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- Dalit Movement in India and Its Leaders (1857-1956) Second Edition
- Dalit Buddhist movement
- Useful Notes on Dalit Movement in India (1412 Words)
Select Bibliography This list is not meant to be comprehensive. We have included a range of perspectives on caste and on life narratives in India, and though this list focuses on scholarship, it also includes a few examples of actual life narratives.
Dalit Movement in India and Its Leaders (1857-1956) Second Edition
Dalits, differing from the mainstream political discourse, are demonstrating a new path for social and political transformation. The non-dalit identities of the self in general imagine or construct a meta-narrative of cultural identity based upon highly parochial and xenophobic ideas. The dalit political discourse has produced a concrete alternative to the mainstream nationalist formulations in all the realms of public reason.
The discourse legitimises the thirst for political power, as it is one of the prime instruments in bringing a radical change in social relationships [Sudha Pai 40]. This alternative conceptualisation of religious identity. Both the assertion of a new political identity and the converted Buddhist identity become essentially important to understand the aspirations of the modern dalit, as they supplement equally well the radical agenda of social transformation.
Ambedkar formulated and conceptualised the meaning and political philosophy of both these domains with certain prerequisite modern ethical norms. The contemporary dalit movements have followed divergent routes to achieve social transformation without any dialogical relationship between them.
This paper will focus on the reasons of an imaginary distance between the two recent transformations: the social upsurge of dalit castes which embrace Buddhism to bring social change and the assertion of BSP as a political party under the leadership of a dalit woman for a dynamic change in the politics of India.
In social science, both this phenomena are often studied and analysed separately. This is an attempt to examine the limitations of these movements in forging a meaningful synthesis out of their friendly dialectics. Since both the social and political models have the potential of enriching the movements of the subaltern masses through their divergent motives, experiences and ideals, it is imperative to judge them on their ethical credentials.
Dalit-bahujan thinkers conceive the nation as a good society where its members, considered as individuals or collectivities, res pect one another; protect mutual rights and show concern and solidarity.
Self-respecters, therefore, felt that as long as there is the existence of untouchability, all talks of freedom and self-rule is empty. He demonstrated that the exploitative relationships of the untouchables to the other Hindus were a result of the battle between two divergent cultures. The representation of dalits in their discourse was highly. EPW February 9, What would be the rights of his community in the nascent independent country? Ambedkar was a modern secular thinker. Religion as a political identity was observed by Ambedkar as a dangerous formulation in a multi-religious country like India [BAWS ].
He had also witnessed the communal tensions between the Hindu and Muslim political elites. If religion as a seer political instrument succeeds, it would further endanger all the minority communities. Understanding such a drastic impact of religion on democracy, a secular polity was essentialised by the makers of the Constitution. But he was also convinced that Hindu religion as a social mechanism is highly undemocratic, orthodox and antagonistic to the modern values of citizenship.
Therefore a radical transformation of society is essential so that the social values and status of every individual would supplement the goals of modern political ideals.
Ambedkar as the chairman of the drafting committee of the constituent assembly visualised that the future constitution of the country would be based on the western model of citizenship along with the secular rights to the minority communities. Even though the rights of his community were formally structured in the modern constitution, he was aware that the implication of constitutional norms was going to be very troublesome as the Hindu societal attitude went against the ethics of the constitution.
On January 26 we are going to enter a life of contradictions. In politics we will have equality and in social and economic life we will have inequality. In politics we will be recognising the principle of one man. In our social and economic life, we shall by reason of our social and economic structure, continue to deny the principle of one man one value. How long can we continue to live a life of contradictions?
How shall we deny equality in our social and economic life? If we continue to deny it for long, we do so only by putting our political democracy in peril. The propagators of the Hindu caste system would be the main hurdles in the progressive march of the modern nation. He was not a critique of western modernity but understood that it had its own limitations in tackling most of the cultural problems and therefore a recovery of dalit agency through conversion to Buddhism was suggested as an alternative conception of nation and community [Viswanathan ].
He envisaged that Buddhism had that radical social message which would not only transform the social relationship but in future enhance the human values of the Constitution in public. Buddhism for Ambedkar was not just a tool for identity formulation among dalits but he wanted to establish concrete moral norms in the society, which was hardly encountered in the past.
The religious order of society should supplement the great ideals of a secular political establishment. Any antagonism over the ideals between the two will result in a social oligarchy of minority groups over the majority. For the dalits, such essential components of public life were absent in Hindu religion but were granted by the modern Constitution. He also imagined that these moral principles were enshrined in the teachings of the Buddha.
Ambedkar visualised Buddhism not as a ritualistic religion but as a social doctrine to establish morality in the society. Ambedkar in his last years of life paid little attention in mobilising the masses for political goals and put great emphasis on the goals of social transformation. It led him to seek refuge in the Buddha on October 14, , where he made an announcement that he would dedicate his entire life for the propagation of Buddhism in India.
Surprisingly, the secular principles of the political organisations, which Ambedkar established, reiterated the teachings and social ideals of Buddhism. Being a spiritual person, he aspired to bring social change through the most non-violent, human and collective mode of cultural resistance. The post-Ambedkar dalit movements, in contrast, especially in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, have developed two alternative models for bringing about social transformation. Many social scientists have developed an elusive scholarship over the positive impact of Buddhist conversion movement on the dalits in Maharashtra.
Socially, the dalits represent a distinct religious identity with new forms of rituals, symbols and festivals. They crafted a whole new set of public culture around the iconography of Ambedkar and the Buddha by building numerous Buddha Vihars.
A dynamic and popular Buddhist literature also became the part of public consciousness, which represents revolutionary songs, plays and realistic autobiographies by dalit authors and poets [Guru ]. Most importantly, it is emphasised that the conversion movement has a psychological dimension as it has freed the mahar from the sense of inferiority in public [Zelliot ].
These illustrations argue that in Maharashtra the conversion movement precipitates a silent social and cultural revolution among the dalits. The impact of any movement should be measured on all the parameters: social, cultural, economic and political.
RPI, which was established with a great moral commitment and ideology to work for the socially and economically disadvantaged sections, including the Buddhists, in a very short period of time was grasped by the self-interested mahar leadership. They failed to capitalise on the cultural capital created by the vibrant dalit movement and mostly worked against its ethos [Guru 21]. The RPI is divided into as many as 11 different factions today and the mahar leadership dominates ardently most of these factions.
The RPI has not only failed in mobilising the backward castes and the Muslims against the ruling Congress but also failed in convincing the non-mahar dalits. Furthermore, in their desperate move to remain visible in the power structure they forged opportunistic alliances with the Congress Party.
They heralded the importance of Buddhist conversion in most of their public meetings but hardly tried to develop a sound synthesis and. In the same period, against the opportunistic and corrupt RPI leadership, in the Dalit Panthers emerged with a radical socio-political programme and spiritedly occupied the imaginations and hopes of young, newly educated dalits [Kuber ].
This was an intellectual movement, which succeeded in establishing new cultural and religious values among the urban dalits. But at the peak of its popularity a confrontation broke between the two most dynamic leaders of Dalit Panthers, Namdeo Dhasal and Raja Dhale, over the primacy of Buddhism in the movement of social transformation. The movement split into two distinct camps with one group Dhasal adopting the Marxist class perspective and the other Dhale adopting the Ambedkarite Buddhist model for bringing change.
The movement also faced the problems of unavailability of infrastructural assets, sound political vision and a direct onslaught of militant Hindutva forces. Due to the divergent ideals of the leadership and other related problems, the Dalit Panthers died after a half-won battle leaving behind a great legacy of vast revolutionary literature and culture [Omvedt ]. In the recent past, the post-Ambedkar Buddhist movement has had a limited appeal among the dalits and has become a nonissue in the public discourse.
Ambedkar hoped that the neighbouring Buddhist countries like China, Japan and South Korea would help the newly converted dalits in building an international Buddhist fraternity, but their help and fraternal relationships are restricted mostly in building decorative pagodas at Bodha Gaya and Sarnath in Bihar.
Some of the new enthusiasts who have joined the Buddhist movement possess questionable public credentials because of their non-social outlook. Such insensitivity is also visible in the Mahaboudhi temple of Bouddha Gaya, where even after a 10 year long struggle by Bhadant Surei Sasai, most of the monks are brahmins and not Buddhists [Lokhande ]. The dalit-Buddhist movement in Maharashtra has failed in generating a dynamic cultural assertion, which can encompass the aspirations of all the oppressed sections.
These movements overestimated the values of ideological commitments and failed drastically in the arena of politics. The attempt to bring socioreligious change for the dalits in a constitutionally secular but culturally communal atmosphere through political mobilisation had a moral imperative but as a political strategy was disastrous.
Here they fell short in understanding the dynamics of caste politics in Maharashtra and mistakenly employed a monolithic Buddhist category to judge the credentials of its supporters.
The non-mahar dalits refused the leadership of RPI and Dalit Panthers because of the impractical and self-centred attitude of the mahar leaders. Instead of developing Buddhism as a political philosophy they instrumentalise it as a political ideology and thus alienate many dalit castes and their leaders from RPI [Jaffrelot ]. The recent upsurge of mass conversion in Maharashtra has been used again by the dalit politicians for their petty political needs without paying attention to the numerous economic and political problems faced by the larger dalit masses in the state.
The BSP from its very initiation as a political party symbolised the political aspirations of the downtrodden oppressed masses in India. Babasaheb Ambedkar also understood that the dalit as a community was not only economically exploited, culturally segregated and socially discriminated but also remained untouchable in the realm of political power. Therefore he advocated the capture of power as one of the main objectives for emancipating the lower castes from the elite domination [Jaffrelot ].
As early as in at the All India Depressed Classes Congress at Nagpur, he proclaimed his wish to establish dalits as a ruling class in India. It is very necessary that the political reins should come in the hands of untouchables. For that, all of us should unite and secure a political status.
Untouchability in India will not be eradicated so long as the untouchables do not control the political strings. In the post-Ambedkar era, Kanshi Ram became the true torchbearer of Ambedkarite struggle in the political arena of India. He materialised this vision by giving a practical road map of social revolution based on the idea of social engineering. The bahujan identity also rejects the mainstream formulations based on class, religion and secularism because they favour and legitimise the control of upper castes over the rest.
The political philosophies of social elites disregard the aspirations of dalits and lack any radical programme to bring about social transformation.
Challenging the limitations of these national parties, the BSP argues that an inclusive and representative. This alternative conceptualisation of a political party based on a majority-minority dichotomy mirrors the classical Marxist category but with new cultural attires suitable to the Indian context.
Social identity not only replaces the class category in this mode but also democratises the whole structure by sanctioning the autonomy to every cultural, social and religious group before forming the alliance. The bahujan identity neither believes in the total submission of all deprived communitarian identities to become one nor does it philosophise a complete suppression of the minority ruling elites to achieve its political ideals.
Bahujan identity is a democratic political alliance between the politically deprived caste groups of contemporary India under the leadership of the most exploited castes of Indian history, the dalits.
This coalition of all deprived minority communities scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, other backward castes, and minorities in practical sense represents the majority of the population in India [Hasan ]. Being dalits, they endeavour to overthrow the social, political, cultural and economic dominations perpetuated by the Hindu social order.
This victory has a capacity to generate a revolutionary spirit in the whole democratic system for a required change. Mayawati has shown the way that the dalits as the leaders of the people can discover new political arithmetic between the social groups and can mobilise them towards a concrete political victory.
This is indeed a real social revolution under the proletariat dalit leadership in a most democratic manner, without spilling a drop of blood.
Dalit Buddhist movement
It attempts to find out causes of the origin of the inhuman practice of untouchability and its adverse effects on the Indian Society. It expounds the history of Dalit emancipation, with special emphasis on the role played by the leaders individually and collectively for the liberation of their brethren from 'untouchability'. It, however covers all the aspects of the Dalit Movement succinctly. This book is, obviously based on primary sources of information. Certain facts were duly confirmed and corroborated by other sources like documents and records in addition to personal interviews of the respective leaders or their next of kins.
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Useful Notes on Dalit Movement in India (1412 Words)
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The Anandi Collective describes the way feminists and Dalit leaders worked to build a movement of Dalit women. They describe the challenges and successes of the 1, Dalit women from a remote area in a very feudal part of India, who have set out to overcome deeply seated prejudices. This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Dalit means all those people of different castes and sub-castes among the depressed classes who were traditionally subjected to invidious discriminations on grounds of untouchability, and categorized as the untouchables, downtrodden, exterior classes, depressed classes or Scheduled Castes. It is a movement of protest against untouchability, casteism and superstitions. It aims at the uplift of the Dalits to the level of non -Dalits. Positively speaking, it stands for acceptance of a new social order based on equality, liberty, and social justice, scientific and rational religious or moral principles; and social, economic, cultural and political development of the Dalit. Untouchability, as indicated above, has always been considered as social evil. Since long efforts had been made to eradicate it. Religious and social, reformers like Buddha, Ramanuja, Ramanand, Chitanya, Kabir, Nank, Tukaram and others, made great efforts to eradicate it as far as possible.
Dalits, differing from the mainstream political discourse, are demonstrating a new path for social and political transformation. The non-dalit identities of the self in general imagine or construct a meta-narrative of cultural identity based upon highly parochial and xenophobic ideas. The dalit political discourse has produced a concrete alternative to the mainstream nationalist formulations in all the realms of public reason. The discourse legitimises the thirst for political power, as it is one of the prime instruments in bringing a radical change in social relationships [Sudha Pai 40]. This alternative conceptualisation of religious identity.
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. It attempts to find out causes of the origin of the inhuman practice of untouchability and its adverse effects on the Indian Society.
Затем Сьюзан сунула ноги в туфли и последовала за коммандером. - Какого черта ему здесь надо? - спросил Стратмор, как только они с Сьюзан оказались за дверью Третьего узла.