Battle of the Castes

For centuries a rigid caste system governed social mobility among Hindus in India. High-ranked Brahman priests, for example, were forbidden to share food, water or even shadows with Dalits-sweepers and laborers often called "outcastes" or "untouchables." When India became independent in 1947, untouchability was officially abolished, and in 1990 authorities reserved 22% of state university places and at least 12.5% of government jobs for Dalits and members of the lower castes. But caste continues to haunt India. Last week the government reserved an additional 27% of university seats for groups that are officially known as the Other Backward Classes (OBCs),...

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