Chapter

The Lived Dalit Experience

A. Raghuramaraju

in Modernity in Indian Social Theory

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780198070122
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080014 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198070122.003.0003
The Lived Dalit Experience

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This chapter explains how a certain reading of modernity, particularly its theory and universalism, prevailed and influenced a well-intended proposal for a Dalit discourse by Gopal Guru. Guru's essay, ‘How Egalitarian are the Social Sciences in India?’, formulates the Indian version of the politics of representation. According to Guru, social science scholars in India failed to address the discrepancy between egalitarian theoretical claims and lack of egalitarianism in the practice of social sciences. It is the relation between the theoretical terrain and the agency intrinsic in Guru's essay that requires special attention. This element of hierarchy becomes evident when we turn to another issue that he seeks to problematize — the identification of the elite Brahmin and Dalit Shudra with theory and poetry, respectively. This chapter argues that instead of transporting Dalits into social theory, Guru should encourage more Dalits to migrate to a literary and poetic realm.

Keywords: Gopal Guru; India; Dalits; modernity; social sciences; egalitarianism; poetry; social theory; politics of representation

Chapter.  3946 words. 

Subjects: Social Theory

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