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EDITORIAL ANALYSIS: The democratization of India, the Mandal way


Source: The Hindu


  • Prelims:Parliament-Structure, organization and functioning, article 340, tribes, 73rd and 74th amendment etc
  • Mains GS Paper II:Parliament- structure, functioning and conduct of Business etc



  • The socio-political movement that led to this phenomenon known as “Mandal” has dramatically changed the demographic diversity of people’s representatives.
  • Book:The Age of Kali: by William Dalrymple




Mandal Commission:

  • Article 340: The President appointed a backward class commission in December 1978 under the chairmanship of B. P. Mandal.
  • Socially and educationally backward classes: It was formed to determine the criteria for defining India’s “socially and educationally backward classes” and to recommend steps to be taken for the advancement of those classes.
  • Reservation: The Mandal Commission concluded that India’s population consisted of approximately 52 percent OBCs, therefore 27% government jobs should be reserved for them.
  • Indicators for backwardness: The commission has developed eleven indicators of social, educational, and economic backwardness.
  • Backward classes among non-Hindus:Apart from identifying backward classes among Hindus, the Commission has also identified backward classes among non-Hindus (e.g., Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, and Buddhists.


The social justice revolutionaries of modern India:

  • Jyotiba Phule
  • Savitribai Phule
  • Sahuji Maharaj
  • Periyar

After independence:

  • R. Ambedkar


The depressed classes(Dalits) and tribals(Adivasis):

  • Listed as Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes by 1935.
  • The benefits of reservation in education and employment: In proportion to their population were adopted by the Constitution.


Evolution of Backward class reservations:

  • Article 340 of the Constitution resulted in two Backward Classes commissions:
    • Kalelkar Commission (1953-1955)(did not yield anything)
    • Mandal Commission (1978-80)(led to mandal movement)
  • The announcement of implementation of mandal provisions: 27%reservation for the Other Backward Classes (OBC) in the central services in 1990.
  • The 73rd and 74th Amendments: It furthered the idea of social justice by extending reservation benefits to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and OBCs.
  • Higher education: In 2006, reservations were extended to OBC candidates in institutions of higher learning.

Negative impact of Mandal Commission:

  • Mandal parties: They  installed communal mobilisations and hate mongering by the right wing.
  • Government in Uttar Pradesh: It ordered the police to fire at kar sevaks assembled in Ayodhya near the Babri Masjid.

How to Preserve secularism?

  • Fraternity: Secularism needs to be situated within the perspective of “Fraternity” as enshrined in the ‘Preamble’ of the Constitution.
  • Instilling confidence: In the minority communities.


Way Forward

  • No religious barrier: Mandal” has been the identifying of socially and educationally backward castes and communities by not letting religion become a barrier.
  • Homogeneous monolith: The consciousness generated by Mandal demolished a perception about Indian Muslims being a homogenous monolith.
  • Emergence of Pasmanda: The churning around Mandal also led to the emergence of a pasmanda (backward in Persian) movement among backward Muslims demanding democratization and representation.
  • The Mandal report fairly recognised: large section of Muslims and Christians who converted from Hinduism, but with a majority of them continuing with their earlier caste-based occupations.
  • Aspirations of lower caste:more accommodative towards the aspirations of the lower castes such as the economically backward classes or most backward classes
  • Political inclusion: forging alliances with parties championing Dalit and Adivasi agendas
  • Quota within quota: In the women’s reservation Bill which is still pending.
    • Fielding more women candidates from the marginalised communities.



  1. Whether the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) can enforce the implementation of constitutional reservation for the Scheduled Castes in the religious minority institutions? Examine.(UPSC 2018)

(200 WORDS, 10 MARKS)