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Caste in modern India June 29, 2011

Posted by sandygordon in : Gordon, Sandy, India , comments closed

Sandy Gordon

The idea that nation states possess a ‘strategic culture’ that directs their actions on the world stage was once popular.  George Tanham of Rand Corporation claimed that India’s international outlook was shaped by the hierarchical attitude deriving from caste and from the then brahmin domination of key institutions.  (Indian Strategic Thought: An Interpretative Essay, Rand, 1992).

Even today, it is common to associate India’s ‘culture of corruption’ with the sense of entitlement produced by familial and caste loyalties – loyalties that are said to trump objective service to the state of the Weberian kind. The watchdogs of the state intended to deal with such abuses are allegedly also beholden to the hierarchical structure of society and hence reluctant to bring high status offenders to book.  (See for example, B. R. Lall, a former Joint Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation, in his book: Who Owns CBI?)

For many years now lower caste workers have migrated from rural areas to factories and workshops in India’s cities like Mumbai