Understanding Caste System
A Survey of Popular Writings on Caste Violence

A study supported and sponsored by the Centre for Education and Documentation, Bangalore, under its Outreach Scholarship programme.

October 2006

compiled by Dunkin Jalki
Research Scholar
CSCS, Bangalore 11


Our contemporary understanding of caste violence is afflicted to a great extent by our faulty and unscientific understanding of the caste system in India. As a consequence, this essay argues, we have not been able to even understand the nature of the violence in our society, leave alone finding solutions for it. The nature of the writings on caste, which this essay ies to analyse, confirms this fact.

The dearth of our understanding of the so called ‘caste violence’ in our society is evident nowhere as clearly as in the reports produced by the NGOs and the committees/commissions appointed by the state governments in India on the atrocities on the Dalits. This research makes a survey of these reports and other popular writings such as articles published in magazines, newsletters, and newspapers, and other documents produced for private circulation by various governmental and non-governmental agencies. This survey tries to show that in the future only if we breakup the explanatory cluster called caste theories we will be able to deal with some of the atrocities and violence in our society, in a better way.


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Financial Support: Sir Ratan Tata Trust