From Taipei Times:
Enraged mobs from one of India’s myriad lower castes blocked roads with fiery barricades, stoned police and battled rival castes across a wide swath of northern India for a week to make a single, simple point: They want to be even lower.
With 25 people dead, the unrest spread to the fringes of the capital before the Gujjars — a class of farmers and shepherds — called off their protests.
They did so only after officials agreed to consider their demand to be officially shunted to the lowest rung of India’s complex hereditary caste system, so they can get government jobs and university spots reserved for such groups….
Discrimination under the system was outlawed soon after independence from Britain in 1947, but its influence remains powerful and the government has sought to redress discrimination against those on the lower rungs by setting up quotas for government jobs and university spots.
But instead of weakening caste affiliations, the result has been a fracturing of politics along caste lines, with each of the lower groups vying for its share of the quotas….
“Nowhere in the world do castes queue up to be branded as backward,” [the Indian Supreme Court] said. “Nowhere in the world is there a competition to become backward.”
Oh, they’re already backward all right. They just want to make it official and gain more special privileges. Can’t say I’m surprised, given the perverse incentives offered by the Indian government’s affirmative action programs.
Hat tip to David Bernstein of The Vololkh Conspiracy.