The forgotten people: India's most backward castes

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

    Abstract

    The recent victory of Mayawati in the Uttar Pradesh elections has been hailed as a �spectacular display of subaltern power�. The questions remain, however, who are these subalterns? To what extent do they form a coherent block, with similar fears, hopes and aspirations, and how are subalterns� visions of the state, social justice and equality articulated? In this paper I explore some of these questions, examining the example of the boatman community in Banaras, belonging to the Mallah (Nishad) caste, and the strategies they use to be heard as legitimate citizens of the state. Such strategies and techniques reveal a sophisticated and organized apparatus of caste and community associations that call into question some recent theoretical formulations of the Indian state as one dominated and manipulated by powerful elites, while subalterns remain passive or, at best, compliant.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages36-57
    Publication statusPublished - 2008
    EventDEMOCRACY, DEVELOPMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY IN INDIA - Melbourne Australia
    Duration: 1 Jan 2008 → …

    Conference

    ConferenceDEMOCRACY, DEVELOPMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY IN INDIA
    Period1/01/08 → …

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