Written in a lucid and readable style, the author elucidates how dalit politics and the dalit vision require going beyond even the term ‘dalit’ and how it has contributed to being symbolic of the most oppressed and exploited sections within the graded hierarchies of caste.
Alongside the ascendance of Hinduism, Understanding Caste traces the invasive trends of resistance and revolt in the tenets of Buddhism and radical bhakti, in the anti-patriarchal stands of early feminists, in the pervasive radicalism of the dalit activists—from Phule and Periyar, Ramabai and Tarabai, to Kabir, Tukaram and Ambedkar, even for that matter Buddha himself.
Understanding Caste brings to the reader the failures and triumphs of the many efforts that have aimed to dissolve the oppressive facets of Hinduism and its caste ideology, and continue to organise in newer ways for ‘another’ possible world where equality and human freedom reign supreme. It also makes visible the logic of dalit politics and the rise of the Bahujan Samaj Party, as a major alternative to the rise of Hindutva.
This important and essential book will be an invaluable primer on the subject to students of dalit and caste studies and politics, as well as to the general reader.
This revised edition has a new and comprehensive Index.
Gail Omvedt is Former Chair Professor, Dr. Ambedkar Chair for Social Change and Development, Indira Gandhi National Open University.