The authors present the lived experiences of the stigmatized castes in the context of the opportunities made available by the government of India for their Socio-Political Empowerment. The study aimed to gain an understanding about the respondents’ unique experiences of caste-based stigmatization at their workplace, their overall experience of empowerment at work and the other spheres of their lives, and to capture their perceived importance of, and the success of reservation policy as well as several other initiatives taken by the Government of India for empowering the marginalized castes. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 male Schedule Caste/Schedule Tribe respondents working at respectable positions in the government organizations situated in the National Capital Region of Delhi. The phenomenological approach (Langdridge, 2007) was used to unearth the essence of the participant’s experiences of stigma driven treatments. The overall perceptions and experiences of the respondents included experiencing direct and indirect forms of caste-related discrimination at workplace; experiencing economic, social and psychological empowerment but not at the workplace; favouring the policy of reservation for Schedule Caste/Schedule Tribe in government jobs; and believing in the improper implementation of policies in India. The research findings indicate the incomplete success of the governmental policies for the holistic empowerment of the Indian marginalized castes.


Stigma, Empowerment, Marginalised Caste, Stereotypes, Discrimination, Phenomenology

Author Bio(s)

Divya Bhanot is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Applied Psychology, Ramanujan College, University of Delhi, India. She is presently pursuing Ph.D. from the Department of Psychology, University of Delhi on "A Psycho-social Study of Stigma in Reference to Socio-Political Empowerment.” Her core research interests lie in the areas of Applied Social Psychology. email address: divyabhanot137@gmail.com.

Sunil Kumar Verma is currently working as Asst. Professor at Vivekananda College, Delhi University, India. He has published more than 30 research papers in reputed national, international journal and book chapter in the area of Applied Social Psychology, Social Gerontology and family research. Besides this, he has authored a book entitled, Family Dynamics and Intergenerational Relations: Psycho-Social Analysis. Concept Publication India, and participated in various national and International Conferences. He was the Principle-Investigator of various projects including Suicide in Sikkim: A Psycho-Social Study; A Psycho-Social Study on Intergenerational Relation in Interdependent Society, and The Grass is Not Always Greener on the Other Side: A Study on Male Marginalization and victimization. Dr. Verma has received several Fellowships to participate in International conferences from UGC Travel Grant, IUPSY and ARTS. In 2012 Dr. Verma was selected as Emergent Psychologist in Cape- Town by IUPSY and ICP 2012. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: verma.sunil77@gmail.com.

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