News & Events

The NLS Public Lecture Series | Book Talk | Caste Pride: Battles for Equality in Hindu India (Westland 2023).


Room No. 301, 2nd Floor, OAB


Thursday, May 18, 2023, 5:00 pm

On May 18, there will be a Public Lecture by our guest speaker, Mr. Manoj Mitta, who will be delivering a talk on his recently published book, Caste Pride: Battles for Equality in Hindu India (Westland 2023).

About the Speaker:

Manoj Mitta is a Delhi-based journalist focusing on law, human rights and social justice. A law graduate from Hyderabad, he has worked with the Times of India, the Indian Express and IndiaToday. Mitta has written two critically acclaimed books on impunity for mass violence: When a Tree Shook Delhi: The 1984 Carnage and Its Aftermath, co-authored with H.S. Phoolka (2007), and The Fiction of Fact-finding: Modi and Godhra (2014). His article on caste was published in 2007 in Writing a Nation: An Anthology of Indian Journalism, edited by Nirmala Lakshman.

Book Abstract :

In this masterful volume, Manoj Mitta uses the lens of the law in an eye-opening examination of the endurance and violence of the Hindu caste system. Linking centuries of legal reform with social movements, he unearths the characters, speeches, confusions and decisions that have shaped the battle on caste hierarchy into one that seeks to mitigate the ways in which this ancient system discriminated between Hindus in their daily lives: where they could live, how they could dress, whether they could go to a shop, a stream, walk a street or mingle, enter a temple, who and how they could marry, whether their actions, innocent or criminal, would attract punishment or impunity.

Describing brilliantly the passage of Hinduism into its modern avatar, the book celebrates women and men across the caste spectrum—leading lights Savitribai Phule, M.C. Rajah, R. Veerian, B.R. Ambedkar, Vithalbhai Patel and others—and outside of the caste system, such as non-Hindu legislators and administrators including Maneckji Dadabhoy, William Bentinck and Lord Willingdon. It re-examines the positions of stalwarts such as Motilal Nehru, Thomas Munro, Mahatma Gandhi and C. Rajagopalachari, and shows why caste prejudice cleaves to names like Madan Mohan Malviya and Surendra Nath Banerjea.

Through these histories of reform, Mitta establishes that untouchability is merely the best-known aspect of the caste system, an elusive purity-based hierarchy that affects the freedoms of all. Studded with groundbreaking discoveries and stunning insights, Caste Pride is at once moving, enlightening and transformative.

The event is open to all. We look forward to seeing you at the session!