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The caste of merit : engineering education in India / Ajantha Subramanian.

By: Subramanian, Ajantha, 1969- [author.].
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: Cambridge, Massachusetts : Harvard University Press, 2019Description: 374 pages : 25 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9780674247550 (hbk.).Subject(s): Caste -- India | Caste-based discrimination -- India | Discrimination in education -- India | Educational equalization -- IndiaDDC classification: 305.51220954 SUB
Contents:
The colonial career of technical knowledge -- Building the IITs -- Challenging hierarchies of value in Madras -- IIT Madras's 1960s generation -- Testing merit -- Contesting reservations -- Brand IIT.
Summary: Just as those who have been least disadvantaged by their racial identity often announce that Americans live in a post-racial era, those who have historically benefited from their caste affiliation rush to declare that India is a post-caste nation. In The Caste of Merit, Ajantha Subramanian addresses the controversial relationships between technical education and caste formation and economic stratification in modern India. Through a series of in-depth studies of the elite Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-the institutions Nehru once described as modern India's new temples-she explains that caste has not disappeared from India. On the contrary, it has acquired a kind of disturbing invisibility. Caste is now borne by the lower castes who invoke their affiliation in the public, political arena to claim resources from the state. The upper castes, by contrast, treat such discussions as backward and embarrassing. Caste privilege, Subramanian argues, is certainly working in India. But it has been transformed by a new discourse of "merit." Reservations or quotas for historically disadvantaged groups, much like affirmative action in the United States, are a subject of great import in India. Admission to colleges and employment in the public sector are two of the most hotly debated subjects when it comes to quotas. Meanwhile, lynchings, gang rapes, ritual humiliation, and political intimidation of low-caste Indians appear in newspaper headlines and on social media timelines with frightening regularity. It is within this dangerous context that Subramanian's provocative and empirically based argument about the dominance of Brahmins in the Indian Institutes of Technology must be read.--
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Item type Current location Call number Status Date due Barcode
Book Book Indian Institute for Human Settlements, Bangalore
305.51220954 SUB 015132 (Browse shelf) Available 015132

Includes bibliographical references and index.

The colonial career of technical knowledge -- Building the IITs -- Challenging hierarchies of value in Madras -- IIT Madras's 1960s generation -- Testing merit -- Contesting reservations -- Brand IIT.

Just as those who have been least disadvantaged by their racial identity often announce that Americans live in a post-racial era, those who have historically benefited from their caste affiliation rush to declare that India is a post-caste nation. In The Caste of Merit, Ajantha Subramanian addresses the controversial relationships between technical education and caste formation and economic stratification in modern India. Through a series of in-depth studies of the elite Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-the institutions Nehru once described as modern India's new temples-she explains that caste has not disappeared from India. On the contrary, it has acquired a kind of disturbing invisibility. Caste is now borne by the lower castes who invoke their affiliation in the public, political arena to claim resources from the state. The upper castes, by contrast, treat such discussions as backward and embarrassing. Caste privilege, Subramanian argues, is certainly working in India. But it has been transformed by a new discourse of "merit." Reservations or quotas for historically disadvantaged groups, much like affirmative action in the United States, are a subject of great import in India. Admission to colleges and employment in the public sector are two of the most hotly debated subjects when it comes to quotas. Meanwhile, lynchings, gang rapes, ritual humiliation, and political intimidation of low-caste Indians appear in newspaper headlines and on social media timelines with frightening regularity. It is within this dangerous context that Subramanian's provocative and empirically based argument about the dominance of Brahmins in the Indian Institutes of Technology must be read.--

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