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

Santosh K SinghSubscribe to Santosh K Singh

Dalit Politics and Its Fragments in Punjab

​ The enigmatic marginality of Dalit politics in Punjab, despite having the highest proportion of Scheduled Castes, partly exposes the limitation of numbers as indicators of social dynamics in a democracy. The key may lie in the critical role that multiple religious traditions play within the Dalit community across regions in Punjab, inhibiting a larger Dalit consolidation. Ethnographic profiles of three distinct, organic Dalit intellectuals in Punjab show their convergence in accepting B R Ambedkar as a political icon but divergence on the latter’s prescription of conversion to Buddhism.

Deras as ‘Little Fiefdoms’

The phenomenon of deras draws from the region’s social history and porosity of religious boundaries, where much of its reconfiguration and reconstitution has happened at the intersection of caste and religion.

The Caste Question and Songs of Protest in Punjab

The popularity of “mission singing” and Chamar songs in recent times, in response and retaliation to Jatt pop music, in Punjab harks to the larger caste conundrum of the region and its complex historical location as a frontier society. The lower castes that migrated from Hinduism to new faiths, attracted by the latter’s textual claims of egalitarianism and non-hierarchical world views, over the centuries found that there was a huge gap between its theoretical premises and everyday practices. Dalit singers who produce songs valorising their history and heroes emerge as powerful expressions of rebellion against entrenched caste hierarchies.
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