This refers to the article “Caste, corruption and romanticism” (March 22). M.N. Srinivas contributed to understanding social mobility in a caste-based society at a time when lower caste assertion was not aggressive. The route chosen was one of imitating the upper castes. There can be no doubt that since then, much transformation has taken place in Indian society. Western education, urbanisation and globalisation coupled with laws empowering the SCs, the STs and women have changed the discourse.

Hierarchy in a society cannot be wished away if it has to be functional. The circulation of the Elites theory has given way to identity politics in the post-modern era. It may be more meaningful to focus on identity politics jostling for a share of entitlements than harping on the empty categories of caste, which since Independence have served more as an instrument of political bargaining. There appears to be resistance among a few in understanding the changed face of India. It is time to let go of traditional antagonisms and re-examine Indian society as it actually exists today.

B. Vijayalakshmi,


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