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

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‘Alienation’ of Dalit Studies

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This is in response to the article “The Impossibility of ‘Dalit Studies’ ” by Ankit Kawade (EPW, 23 November 2019). It aims to explore the structural and institutional constraints both in pedagogy and the discourse in studying “Dalit Studies” as a separate discipline or sub-discipline in the universities of India. In exploring the dichotomy between the policy and practice, the author has succeeded in bringing forth the limitations of “Dalit Studies” which have arisen through the hegemonic rule of Brahminism in most of the higher educational institutes. The systematic “alienation” of the discipline is deeply embedded in a controlled knowledge production system.

It is interesting to note how the universities have become the places and spaces for reproducing the “intellectual inequality between Dalits and non-Dalits” (p 23). What is more surprising is the way these inequities of mind have been produced through the means of inclusion of discipline within the ambit of the already existing hierarchical and exclusionary departments. This can be substantiated by looking at the objectives and the monitoring of the scheme (that is, establishment of the Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policies [CSSEIP]) in the universities that was initiated as part of the Twelfth Five Year Plan.

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