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The chapter discusses how the Indian state’s efforts to bring Dalits to parity with other groups in society have yielded results that are more a continuity than a change. Academic discourse assumes that caste is birth-based and hence to be eradicated, while class is desirable as it can be acquired. Electoral politics and affirmative action help caste to remain a force. While promising its beneficiaries economic mobility, affirmative action mandates that they brandish their social inferiority to qualify for benefits. Though only a minority of Dalits practice polluting occupations, all Dalits are stigmatized as a result. Even the media’s depiction of Dalits as sweepers or cobblers reinforces the negative stereotypes of Dalits. Another complication is that many Dalit are not only comfortable with their caste identity but are proud of being Dalits. Is Indian society egalitarian enough to admit those Dalits who enter class because of their merit?

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