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Title: Contesting Hinduism : emergence of dalit paradigms in Telugu Country 1900-1950
Author: Jangam, Chinnaiah.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3589 1120
Awarding Body: School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London)
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2005
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The thesis explores the intellectual history of dalits and brings out the dalit intellectuals' contestation of Hinduism, caste inequality and the practice of untouchability. While tracing the roots of consciousness and assertion among dalits, it points out the role of colonial state in disseminating education and modem ideas among them. Moreover it explores how the cultural and intellectual atmosphere created by the colonial institutions and ideas played a crucial role in the emergence of dalit intellectuals and activists and led to the critical re-assessment of Hindu social religious institutions and ideas by the caste Hindus too, who divided themselves into two sections, viz. reformists and conservatives. The thesis critically engages with the caste Hindu ideas and examines the rational and religious arguments put forward by them either to oppose or defend caste system and untouchability. Further, the thesis outlines the formation of political organisations and associations by dalit leaders and intellectuals to organise their brethren with a view to reclaim social, economic and political equality in caste Hindu society. Most importantly on the basis of innumerable writings of dalit intellectuals in Telugu, the thesis narrates the various strategies and ideas articulated by dalit intellectuals to nurture a social space and political identity in the emerging public sphere. It also points out the limitations of their cultural and ideological initiatives in formulating liberation theories. Besides, while arguing that colonialism and nationalism had multiple and diverse meanings for different communities in India, the thesis also brings out the dalit perspectives on colonialism and nationalism. It analyses the complexities and contradictions within the notions of colonial oppression and nationalist freedom struggle, as for most dalit intellectuals colonialism was also a means of access to public institutions, new employment opportunities and a language of rights while nationalism meant a reimposition of caste Hindu social order perpetuating social inequality and oppression.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available