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

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Political Historiography of Dalit Freedom


The right to freedom becomes freedom when such a right is exercised with a diligence of purpose and sincerity of persuasion. Participation in politics is also a freedom that comes with a moral demand on the part of those who would like to exercise freedom in order to achieve a greater good such as emancipation from unfreedom produced by casteism. It is in this sense that the political intervention into the historically driven process of emancipation promises freedom from social degradation, caste violence, and patriarchal bondage. Electoral politics, however, in the post B R Ambedkar phase has put a question mark on the historical role of political intervention made particularly by the Dalit political leaders.

The history of Dalit politics, particularly after Ambedkar, does not seem to foster confidence in Dalit commitment to emancipation. Emancipatory politics as envisioned and practised by Ambedkar was both critical and cautionary. It was critical of the politics of the establishment—capitalism and Brahminism—and it was cautionary inasmuch as it did not ignore the need for achieving moral progress that has been so necessary for pursuing a coherent affirmative alternative. It was cautionary inasmuch as it helped maintaining its robustness against the danger of instrumental co-option of Dalit leaders into “mainstream politics.”

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Updated On : 29th Jan, 2022
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