Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

William Ascher

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With the changing significance of caste and caste identity, this thesis explores the role of affirmative action or "reservations" in Indian higher education. Specifically, it aims to reopen the debate on the dominance of a "creamy layer" among the OBCs in an increasingly nationalist India. Viewing caste through the lens of ethnic identity, this thesis draws comparisons between the identity of OBCs and Scheduled Castes and Tribes, OBCs of the "Hindi Belt" and OBCs of the South, followed by an analysis of the politicization of caste identity today. The thesis concludes with an evaluation of affirmative action today and possible policy avenues that the State must prioritize.