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

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Subaltern Historiography to Dalit Historiography

Tracing Heterogeneity in Dalit ‘Subalternity’

Existing academic scholarship on Dalit writings and politics seems to be heavily marked by a common perception that such politics almost always focuses on claiming the state corridors of power. This article contests that view and seeks to trace the genealogy of such common academic perceptions by invoking the Subaltern Studies discourse on caste and subalternity. It argues that the relationship of Dalits vis-à-vis the state and statist ideology is heavily ambivalent, and any attempt to construct a Dalit historiography cannot proceed without recognising that ambivalence, even while it must accept and use some of the methodological insights developed by the Subaltern Studies scholars.

I am indebted to the referee for her/his suggestions. This paper also benefi ted from several conversations with my friend Drishadwati Bargi.

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