How are the Other Backward Castes different from the Dalits (or Scheduled Castes)?
Untouchability was the most visible and discriminatory form of social inequality. Despite this, there was a large group of castes which were of low status and were also subjected to varying levels of discrimination. The ex-untouchability communities their leaders have coined, another term, Dalit’, which is now the generally accepted term for referring to these groups. The term Dalit literally means ‘downtrodden’ and conveys the sense of an oppressed people.
However, the constitution of India recognizes the probability of what there may be groups other than SCs and STs who suffer from social advantages. These groups were described as “socially and educationally” backward classes or other backward classes.” The OBCs are neither part of the formed castes at the upper end of the caste hierarchy, nor the Dalits at the lower end. The OBCs are much more diverse groups than the Dalits.