Caste threads are spawning deadly conflicts in Tamil Nadu schools

Dear reader,

Last month, a Class 12 student died in a school in Tamil Nadu after a fight with another student over a wrist thread. If this sounds baffling to you, let me add a crucial detail: the thread was a marker of caste

Tamil Nadu is seen as one of India’s most progressive states, with better social indicators than others. The credit for this is often given to the early success of the anti-caste movement in dismantling upper-caste hegemony, among other things, through the implementation of reservations in government jobs in the 1920s. 

But for all the gains made by the state, a century later, caste continues to be a source of social strife. In southern Tamil Nadu, it is so intense that not only are communities asserting their identities through wrist threads, even children are wearing them to school.

Johanna Deeksha travelled to two districts of the state to report on a practice that is producing disturbing outcomes. Read her piece in Common Ground here.

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Supriya Sharma
Executive Editor


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