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6: Lower-Caste Assertions in Colonial India

Seminar Questions:

1. Did lower-caste self-assertion reinforce or challenge the nationalist movement?
2. ‘Depressed Classes’, ‘Untouchables’, ‘Dalits’….discuss the significance of these changes in the names used for historically excluded and subordinated social groups.
3. Discuss the distinction made by Jaffrelot between ‘Sanskritization’ and ‘ethnicization’ in the development of lower-caste assertions in the colonial period.

Seminar Readings:

1. Radhakamal Mukerjee, “Caste And Social Change In India”, The American Journal Of Sociology, 43:3 (1937), pp. 377-390
2. Gerard Baader, “The Depressed Classes of India: Their Struggle for Emancipation”, Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review, 26:103 (1937), pp. 399-417
3. Dominic Vendell, “Jotirao Phule’s Satyashodh and the Problem of Subaltern Consciousness”, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, 34:1 (2014), pp. 52-66
4. Christophe Jaffrelot, “Sanskritization v. Ethnicization in India: Changing Identities and Caste Politics Before Mandal”, Asian Survey, 40:5 (2000), pp.56-66

Background Readings:

1. Vijay Prashad, Untouchable Freedom: The Social History of a Dalit Community (Delhi, 2000)
2. Omprakash Valmiki, Joothan. A Dalit’s Life (New York, 2003)
3. Gail Omvedt, Understanding Caste. From Buddha to Ambedkar and Beyond (Delhi, 2011)
4. B.R. Ambedkar, Castes in India: Their Mechanism, Genesis and Development (Hyderabad, 1916)