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

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The Making of Ambedkarite Public Culture

Public culture is a mental and physical space where basic ideas of the self and world view get crystallised. It is the main space to form varied communicative lines. These communicative lines discipline person’s behaviour. Since the Dalit’s ideas about self and consciousness were largely shaped by their everyday experience, Ambedkar thoughtfully evolved the Dalit’s public culture towards conscientising mental and physical space. A number of nodal points in varied communicative lines were generated to cultivate the autonomous Dalit assertive self and emancipatory world view. It produced an atmosphere where social discursive engagements were developed along with Ambedkarite praxis. As Mumbai happens to be the place where Ambedkar conceived, started and developed the key emancipatory movements, the city turned out to be a precursor for the “Ambedkarite public culture.”

Ambedkar Will Teach the Nation from His Statues

The pointed finger of Ambedkar statues symbolically conveys the meaning of lecturing, or teaching the nation about democracy and fraternity. The politics of proliferating Dalit iconography is one of seeking visibility and asserting one’s right to access public spaces. However, clashes routinely erupt over such iconography given the upper castes’ fear of their threatened hegemony.

Ambedkar as a Political Philosopher

Existing studies on B R Ambedkar largely focus on his substantive religious, sociological, political and constitutional concerns, and not on the concepts he deployed for the purpose or modes of his argumentation. His body of work demonstrates that he formulated a number of concepts to take stock of the social reality that he confronted, and/or reformulated existing concepts by critically engaging with the body of scholarship available to him. With regard to the conception of the political, he advanced a comprehensive and consistent design of what it means to live as a public and how best to do so in a setting very different from the West.

Dalits Cry on the Eve of the Ambedkar Festival

The more than four-month-long Bhim Yatra that culminated a day before the 125th birth celebrations of B R Ambedkar highlighted the pitiable conditions of the most downtrodden of the Dalits, the manual scavengers. While there are a slew of laws to check manual scavenging, they remain largely on paper. The Dalit leadership has also ignored the plight of manual scavengers.

Value, Visibility and the Demand for Justice

This article begins with issues of mourning and commemoration that arose in the context of the killings in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. It then relates them with questions regarding the worth and visibility of Black life. It then connects the political present with the political economy of race and the experience of state violence as these have structured urban America. The article ends by discussing issues posed by the social facts of caste atrocity and Black killings. It probes the relationship between dehumanising violence, political subjectivity and social justice.

Caste in a Casteless Language?

This paper focuses on a new archive of dalit writing in English translation. The "archive" has a forced homogeneity imposed by the term "dalit", which embraces an urban middle-class dalit and a member of a scavenger caste; the homogeneity is consolidated by the fact that the translated texts are in an international language. The questions asked concern the relationship between caste and the English language, two phenomena that represent considerably antithetical signs. Dalit writers accept English as a target language, despite the fact that local realities and registers of caste are difficult to couch in a language that has no memory of caste. The discussion shows how English promises to dalit writers (as both individuals and representatives of communities) agency, articulation, recognition and justice. The paper draws attention to the multiplicity of contexts that make writing by dalits part of a literary public sphere in India, and contribute to our thinking about caste issues in the context of human rights.

Why Did Dalits Desert the Bahujan Samaj Party in Uttar Pradesh?

In trying to explain why so many dalits failed to vote for the Bahujan Samaj Party, it is found that there are strong "performance effects" that determined voter choice in the 2012 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. In the eyes of many dalits, particularly the young and the well-off, the BSP did not perform well enough on key issues of governance. The strongest effects for performance issues related to corruption and development during the BSP'S rule.

BSP's Prospects in the Assembly Elections

This article examines the prospects of the BSP in three of the states going to the polls at the end of this year, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and the National Capital Region of Delhi, and concludes that despite the pivotal position that the dalit identity has come to occupy in national politics, there are limits to the growth of the BSP's influence in these states in the forthcoming assembly elections.

Dalit Movement and Dalit International Conferences

The dalit movement now presents an even greater diversity than before and dalit women, who remain triply exploited on the basis of caste, class and gender, largely remain outside the movement's fold.

Islamic Perspectives on Liberation and Dialogue in Contemporary India

This survey suggests that increasing numbers of Muslims, particularly from long-marginalised 'low' caste groups, are now demanding that their voices be heard, thereby seeking to challenge the established Muslim leadership as spokesmen of Islam and representatives of the community. These voices of dissent are significant in that they offer an interesting case of 'lay' perspectives on Islam that emerges from a situation of struggle against oppression. In this sense, they can be said to represent a form of what can be called an Islamic theology of liberation.

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