Dalit Political Mobilization and Cultural Identity Politics

Public guest lecture by Dr. phil. habil. Heinz Werner Wessler, Department of Linguistics and Philology (Indology) at Uppsala University

Date:  Wednesday 4 December 2013
Time: 14.00-16.00
Venue: Room 27.0.17, Faculty of Humanities

Even though the postcolonial Indian state has made considerable efforts to create a homogenized society, the great majority of Dalits and Adivasis – forming one fourth of India's total population – is still socially, ritually and economically marginalized.

Postcolonial Dalit identity politics are related to a rediscovery of religious and cultural identities. Dalit religiosity either relates to the so-called nirguṇa bhakti with a certain corpus of historical religious poetry at the core (Kabir, Ravidas, Chokha Mela etc.) or to religious conversion, particularly to the so-called Neo-Buddhism in terms of Dr. Ambedkar's book “The Buddha and his Dhamma”. Efforts to regain cultural and religious agency is interpreted in terms of liberation from Brahmanic domination and its hegemonial discourse on Hindu/Indian identity.

The lecture is organized by Asian Dynamics Initiative in collaboration with the Centre of Global South Asian Studies at ToRS.

All are welcome!