Reservations, Exclusion, and Conflict: Some Insights from Mandal and Mysore

Publication Type:

Journal Articles


Narendar Pani


India Review, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC, Volume 9, Number 4, p.397–424 (2010)



Caste-based reservations (quotas) in government jobs and admissions to educational institutions in India have been associated with bouts of sometimes intense social conflict. The debate about this conflict has focused primarily on the case for and against reservations per se. Even when variations have been noticed in the degree of conflict generated by reservations across regions, the tendency has been to attribute the differences to local social conditions. Very little attention has been paid to the question of whether the type of reservations implemented in each region influences the nature and extent of conflict. This article attempts to answer this question by comparing the Mandal Commission Report with the experience of princely Mysore, and later Karnataka. Abstracting from these experiences, the article develops two concepts: reservations with exclusion and reservations without exclusion. It goes on to argue that reservations with exclusion create greater conflict.


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