Categories Anthropology II

II.7.1.3 Problems of exploitation and deprivation of Other Backward Classes

Problems of defining OBC. Constitution neither define nor list OBCs – Only mentions Socially, educationally , economically backward classes.

Backwardness as an indication of the status of an individual has not been clearly defined by the Constitution. However the term Backwardness is used in this thesis as a scale of comparative status of a given social group for the purpose of providing certain opportunities and benefits.
Backwardness explained in case of a group may apply to the comparative status of a whole caste in the social hierarchy, or of a group of people who are comparatively at a lower status though they may belong to a variety of castes.
Thus backwardness indicates the lower representation of a group in Government Services, lower social status and lower educational levels.”

Using caste as the basis to prepeare the list though the term mentions Other backward class. The term ‘class’ is associated with economic category and indicates an ‘open’ status group. By contrast, the backward classes in India form an aggregate of ‘closed’ status groups.

The term “backward classes” has been used in terms of weaker sections of society, particularly the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes. The term has also been used to designate any other backward classes. In the beginning, after India’s Independence, the term “backward classes” had a less fixed and definite reference. It has a variety of referents. Earlier the term “depressed classes” was used for the “untouchables” and other backward groups. It is certainly a fact that the backward classes are above the ex-untouchable groups and below the twice-born castes. They need special protection and help for the economic and social upliftment.

In 1948 it was visualised that a Backward Classes Commission be appointed to go through the whole of the country to find out which Castes of Hindus, Muslims, etc., were really backward according to certain standards – educational, social, economic, etc.

Even before the implementation of the Constitution, the notion of Backward Classes existed; referring to the groups between the top and the bottom strata of society based on their economic and educational backwardness.

Backwardness is considered an attribute of a group and not of an individual. Membership to these “backward classes” is determined by birth, like for all other caste groups. In theory, Backward classes may include individuals who are educationally and economically well off. Since some castes have been designated as “backward” by the Government, they are entitled to get certain benefits and facilities. The Backward Classes are, thus, large and complex constellation of groups and individuals.

  • 1.  Illiteracy : The OBCs have very less literacy rate as compared to other people.
  • 2.  Discrimination : The OBCs also face social discrimination.
  • 3.  Poverty : Most of the OBCs are engaged blue collar jobs and thus debt in poverty.
  • 4.  No Representation : The OBCs also lack political representation and representation in service sector.
  • 5.  Lack of Infrastructure : lack of infrastructure and hygienic facilities is another problem


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