The Persistence of Caste

The Khairlanji Murders and India's Hidden Apartheid

Anand Teltumbde


While the caste system has been formally abolished under the Indian constitution, according to official statistics, every 18 minutes a crime is committed in India on a member of the dalit caste. This book explodes the myth that caste is a feudal relic, and argues that it has been well assimilated by both capitalist India and globalising India.
While the caste system has been formally abolished under the Indian Constitution, according to official statistics, every eighteen minutes a crime is committed in India on a dalit-untouchable.

The Persistence of Caste uses the shocking case of Khairlanji, the brutal murder of four members of a dalit family in 2006, to explode the myth that caste no longer matters. In this exposé, Anand Teltumbde locates the crime within the political economy of post-Independence India and across the global Indian diaspora. This book demonstrates how caste has shown amazing resilience - surviving feudalism, capitalist industrialization and a republican constitution - to still be alive and well today, despite all denial, under neoliberal globalization.

This insightful new analysis not only provides a fascinating introduction to the issue of caste in a globalized world, but also sharpens our understanding of caste dynamics as they really exist.

Author Bio

Anand Teltumbde is a human rights activist, writer, commentator and analyst of the contemporary dalit and left movements.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Introduction: Caste: A Historical Outline
  • 2. Beyond Varna: Caste in the 21st Century
  • 3. The Political Economy: The Shaping of the Macabre Spectacle
  • 4. Anti-Atrocity Law: Mitigation and its Malcontents
  • 5. The Khairlanji Murders: Genealogy and Aftermath
  • 6. Post-Khairlanji: A Chronicle of Repression
  • 7. Mass Media: Massive Prejudice
  • 8. Atrocities by the State: Neoliberalism, Naxalism and Dalits
  • 9. Exploding Myths: Globalisation, Civil Society and the Bahujan


'Anand Teltumbde's analysis of the public, ritualist massacre of a dalit family in 21st century India exposes the gangrenous heart of Indian society. This is not a book about the last days of relict feudalism, but a book about what modernity means in India.'
Arundhati Roy

'Every foreigner, who does not see how odious the caste system is, must read this.'
Samir Amin


Publication Date: 14 October 2010
224 pages

Not available in: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781848134492
Hardback: 9781848134485

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