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India linkage: US-India relations, Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, caste system and more

9 November 2012 09:46

Danielle Rajendram is a Research Associate in the Lowy Institute's International Security Program whose work focuses on India and China-India relations.

Social relations in India have long been defined by the peculiar tenets of Hinduism’s hierarchical caste system. But according to a recent study, the social inequalities that have historically defined relations between Dalits (lower castes) and non-Dalits have declined precipitously in the market-reform era. Indeed, India now boasts a talented crop of “Dalit millionaires” who have formed their own Dalit Chamber of Commerce. Moreover, several groups have benefitted from reservations (or ethnic quotas) in government jobs, higher education, and political representation.

Yet caste hierarchies are alive and well in other areas...