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This book is a comprehensive introduction to dalits in India (who comprise over one-sixth of the country’s population) from the origins of caste system to the present day. Despite a plethora of provisions for affirmative action in the Indian Constitution, dalits are largely excluded from the mainstream except for a minuscule section. The book traces the multifarious changes that befell them during the colonial period and their development thereafter under the leadership of Babasaheb Ambedkar in the centre of political arena. It looks at hitherto unexplored aspects of the degeneration of the dalit movement during the post-Ambedkar period, as well as salient contemporary issues such as the rise of the Bahujan Samaj Party, dalit capitalism, the occupation of dalit discourse by NGOs, neoliberalism and its impact, and the various implicit or explicit emancipation schemas thrown up by them. The work also discusses ideology, strategy and tactics of the dalit movement; touches upon one of the most contentious issues of increasing divergence between the dalit and Marxist movements; and delineates the role of the state, both colonial and post-colonial, in shaping dalit politics in particular ways. A tour de force, this book brings to the fore many key contemporary concerns and will be of great interest to students, scholars and teachers of politics and political economy, sociology, history, social exclusion studies and the general reader.
Offering 56 interviews with dalits of Gujarat from a variety of geographical areas, of varying backgrounds, education, gender and identity, this is a path-breaking book that presents voices from below. Dalits in Gujarat face a society that has not experienced any social movements that challenged its traditional social arrangements in comparison with other states in India. Adding further stress are globalisation and the growing strength of Hindutva -- right wing Hindu politics. Even so these interviews reveal that dalits have undertaken journeys to self-respect. The subaltern has indeed spoken freely here.
In Indian context.
While the caste system has been formally abolished under the Indian constitution, according to official statistics, every 18 minutes a crime is committed in India on a member of the dalit caste. This book explodes the myth that caste is a feudal relic, and argues that it has been well assimilated by both capitalist India and globalising India.
"Challenges and revises our understanding of the historical and contemporary role of Dalits in Indian society. A pathbreaking book that rightfully restores the historical agency of and gives voice to Dalits in North India." --Anand A. Yang, University of Washington --

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