Study reveals caste-based segregation in Bengaluru -Mohit M Rao
In 40% of blocks, SC/ST community constitutes less than 5% of residents
Bengaluru: A first-of-its-kind snapshot of the distribution of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes community in the city reveals a patchwork of caste-segregated neighbourhoods where socio-economically backward castes are ghettoised.
Older areas such as Malleswaram or Basavanagudi exhibit a caste-based pattern, perhaps due to urban planning where caste segregation was inculcated by design a century ago.
Stark in newer areas
However, this divide is equally stark in newer areas where unequal economic growth is driving segregation, shows the study by Indian Institute of Management-Bengaluru researchers Naveen Bharathi, Deepak Malghan and Andaleeb Rahman.
At the base of the study is Census 2011, which shows that 13.21% of the city’s inhabitants are from the SC/ST community.
This population was enumerated for each of the 198 wards as well as for 16,019 census blocks of the city.
For researchers, block-level data gives a peek into the micro-landscape of segregation, as while a ward can have up to 1 lakh people of diverse backgrounds, a block has just 125 households with nearly 700 residents.
The study, Isolated by Caste: Neighbourhood-Scale Residential Segregation in Indian Metros, shows the spatial segregation of this population within blocks: in nearly 40% of blocks, the SC/ST community constitutes less than 5% of all residents.
While this shows inherent exclusion, on the other side, nearly 10% of the blocks shows a ‘high’ congregation of SC/ST population (that is, more than 35% of the residents here were from socio-economically backward classes).
Consequently, the Gini Index, a statistical tool that captures inequity, shows Bengaluru as highly unequal.
The city has a Gini Index of 0.62, which though better than other Indian metros, is still on the higher end of the spectrum (0 being ideal with no segregation, and 1 being complete segregation).
“There is a myth that cities are caste-free spaces and caste segregation exists only in rural areas. But data clearly shows that there is segregation across the city. Lower castes are being ghettoised into pockets,” says Mr. Bharathi who undertook the project at IIMB.
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