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

Dalit-BahujanSubscribe to Dalit-Bahujan

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.

Liberating Jyotiba Phule

Selected Writings of Jotiba Phule edited by G P Deshpande; Left Word, New Delhi, 2002; pp 247, Rs 450.

Sanskrit, English and Dalits

Unlike Sanskrit, there are no scriptural injunctions against the learning of English; English is theoretically as accessible to dalits and women as it is to the 'dwijas'. However, the brahmanical classes have monopolised the use of English (as also other symbols of western modernity) and have justified the denial of the same to the dalits, sometimes even reading their 'faulty' use of the language as acts of resistance/rejection of colonial modernity.
Back to Top