Society and Identity
Ram Manohar Lohia (1910-1967), an India politician and thinker, has been well known in India as a champion of backward castes in the politics of north India. He has been remembered, especially, as a person who originated the movement for the Other Backward Classes (OBC) reservation, in which he claimed the necessity of positive actions not only for the Scheduled Castes (SC) and the Scheduled Tribes (ST) but also for the OBC. However, it has been hardly known that, in fact, he had a sharp awareness of the possible dangers of affirmative actions. Also, that he worked hard for overcoming the discriminations against women and against religious minorities has been overlooked. Moreover, there have been very few serious studies on his vision for a just society. Lohia, under the strong influences both from socialism and Gandhism, wanted to elaborate “a system in which it would be possible for the individual to be good but also be necessary for one to be good.” This paper clarifies how Lohia perceived the problems of caste and gender discriminations, and how he tried to eradicate the exclusive actions in the political and social spheres in India by focusing, especially, on his commitment for the anti-caste movement.