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Women Heroes and Dalit Assertion in North India

Women Heroes and Dalit Assertion in North India
Culture, Identity and Politics

First Edition
  • Badri Narayan - Govind Ballabh Pant Social Science Institute, Allahabad

November 2006 | 188 pages | SAGE Publications Pvt. Ltd
This volume explores cultural repression in India and ways in which it is overcome. It studies the burgeoning Dalit politics in North India and shows how Dalit women heroes (viranganas) of the 1857 Rebellion have emerged as symbols of Dalit assertion in Uttar Pradesh and are being used by the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) to build the image of its leader, Mayawati.

It demonstrates how myths and memories of the role of Dalits in India's freedom struggle are employed for constructing identity and reconstructed for political mobilization.

Key feature include:

– some of the tales used to develop political consciousness at the grass-roots level;

– stories picked up from among the people themselves: reinterpreted; packaged; and disseminated orally or via pamphlets;

– how gods, heroes and other cultural resources of each caste are converted into political capital by giving them a visual image through calendars, statues, posters and memorials;

– how the BSP creates and recreates historical material to expand its electoral base.

Based on field studies and secondary information, the author outlines the politics of dissent which uses historical and cultural resources as identity markers in political mobilization. This book is invaluable for students of politics, sociology and history and all those engaged in Dalit studies.

New Narratives of Dalit Politics
Formation of Political Orality and the Role of Dalit Print
Visuals, Cultural Performances and Myths
Identity Politics and New Historical Resources: Dalit Location in 1857 History
Jhalkaribai and the Koris of Bundelkhand
Pasis, Dalits and Udadevi
Women Heroes, Goddesses and Politics of Image Making

The community-wise examination of the evolution of Dalit consciousness in UP…makes this well-researched and elucidated tome so valuable.

The Tribune

Rising assertiveness of Dalit castes is widespread today and this book offers valuable insights, which help in understanding this phenomenon.

The Telegraph

The slim volume embraces a surprisingly wide range of issues that can serve as potential entry points to a nuanced exploration of the categories of culture, identities, community codes and nationhood…. Women Heroes and Dalit Assertion in North India examines intricate academic issues with an assumed ease.

Contributions to Indian Sociology

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ISBN: 9780761935377