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Designed to Fail? Foundations of the Laws on Caste in India, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and the United Nations

Principal Investigator: Dr Prakash Shah, Reader in Culture and Law, Queen Mary University of London
Co-Applicants: Dr Dunkin Jalki, Director, Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Humanities and Social Sciences, Shri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara Educational Society, Ujure; Dr Sufiya Pathan, Associate Professor, Shri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara Educational Society, Ujure

Abstract:
The UK, the EU and the the UN have recently adopted processes to consider whether and how to address caste in legislation that recognises it as a form of discrimination. Contrary to popular belief, these developments do not take place in the context of a lack of legislation on caste in countries like India. In fact, caste legislation in India goes back 150 years and has been widened and strengthened consistently over the past 70 years of Indian independence. Ironically, the strengthening of caste legislation has seemingly gone hand in hand with the deepening of caste conflicts in India. If international legislation addressing caste is to succeed, it must answer why Indian legislation has failed. In examining the presuppositions that have led to the formulation of laws on caste at cross-jurisdictional and international levels, this project reorients research on caste and law.

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