Patterns of Social Inequality and Exclusion

Patterns of Social Inequality and Exclusion

Question

Explain the term other Backward classes.

Answer

Other Backward Classes comprise the untouchables, lower and intermediary castes who were traditionally engaged in agricultural, animal husbandry and handicrafts services. Caste rank and occupation are the main criteria by which they are considered backward. The OBCs are above the so-called untouchable groups and below the twice born castes (i.e. Brahman, Ksathiya and Vaisya).

The OBCs don't constitute a homogenous category. There are many divisions within the overall category. Andre Betteille considers peasants castes as the core of the backward classes. In India, backwardness is viewed as an attribute not of individuals but of communities which are by their nature, self-perpetuating. The other Backward classes are a residual and highly ambiguous category.

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