Changing Dalits

Exploration Across Time

By Paramjit S. Judge

Covering three decades of social landscape, this study examines various changes that have taken place among the Dalits - a marginalized group - in the post-colonial India. Transformation among Dalits has not been uniform across India's regions and castes. Punjab was the first Indian state to experience a revolution in its agriculture, which virtually transformed the agrarian scenario. With the declining poverty levels and emigration to foreign countries, the Dalits of Punjab experienced an economic transformation which led to the emergence of classes within castes. However, the economic improvement did not translate into social uplift, against which the upper caste resistance remained quite strong. Despite the fact that the influence of Sikhism diluted caste untouchability and exclusion in matters related with worshipping in gurdwaras, social inclusion of Dalits remained an unfulfilled dream. The Dalits changed their strategy from struggle for caste equality to the assertion of their Dalit identity: a process which has become more pronounced among the Ad-dharmis. The Ad-dharmis are no longer interested in a casteless society. They have oriented their struggle for social equality through the assertion of caste identity. However, for most of the other Dalit castes, discrimination and exclusion continue to be part of their everyday life in asymmetrical economic relations. Recent occurrences seem to suggest that conflicts between upper castes and the Dalits are taking place over religious issues. This study traces the changing contours of the Dalit struggle for their rightful place in the Punjabi society.~

248 pages

Publication Date: 12/31/2010
Format: Cloth
ISBN: 9788131603611