ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Of Mudhouse Cultural Activists and Cultural Hierarchies

Cultural Hierarchies Sharmila Rege Dalit Cultural Movement and Dialectics of Dalit Politics in Maharashtra by Gopal Guru; Vikas Adhyayan Kendra, Mumbai, 1997, THE book under review, a documentation of the dalit women's cultural assertion and an analysis of the post-1980s decline of the dalit cultural movement in Maharashtra, is welcome, particularly at this political juncture. On the one hand hindutva forces project a homogenised brahmanical Hindu identity in a bid to woo the dalit and bahujan votes, and some of the most radical of the 'panthers' seem to have surrendered to the calls of the 'tiger territory'. On the other, the forces of globalisation project a homogenised, seemingly secure, globalised consumer identity. Yet the caste question, like never before, seems to have come to the centre of political processes as an issue of redistribution of power and justice. The separate political assertion of dalit women's organisations has been significant in drawing attention to the inseparable nature of the caste and gender question in India. That dalit political parties, organisations and feminists came together in giving a call for the celebration of December 25, the day on which Babasaheb Ambcdkar burnt the Manusmriti, as Indian Women's day, is a case in point. For all those who still continue to conceive the caste question as 'identity politics' and a politics of recognition, and thereby political economy and culture as a mechanical dichotomy. Guru's analysis underlines the inseparability of the structures of the political economy and meaning of cultural reproduction.

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