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By Ajay Kumar

Caste has always been at the centre of conflicts in our country. It is understood that there is always some kind of cultural, economical and political clash of interests behind these conflicts. These conflicts revolve around establishing dominance on the one hand, and on the other hand, they have also appeared as a struggle against deprivation.

The present study tries to understand the relationship between experiences of conflict and children's education with special focus on caste conflict. This research ties to explore the impact of caste conflict on children vis-a-vis adult-child hierarchical relation. It further probes into the nature and role of children's education in situations of conflict. Caste conflict evolves with a dynamics of conflicting issues, like displacement, poverty, hunger etc. as well as the explicit issues of violence, untouchability, reservation and communalism etc, which operates at a covert level.

The understanding of conflict and its impact on children's education has been dominated and shaped by the adults in a hegemonically organized society. Earlier studies have highlighted on social, political and economical context of this conflict but have totally neglected children's experience of conflict and its impact on their sociological and psychological development.

The objectives of the study are:

  • To underline the character of various forms and tendencies of caste conflict, as experienced by children.
  • To examine the nature and interrelationship of caste conflict and other institutions like family, village and school with respect to children.
  • To enquire into "caste conflict" inherent in community, schooling and curriculum.
  • To underline the dynamics of caste conflict underlying the construction of childhood.

(For the Executive Summary, contact research@negfire.org)