This book is a ground-breaking intervention on Dalit politics in India. Challenging received ideas, it uses a comparative framework to understand Dalit mobilisations for political power, social equality and justice. The monograph traces the emergence of Dalit consciousness and its different strands in north and south India — from colonial to contemporary times — and interrogates key notions and events. These include:
- the debate regarding core themes such as the Hindu–Muslim cleavage in the north and caste in the south;
- the extent to which Dalits and other backward castes (OBC) base their anti-Brahminism on similar ideologies; and
- why Dalits in Uttar Pradesh (north India) succeeded in gaining power while they did not do so in the region of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh (south India), where Dalit consciousness is more evolved.
Drawing on archival material, fieldwork and case studies, this volume puts forward an insightful and incisive analysis. It will be of great interest to researchers and scholars of Dalit studies and social exclusion, Indian politics and sociology.
Table of Contents
Abbreviations. List of figures. List of maps. List of tables. Glossary. Acknowledgements. Prologue. Introduction Part I: Uttar Pradesh 1. Making Claims for Power: Dalit Politics in Uttar Pradesh, 1919-1967 2. Mobilising for Power: The Emergence of the BSP and Dalit Politics in UP, 1970-1990 3. The Bahujan Samaj Party: Social Justice and Political Practices Part II: Andhra Pradesh 4. Making Claims for Social Equality and Political Representation: Dalit Activism in Telugu Country, 1917–1950 5. From Demanding Social Equality to a Quest for Power: Dalit Politics in AP, 1950–1990 6. Social Justice and Sub–Classification of Dalit Representation: The Dandora Debate in AP in the 1990s Conclusion. Bibliography
Sambaiah Gundimeda is at the School of Policy and Governance, Azim Premji University, Bengaluru, India.
'In sum, this is a welcome contribution to the field outlining how local caste relations and histories shape the impact of Dalit politics. One of the virtues of the book is to highlight how the fact of early consciousness in itself is little guide to the subsequent success or otherwise of Dalit politics, since the nature and historical trajectory of that politics is just as important to subsequent developments.'
Hugo Gorringe, University of Edinburgh