Dissecting caste discrimination in Indian universities from admissions to placements: Part 1 - IITs | Data Point podcast

Data reveals that despite receiving hundreds of PhD applications, some IITs and many departments hardly accepted any candidates from SC/ST/OBC PhD backgrounds. In this episode, The Hindu, in conversation with Ajantha Subramanian, dissects the caste bias at entry, exit and during the course at IITs.

Updated - June 30, 2023 07:37 pm IST

Published - October 20, 2022 11:53 am IST

In July, The Hindu’s data team published a story that revealed major disparities in the admission rate of PhD candidates from Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and Other backward classes backgrounds. Data released by the Lok Sabha found that in nine IITs, across India, the acceptance rate for SC/ST/OBC PhD candidates was at or below 8%, despite all of these universities receiving hundreds of applications.

This is happening despite having reservations in place. What is going on behind the scenes at India’s top universities and how did this kind of structural and systemic form of discrimination ferment itself into higher education? This is the first episode of a two-part series, examining this caste-based discrimination, and the impact it has.

Guest: Ajantha Subramanian, Professor of Anthropology and South Asian Studies at Harvard University; author of “The Caste of Merit: Engineering Education in India,” which tracks the relationship between meritocracy and democracy in India, in order to understand the production of merit as a form of caste property and its implications for democratic transformation.

Production credit: Sonikka Loganathan

Listen to more Data Point podcasts:

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.