The Politics of Backwardness: Reservation Policy in India

Centre for Policy Research

India has taken a series of steps following the report of the Backward Classes Commission popularly known as the Mandal Conmmission in the 1990s. The Mandalisation of’ the country since around 1990 especially in the Hindi heartland has had a profound effect on the Indian polity and the Indian economy. It has been essentially a journey into backwardness.

The Politics of Backwardness is the central theme of the present book. Mandalisation is not a new theme in India. Many states in the South began the process in earlier times. Some before independence and some after. The Mandal Commission Report and the actions taken after 1990 have made the politics of backwardness a major national phenomenon. The principal architects of this policy have advocated a transfer of power to the backwards. This political development was in many ways inevitable given the notion of the electoral politics of the country.

However the backlash of this politics of backwardness has affected the vitals of the Indian state. In 1997, the Home Miinister of India stated in the Parliament that Uttar Pradesh, the epicentre of the movement along with Bihar, was ‘moving towards “anarchy, chaos and destruction”. The present book presents both sets of views on the issue of the reservation policy. Its basic objective is to help better understanding of the process of the reservation policy in India, and its merits and demerits.

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