From Minority to Backward

Rochana Bajpai

in Debating Difference

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780198067504
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080410 | DOI:
From Minority to Backward

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That legislative and employment quotas for religious minorities in India were eventually withdrawn from the constitution and quotas for ‘backward classes’ retained, albeit in a weaker form, is entirely consistent with the normative resources for group-differentiated rights in nationalist discourse. As the deliberations of the Constituent Assembly unfolded, the nationalist vocabulary expanded to become the new legitimating framework of the polity, the language in which all political argument was conducted. During the Constituent Assembly debates, and in part through the process of debating, both the institutional forms of group rights and the discursive frame of the Indian polity came to be realigned: nationalists were able to translate their dominance into hegemony. This is established through an analytical reconstruction of positions in debates over three key institutional mechanisms for group rights: legislative quotas, employment quotas, and cultural and educational rights.

Keywords: Constituent Assembly; nationalist vocabulary; legislative quotas; employment quotas; cultural rights; educational rights; religious minorities

Chapter.  21331 words. 

Subjects: Indian Politics

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