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

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Mahad of the 21st Century

Pathapally

In 1927, an iconic struggle of the Dalits in Mahad, in modern day Maharashtra, had to take a step back in spite of overwhelming enthusiasm of the community. Nearly nine decades later, in Pathapally in India's youngest state, Telangana, a more than three-month-long struggle of the Madigas, a Dalit community, forced the administration to accept its demands. This article traces the events and developments of the Pathapally movement and compares it with its iconic predecessor.

The Pathapally Dalit Baditha Nyaya Porata Samiti (PDBNPS), a united front of 11 organisations created to spearhead the struggle of the Dalits of Pathapally village, decided to observe 25th anniversary of the Tsundur Massacre1 on 6 August. It also decided to undertake a long march from Pebber to Pathapally to press its demands which the administration had ignored despite a series of protests by the organisation—including a relay fast from 8 July near the Ambedkar statue, not very far from the Pebber Mandal Office—for more than two months.

A day before the march, the administration declared it would impose Section 144 on the stretch beginning from the Pebber exit on the Hyderabad–Bengaluru highway, and ban entry to Pathapally village on 6 August. But in an exemplary display of defiance, nearly 7,000 Dalits from surrounding villages gathered in solidarity with the Pathapally Dalits and forced the administration to give in to their demands. The administration was also compelled to give a commitment to honour its promises.

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