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

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Ignoring Intricacies of Identity Politics

Anand Teltumbde’s review (“Maestro of Identity Politics”, EPW, 4 October 2014) of the book by Badri Narayan on Kanshi Ram is much like what he does in book reviews, a critique of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and dalit politics rather than a review. His resentment of identity politics is because it supplants class politics and hinders the growth of left ideology and parties in India. One can agree with the critique of identity politics to the point that it makes people self-referential and hence is self-limiting. However, it should not mean that it has changed nothing.

What other strategy could have been successful in bringing empowerment to the dispossessed dalits. Why is it that the left, despite understanding the deprivation of dalits, could never take up their issues seriously and become a partner in their struggles before the emergence of the BSP which was the product of this very identity politics.

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