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

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Democracy and Identity Politics in India: Is It a Snake or a Rope?

The politics of recognition has dual effects while empowering marginal communities during democratic participation in India. On the one hand, identity politics provides democratic empowerment to a few communities or specific sections of communities, while, on the other, it disempowers people of the same communities who are not yet able to understand the language of democratic state and lag behind in creating group visibility. Thus, identity politics in democracy includes a few and excludes some others, while it is fuelled by tendencies of inclusive exclusion. Through a case study of Chamars in Uttar Pradesh, a low Dalit caste that has now been politically empowered, this paper shows how identity politics alone cannot handle horizontal inequalities among marginal groups.

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