Guest post by PRATHAMA BANERJEE
The return of BJP to power in 2014 was the return centre-stage of the caste question. Not that caste had gone away. Far from it.But our public life had been unmistakably altered by caste radicalism in the last few decades. 1990s onwards, powerful and triumphant dalit voices – intellectual, literary and political – transformed the nature of our democracy such that questions of caste injustice and caste assertion could no longer be circumvented, passed over, as it was done in earlier decades, by both reactionaries and progressives. Nor could the dalit and the low-caste subject be any longer portrayed as mere outcast or victim. She had come into her own as an autonomous and assertive political subject, sometimes even the ruler. Christophe Jaffrelot called this India’s silent revolution, and rightly so. What we see today with the rise (and imminent fall) of Hindutva nationalism is an attempt at a counter-revolution, nothing less.
The Counter-revolution – Targeting Dalits
The signs are easy to read. Right after Modi’s win began the so-called gharvapasi campaign of the Hindutvavadis, seeking to reconvert to Hinduism those who had earlier seceded in favour of Islam and Christianity. While the issue was pitched as an issue of religion, it was clear that at the heart of the matter was caste. Continue reading Why Caste is the Crux and Hindutva’s Fall Imminent: Prathama Banerjee