This was gathered by a group of volunteers of the Media Study Group. Since the information was gathered not by face-to-face interview but by speaking to colleagues and other infomants, the data here may contain some errors 

If sex, religion and caste are to be taken together, more than two-thirds of the top media professionals in the country come from less than 10 per cent of the population. Hindu upper caste men, who are barely 8 per cent of the countryÂs population, have a majority share of 71 per cent among top media professionals in the country. These findings are from the same survey of the social profile of key decision makers in the national media that had created a flutter last month.

The findings are based on a survey of the social background of 315 key decisionmakers from 37 Ânational media organisations (up to 10 from each) based in Delhi. The survey was carried out by volunteers of Media Study Group between May 30 and June 3 this year. It was designed and executed by Anil Chamaria, freelance journalist, and Jitendra Kumar, independent researcher, from Media Study Group, and Yogendra Yadav, senior fellow, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS)....

Dalit women more humiliated when raped: Study

Nandita Sengupta, TNN Dec 15, 2009
NEW DELHI: Dalit women who have suffered caste rapes were subjected to more humiliation than other women similarly assaulted, says a first of its kind research study detailing the psychological trauma of women raped.
When Dalit women are assaulted, offenders use foul language vilifying the woman verbally, says the survey, invariably calling them prostitutes. "The feeling of being dehumanized, of having been demeaned is far greater for Dalit women," says clinical psychologist Rajat Mitra, who led the study conducted by NGO Swanchetan that works with victims of sexual assault. Mitra notes that in any other rape, the victim is not called a 'prostitute'.
Titled 'A research study on sexual assault', it was done through detailed interviews of victims identified by state-level NGOs and government homes as well as by inviting victims to take part in the survey via posters and radio announcements. Of the 122 identified, 66 women agreed to the interview. The questionnaire's themes were identified and built on basis of data collected over the last 10 years and conducted in the last two. The respondents were across 12 states: Delhi, Meghalaya, Assam, Karnataka, Tripura, Maharashtra, UP, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Bihar and Gujarat. Being a first of its kind, interviewers too were thoroughly sensitized to the demands of the survey, says Mitra. Mean and standard deviation for each psychological parameter was calculated; t-test and Duncan's mean test used for comparative analyses.
The comparative study between Dalits and non-Dalits showed that Dalits felt anguish to a greater degree of intensity. They often see rape as "something ordained" by virtue of a double disadvantage: being Dalit and woman. "Whenever a Dalit woman is raped, it gets connected to all other sufferings and discriminations. Dalits being in a disadvantaged position and there's no resilience, no bouncing back," says Mitra.
"The women shared that during the attack, the men seemed to have more pleasure in humiliating their origins and background," adds Mitra. The report details their almost-ritualistic ostracism after the rape where older Dalit women also attempt to explain rape as "tradition".
In a qualitative assessment, the report says girls are almost prepared to expect assault. It says, "Allusions to rape by upper castes begin to appear in subtle conversations and often inflate their anxiety and depressive symptoms that begin to mark (rape) as inevitable in the mind of young Dalit girls." It is extremely important, says Mitra, for a different rehabilitation policy for Dalit women with special training for mental health professionals, judiciary and police sensitizing them to the caste angle.
The Swanchetan study records trauma on two broad themes: 'mehsoos hona' and 'halat' which include parameters of flashbacks, humiliation, hopelessness, shame, betrayal, loss of meaning, dehumanization, feelings of rage and distrust among a host of psychological measures. The severity and frequency of flashbacks ("My mind gets flooded with violent, unusual images that I can't stop") was measurably much greater for Dalit women. In fact, they notched higher trauma levels on every factor studied except for 'despair' and feeling betrayed. This, concludes Mitra, also demonstrates how rape for Dalits, is an inter-generational trauma and not restricted to a one-time event.
The study assumes special significance with the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva mooting that caste-based discrimination be recognized as a human rights violation. "When discriminatory attacks are systematic and avenues for redressal are non-existent or ineffective, certainly caste violence is against human rights. To that end, international condemnation will have an impact in forcing the redressal machinery to work on caste crimes as a priority area," says social scientist Shyam Babu, fellow, Rajiv Gandhi Foundation. To that end, such a study proves a guide for action.

SC/ST engineering students learn at faster rate: Study

The study was conducted on 45,453 first and third-year students across the country.

education Updated: Apr 06, 2018 23:49 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi

SC/ST engineering students,Scheduled Castes,Scheduled Tribes

It points out that the overall learning curve for students, especially in mathematics and physics, from first to third year, is very steep.(Prashant Waydande/HT File Photo)
Engineering students from the Scheduled Tribes (ST) and the Scheduled Castes (SC) learn at a faster rate than those from the general category, according to a study carried out by Stanford University, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the World Bank.
The study on learning assessment outcomes, which was carried out between October and November 2017, and the results for which came out on Friday, also found that women engineering students lag behind male students in terms of performance, especially in physics and mathematics. They also lag behind in higher-order thinking skills in some institutes.
The study was conducted on 45,453 first and third-year students across the country. It covered one Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), seven National Institutes of Technology (NITs) and other engineering institutes under the AICTE.
It points out that the overall learning curve for students, especially in mathematics and physics, from first to third year, is very steep. “The rate of learning of Indian students in mathematics and physics is much higher compared to China and Russia. Though in absolute terms China is much ahead,” said World Bank economist, Tara Beteille.
Similar learning assessments were conducted on engineering students in China and Russia, though, at a different time period.
As part of the Indian study, students across the country were administered a test which included two major parts — Academic (mathematics and physics) and higher-order thinking tests (critical thinking, quantitative literacy, creativity and a test of relational reasoning). The study found that women students are behind their male counterparts in quantitative literacy and physics at the start of the first year in non-elite institutes.
While the learning levels of SC/ST and OBC students improves from first year to third year, for female students the differences between them and the male students remain the same as it was in the first year – except in public non-elite institutions where they make some gains.

Higher education survey 2018: Growth in OBC, Scheduled caste students; enrolment of girls dwindle

Higher education survey 2018: The report stated that the share of female students is lowest in Institutions of National Importance, followed by state private open universities and deemed universities (government).

By: | New Delhi | Published: July 28, 2018 12:56 PM

As per the HRD report, the GER (Gross Enrolment Ratio) in higher education for male population is 26.3 per cent and for the female population is 25.4 per cent.
In a boost for the higher education sector in the country, the enrolment of students has risen to 25.8 per cent this year from 25.2 per cent in 2017. However, what holds more attention in the data released following the annual survey conducted by the ministry of human resource development department, is that the number of students remains lowest in institutions of national importance. The report released by Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Prakash Javadekar, stated that the share of female students is lowest in Institutions of National Importance, followed by state private open universities and deemed universities (government). The total enrolment in higher education has been estimated to be 36.6 million with 19.2 million boys and 17.4 million girls. The girls constitute 47.6 per cent of the enrolment. As per the report, the GER (Gross Enrolment Ratio) in higher education for male population is 26.3 per cent and for the female population is 25.4 per cent.
This survey comes in the backdrop of a recent World Bank report saying that not educating girls or creating barriers in their school education globally costs between USD 15 to USD 30 trillion. As per the report ‘Missed Opportunities: The High Cost of Not Educating Girls’ released in July, it was stated that the loss in human capital wealth incurred today because many adult women did not benefit in their youth from universal secondary education (defined as 12 years of schooling) is estimated to range between USD 15 trillion to USD 30 trillion globally.
Meanwhile, in another significant change, there has been an increase of over 1.20 lakh candidates for the 2017-2018 session in the age of 18-23 years. It also shows a rising enrolment of OBC category students while a decline in the general category.

According to the survey, distribution of enrolment for general category students has declined from 49.9 per cent in 2013-14 to 45.4% in 2017-18. The growth in enrolment of SC, ST students is marginal, but for OBC students, the mark has gone up to 35 % in 2017-18 from 32.4 % in 2013.
Also, the best for average pupil-teacher ratio was recorded in Karnataka which has one teacher for every 16 students, followed by Andhra Pradesh with 1 for 18. Bihar ranked lowest in the category along with Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand with one teacher for 50 students.

Survey Confirms What We Already Knew: Untouchability Still Exists In 21st Century India

A survey conducted by Video Volunteers with the SC/ST community in India reaffirms a fact everyone knows, but few talk about – discrimination exists and more than 50% of the respondents have experienced it in its most crass form – untouchability.

India is one of the few former colonies of the world that has progressed so far as to become the second-fastest growing economy in the world, along with being projected as a future superpower. Socially, however, India’s progress has not been as steep and stark. Its society continues to remain in the tight grip of patriarchy and caste – two dominant features that continue to determine how far one can go socially, economically and politically. However, unlike patriarchy that is finally being challenged at least by the apparent ‘elite’ somewhat discernibly (even if only verbosely), caste still remains that dirty laundry in modern India which no one likes to acknowledge publicly – not even the elite, the educated, the sensitised, and the ones who project themselves as saviours. The pre-independence Dalit movement, that was started by Dr B.R Ambedkar, has largely been kept alive by Dalits themselves.
Through a Video Volunteers survey conducted by its Community Correspondents with 490 people from the SC/ST community in nine states, it was recorded that 64% of the respondents have experienced discrimination or atrocities in some form, thus confirming it as a pandemic.
The survey confirms that there is no space for us to, even for a second, assume that untouchability and other discriminatory practices against members of the SC/ST communities ended when the Constitution abolished it as a practice in 1950 through Article 17. In order to actualise the intention of the law, it is necessary for law enforcement and social sensitisation to work concurrently. “The Statement of Objects and Reasons” of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2013, acknowledges that the bill was initially brought into force to prevent atrocities against the SC/ST community, and was amended in 2013 because ‘atrocities…continue at a disturbing level’.
The survey was rolled out among the network of 250 correspondents to relay to a wider audience that caste-hierarchy and discrimination continue to fuel inequality in Indian society. When the SC/ST Act was enacted and amended, it was done in order to slowly eliminate the roadblocks placed in front of the people of the SC/ST communities to support them in leading an equal and dignified life as citizens of India, as promised by the Constitution. However, the survey provides a compact glimpse into the ground realities that 26% of the country’s population (the SC/ST communities) lives with (as per the 2011 census).
The Video Volunteers survey in Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh reveals that 45% people from the SC/ST communities have experienced untouchability – the crassest form of discrimination that challenges one’s right to a dignified and respectful life. The survey also reveals that 15% faced verbal abuse, 12% said they had experienced physical violence, 10% were denied access to public places including schools and temples, 7% were denied an economic opportunity, and 1% had been raped or had experienced other forms of sexual assault.
However, it is necessary here to take into account the sample size of this survey and diversity of respondents – 43% women were surveyed as opposed to 57% men. According to the National Crimes Record Bureau, the second largest category of crimes committed against people from the SC/ST communities are crimes against women. These crimes include rape, kidnapping, and insult to modesty, among others.
After a conversation with Ramlal Baiga, a Community Correspondent who surveyed 18 people in his village of Takhatpur in Madhya Pradesh’s Umariya district, it became even more evident why the people surveyed recorded untouchability as the form of discrimination they had faced the most. While conducting the survey, he found that most people only regarded untouchability as discrimination because of their caste. The people he surveyed thought other forms of discrimination were because of their “rehen-sehen” (the way they live) and not necessarily because of the caste or tribe they belong to. In order to challenge and eliminate caste, it will be important to show the people who are held back for the caste they belong to, the face of caste and the different masks it can wear.
The survey on caste-based discrimination and atrocities also reveals that only 21% of those who had faced some form of discrimination filed a report with the police. This doesn’t come as a shocking revelation because raising one’s voice corresponds to vulnerability to social boycott, physical violence, or losing one’s source of income.
One of the respondents, Naresh Mittal (name changed), a retired Income Tax officer, told Community Correspondent Jahanara Ansari (who conducted the survey in Gwalior), that he would be given tasks beyond his profile and his work timings would be monitored more than his co-workers. He was, however, afraid of raising his voice against his employer because he feared losing his job. Another respondent reported facing a similar kind of discrimination to Jahanara. Alka Kumar (name changed) who is a Public Administration professor at a college in Gwalior, is constantly held back from important tasks, which has stalled the progress of her career. She, too, is afraid of speaking up because of the consequences that might follow – losing her job. These stories sound all too familiar – top-tier position in most organisations are held by ‘upper-caste’ men, which can place people from ‘lower-castes’ and women in a disempowered position.
Of the small number of people who did report going to the police, 63% said that the response of the police was not helpful. According to the 2016 National Crime Records Bureau report, of the 1.44 lakh cases of atrocities registered against people from SC communities, and the 24, 408 cases registered against people from the ST communities that were brought to trial in 2016, only 10% culminated in a verdict, and only one-fourth of those in convictions – whereas the number of incidences of crime/atrocities against the SC communities in 2016 alone was 40,801, and 6,568 against people of the ST communities. Just as both the formal and informal sector is dominated by ‘upper-caste’ men who mostly lack sensitisation, one of the building blocks of a democracy, the police too is dominated by ‘upper-caste’ men, and they may refuse to support a person f
rom the SC or ST communities.
On March 20, 2018, the Supreme Court passed a verdict that led to Bharat Bandh protests spearheaded by the Dalit community in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, among others. The court placed limitations on the immediate arrests of a public servant or a common citizen accused by a member of the SC/ST communities. This, the people fear, will make it all the more difficult for an SC/ST person to seek justice – a road that is already filled with hardships for the average Indian, let alone one from a marginalised background. Ironically, the same ‘Statement of Objects and Reasons’, of the 2013 amendment bill of the Atrocities Act, acknowledged the hurdles faced by the communities while trying to attain justice.
For the first time, the latest NCRB report (2016) included a section on crimes against the SC/ST communities in 19 metropolitan cities. Lucknow recorded 262 incidences of crimes/atrocities against people from the SC communities, Bengaluru recorded 207, and Hyderabad, 169. These are the leading metropolitan cities of India, marketed as modern – but these numbers go to show that their modernity only extends as far and high as their buildings.
If a Dalit or Adivasi cannot feel safe, secure and equally included in cities that are breathing with apparently educated and sensitised people, then the gravity of the situation can only be grasped like quicksand – especially in disconnected rural villages, where voices are dimmed and heard only so often.

Article by Shreya Kalra, a member of the VV Editorial Team.

 European gypsies share common ancestors, reveal researches

The revelation on common ancestory of Indian Dalits and European gypsies is a strak finding.
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Indian dalits and gypsy populations in Europe may not appear to have anything in common apart from the fact that both still face discrimination in the society. Now two new studies have found a possible reason for this- they have common ancestors.

In fact, Domas of India are the forefathers of European gypsies. Until now historians and anthropologists have believed that gypsies have Eurasian origins and most probably originated from Egypt.

"Our genetic lineage study demolishes this theory and proves that gypsies known as Romanis actually are descendants of Domas who have inhabited the Gangetic plain for centuries now," said Dr Gyaneshwer Chaubey of Tartu University, Estonia, and a member of the research team that included scientists from Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology(CCMB) and University of Bern, Switzerland.

The Y chromosome is inherited from father to son, son to grandson, and so on. This means that all males of a family or a population evolved from a single founder male possess the same Y chromosome.
Dr Gyaneshwer Chaubey
Dr Gyaneshwer Chaubey is the man behind the research.

Based on genetic signatures that exist on Y chromosome, every male could be assigned to a specific group. This helps in tracing paternal lineage.

Researchers screened about 10,000 males from around the world including 7,000 belonging to 205 ethnic populations of India, to discern a more precise ancestral source of Gypsies.

"The result of this genetic analysis showed that aboriginal scheduled tribes and scheduled caste populations of northwestern India, traditionally called Doma, are the most likely ancestral populations of modern European Roma," Dr Kumarasamy Thangaraj of CCMB said.

This study estimates Roma founders dispersed from India about 1405 years ago.

The second study, published last week , by another group has also concluded that Romanis migrated into Europe 1,500 years ago, much earlier than previously thought, from a single population in northern India but does not specify Domas as the originators.

"We were interested in exploring the population history of European Romani because they constitute an important fraction of the European population, but their marginalised situation in many countries also seems to have affected their visibility in scientific studies," said David Comas, of the Institut de Biologia Evolutiva at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Spain.

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