Experiencing Everyday Casteism At India’s Elite IITs

July 8 2022

Everything about the IITs screams savarna dominance, be it the names found in the list of faculties in departments; conversations and behaviour that is considered the norm; food that is served or the art that is appreciated.


For a first-generation student, to find themselves in this savarna space is a cultural shock. It feels like one is in a place where one doesn’t belong.

The moment a student from the SC/ST/OBC community steps into campus, they are identified and marked as unworthy based on their rank. 

Casteism In Academic Spaces

Savarna Favouritism

Every classroom discussion, assignment and group project reflects the caste hierarchy, where the opinions of students from marginalized communities are either discarded, silenced or ignored.

The kind of culture of meeting people in restaurants and places where most of the network building happens is alien to Bahujan students. Those who lack these networks fall behind.

Cultural Exclusion

Lack Of Role Models

Bahujan students lack proper role models on campus who can lead them on the right path or even listen to their issues. Mentorship programmes for new students completely ignore caste sensitivity.

The most effective way to counter the Brahminical hegemony in IITs is to ensure sufficient representation of faculties from marginalized backgrounds through proper implementation of reservation.