ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Badri NarayananSubscribe to Badri Narayanan

Memories, Saffronising Statues and Constructing Communal Politics

Managing the memories of different communities and reinterpreting them at the local level to suit the logic of a particular political group, is an oft-observed phenomenon in the ongoing political processes of the country. Lesser known historical events associated with particular communities are searched out and converted into popular memory in a way that suits the political agenda of the concerned political forces. The article is focused on one such attempt of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh and Bharatiya Janata Party to search for space among the dalits of Uttar Pradesh by looking for heroes of their communities, creating warring identities against Muslim invaders, and relocating them in their broader project of constructing communal memories among Hindus as a whole, including the dalit castes.

National Past and Political Present

Over the last couple of decades, electoral processes and policies of affirmative action have produced some powerful leaders from dalit and low caste communities. This has had an impact on the politics of historiography in India resulting in the democratisation of history as knowledge of the community and of history as a discipline. This paper attempts to explore the dalit relationship with the nation and deals with discursive strategies and politics of imagination, as well as the narration of the history of nation-making by dalit (oppressed) communities of Uttar Pradesh.
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