Constructing a new nationalism from below

Constructing a new nationalism from below

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Constructing a new nationalism from below the Dalit movement, politics and transnational networking
Daily, Lisa A
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[Tampa, Fla]
University of South Florida
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Social movements
Bahujan Samaj Party
Dissertations, Academic -- Humanities -- Masters -- USF ( lcsh )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


ABSTRACT: This research examines one potential route for sub-national social movements to alter preexisting contemporary nationalisms- the transnational social movement network. When social movements "go global" they move beyond the nation where they are typically excluded from the national project and instead, become members of an alternative and inclusive transnational project. What social movements do at this level is not under examination here, but rather how they go about returning to their respective nations and challenging the hegemonic national project. Does the transnational site impact the success of sub-national social movements? Is a movement more likely to achieve its goals and experience inclusion into the national identity due to transnational networking? One key assumption of this research is that on a global and national level there exist projects which seek to include some citizens or groups while excluding others.These divisions are paralleled to racial divides according to Anthony Marx (1998). The Dalit movement in India serves as an exploratory case study due to its sub-national roots and transnational mobilization, and the racialized and exclusionary practices of the caste structure. Dalits, previously known as "Untouchables," are relegated to the lowest position below the caste hierarchy where they witness discrimination primarily through violence and a lack of access to resources. The movement has gone global, but then returned to India where it seeks to hold states accountable. It has also sought inclusion through political means, forming its own political party-the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)-in 1984. This research traces the global route of one Dalit movement organization, the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), but then tests the success of Dalit inclusion by examining one internal indicator-the electoral results of the Bahujan Samaj Party.The electoral results where taken from a pre-global (1995-1999) and a post-global (2002-2009) period. Findings demonstrate that over time the BSP has significantly increased its participation in elections and slightly increased its success-rate at achieving elected positions. While the Dalit movement continues to experience some degree of success at both the national and state levels, they have not yet been fully integrated into India's national project.
Thesis (M.L.A.)--University of South Florida, 2009.
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by Lisa A. Daily.

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Constructing a new nationalism from below :
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h [electronic resource] /
by Lisa A. Daily.
[Tampa, Fla] :
University of South Florida,
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 112 pages.
Thesis (M.L.A.)--University of South Florida, 2009.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.
ABSTRACT: This research examines one potential route for sub-national social movements to alter preexisting contemporary nationalisms- the transnational social movement network. When social movements "go global" they move beyond the nation where they are typically excluded from the national project and instead, become members of an alternative and inclusive transnational project. What social movements do at this level is not under examination here, but rather how they go about returning to their respective nations and challenging the hegemonic national project. Does the transnational site impact the success of sub-national social movements? Is a movement more likely to achieve its goals and experience inclusion into the national identity due to transnational networking? One key assumption of this research is that on a global and national level there exist projects which seek to include some citizens or groups while excluding others.These divisions are paralleled to racial divides according to Anthony Marx (1998). The Dalit movement in India serves as an exploratory case study due to its sub-national roots and transnational mobilization, and the racialized and exclusionary practices of the caste structure. Dalits, previously known as "Untouchables," are relegated to the lowest position below the caste hierarchy where they witness discrimination primarily through violence and a lack of access to resources. The movement has gone global, but then returned to India where it seeks to hold states accountable. It has also sought inclusion through political means, forming its own political party-the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)-in 1984. This research traces the global route of one Dalit movement organization, the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), but then tests the success of Dalit inclusion by examining one internal indicator-the electoral results of the Bahujan Samaj Party.The electoral results where taken from a pre-global (1995-1999) and a post-global (2002-2009) period. Findings demonstrate that over time the BSP has significantly increased its participation in elections and slightly increased its success-rate at achieving elected positions. While the Dalit movement continues to experience some degree of success at both the national and state levels, they have not yet been fully integrated into India's national project.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
Advisor: Mark Amen, Ph.D.
Social movements
Bahujan Samaj Party
Dissertations, Academic
x Humanities
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
4 856


Constructing a New Nationalism from Below: The Dalit Movement, Politics and Transnational Networking by Lisa A. Daily A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Liberal Arts Department of Humanities and Cultural Studies College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: Mark Amen, Ph.D. James Cavendish, Ph.D. Bernd Reiter, Ph.D. Date of Approval: May 22, 2009 Keywords: India, globalization, social move ments, Exclusion, Bahujan Samaj Party Copyright 2009, Lisa A. Daily


Dedication I'd like to dedicate this thesis to my family fo r all of their support, love, and patience. I would especially like to name Sophi e and Cody for their loyalty, understanding, and knowledge of when I was in need of a break.


Acknowledgments I would like to acknowledge my family and friend s for all of their suppo rt and patience. To my sister, Jamy, for cooking me meal s, bringing me up when I was down, and constantly loving me. To my parents, Jim a nd Lauren, for love and always supporting my endeavors and whims. To those wonderful fr iends, both old and new, who have provided advice, entertainment, and the occasional ques tions about what I would actually do with my degree. Lastly, I would like to give endl ess thanks to my superb thesis committeeMark Amen, James Cavendish and Bernd Reiter -for all of their di rection, understanding, patience, advice, and dedication. I would also like to thank all the professors who have taught and guided me in my academic pursuits and the Humanities and Cultural Studies department, especially Dr. Daniel Belgra d, for employing me and having faith in my teaching skills. I am honored to have been able to work with all of you.


i Table of Contents List of Tables ii List of Figures iii Abstract v Chapter One: Introduction and Organization 1 Theoretical Framework 6 Research Methodology 9 Chapter Two: Literature Review 14 Nationalism as Either-Or Constructions 17 Race and Nation(alism) 20 Nationalism and Globalization 24 Nationalism from Below: th e Transnational & Social Movements 27 Chapter Three: Case Study: IndiaÂ’s Dalit Movement and Hindu Nationalism: Background Information 29 The Hegemony of I ndiaÂ’s Caste Structure and Nationalism 31 Hindu Nationalism and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) 32 Enforcing Exclusion: Discrimination and Dalits 36 Subaltern Actions: Historical Tracings of the Dalit Movement 39 Chapter Four: The NCDHR and BSP 51 NCDHR: Claims, Frames & Connections 51 From the Local to the Global: NCDHRÂ’s Transnational Ties 55 The Indian Political Sphere: Dalits, Politics & the BSP 62 Chapter Five: Data, Findings & Future Research 69 State Electoral Data 69 2009 Lok Sabha Elections 74 Findings & Conclusions 76 Appendices 86 Appendix 1: Dalit Social Movement Organizations 87 Appendix 2: State Electoral Data 89 Appendix 3: Dalit Tr ansnational Solidarity Networks 104 List of References 105


ii List of Tables Table 1 Historical Tracing of the Dalit Movement 41 Table 2 Common Indian Political Parties 69 Table 3 Elect oral Data Collected 72 Table 4 State Data: Uttar Pradesh 73 Table 5 Total Changes in the BSP & BJP 79 Table 6 Changes between the BSP & BJP in Uttar Pradesh 81 Table 7 State Data: Andhra Pradesh 88 Table 8 State Data: Bihar 89 Table 9 State Data: Gujarat 90 Table 10 State Data: Haryana 91 Table 11 State Data: Himachal Pradesh 92 Table 12 State Data: Jammu & Kashmir 93 Table 13 State Data: Karnataka 94 Table 14 State Data: Kerala 95 Table 15 State Data: Madhya Pradesh 96 Table 16 State Data: Maharashtra 97 Table 17 State Data: Orissa 98 Table 18 State Data: Punjab 99 Table 19 State Data: Rajasthan 100


iii Table 20 State Data: Tamil Nadu 101 Table 21 State Data: West Bengal 102


iv List of Figures Figure 1 Map of India 30


v Constructing a New Nationalism from Below: The Dalit Movement, Politics and Transnational Networking Lisa A. Daily ABSTRACT This research examines one potential r oute for sub-national social movements to alter preexisting contemporary nationalismsthe transnational social movement network. When social movements “go global” they move beyond the nation where they are typically excluded from the national proj ect and instead, become members of an alternative and inclusive transnational project. What social movements do at this level is not under examination here, but rather how th ey go about returning to their respective nations and challenging the hegemonic national project. Does the transnational site impact the success of sub-national social m ovements? Is a movement more likely to achieve its goals and experience inclusion into the national identity due to transnational networking? One key assumption of this rese arch is that on a global and national level there exist projects which seek to include so me citizens or groups while excluding others. These divisions are paralleled to racial divides accordi ng to Anthony Marx (1998). The Dalit movement in India serves as an exploratory case study due to its subnational roots and transnational mobilizati on, and the racialized and exclusionary


vi practices of the caste struct ure. Dalits, previously known as “Untouchables,” are relegated to the lowest position below the caste hierarchy where they witness discrimination primarily through violence a nd a lack of access to resources. The movement has gone global, but then returned to India where it s eeks to hold states accountable. It has also s ought inclusion through political means, forming its own political party-the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)-in 1984. This research traces the global rout e of one Dalit movement organization, the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR ), but then tests the success of Dalit inclusion by examining one inte rnal indicator-the electoral results of the Bahujan Samaj Party. The electoral results where taken from a pre-globa l (1995-1999) and a post-global (2002-2009) period. Findings demonstrate th at over time the BSP has significantly increased its participation in elections and slightly increased its success-rate at achieving elected positions. While the Dalit movement continues to experience some degree of success at both the national and state levels, th ey have not yet been fully integrated into India’s national project.


1 Chapter One Introduction and Organization The manner in which nationalism is in fluencing nation-stat es and elites is changing in an era of globalization. Schol ars are, thus, responding to claims about nationalism and globalization by re-examining th e meaning and status of nationalism. Some scholars argue that nationalism is beco ming irrelevant while others suggest its importance has increased. There, most certainly is not a consensus on the current state of nationalism with the exception of the broad opinion that something is changing (Delanty 2008; Archer et al. 2007; Hearn 2006; Kal dor 2004; Kennedy 2001; Newman 2000). On a large scale, this project address the lack of consensus by suggesti ng an alternativethe need for an analysis of post-modern nationalis m as seen from below, to examine if the changes in nationalism may be affected by th e masses, particularly sub-national social movements. The exclusive nature of many national pr ojects may, in turn, shape those very people who are excluded into an alternative inclusive community-one which then contests its own exclusion from the nation. One possible alternative inclusive community is beyond the local or national level, but rather may be found at the global level of transnational social movement networks. These networks act as sites of global inclusivity, gathering people from around the wo rld who share grievances. Yet, as Ruth


2 Retain (2007) points out, going global is mo st effective when those social movements which left the nation for the global then return to the nation to seek change from within. The exclusion of certain people and citizens from the central nation-whether through ideology, religion, or access to resour ces such as education and the marketdemonstrates most concretely why certain groups rise up to ch allenge and change aspects of their nations, states, and/or communities. Nationalism is most often thought of as a top-down creation; by below, I reference ci tizens and non-governme ntal organizations which are not considered elite or associ ated with the government. The possible increasing success and recognition of sub-natio nal movements, as noted in scholarly literature, which participate in the transnatio nal social movement network hint at changes and challenges to previously established nationalisms as well as policies, traditions and cultural norms. Similar to the contemporary debate over nationalism and globalization, the very definition of nationalism is incongruous. Fo r the purposes of this paper, I recognize nationalism as an ideology defined by bot h Anthony Smith and Benedict Anderson. Anthony D. Smith (1998) defines nationalism as : “an ideological movement for attaining and maintaining autonomy, unity and identity for a human population deemed by some of its members to constitute an actual or potential 'nation' ” (256). Smith asserts that nationalism is, “the most ubiquitous and e nduring phenomenon in the modern world, the ideological movement and symbolic structure with the greatest staying power, one that always appears, as it were, to be waiting in th e wings for its opportunity to emerge, in the chaos of conflict and disintegra tion that attends the fall of states and empires” (258). Smith understands Benedict Anderson's (1991) perspective on nation and nationalism as


3 an “imagined community.” Anderson defines nation as “an imagined political community and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign” (6). He considers it imagined because “the members of even the smallest nation will neve r know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion” (6). Anderson's definition is comparable to Hobsbawm's (1990), who calls nationalism an “invented tradition.” These definitions poi nt out the social cons truction of nationalism as opposed to some sort of naturally-o ccurring national coll ective identity. In its creation, as historically done by st ates and elites, peopl e are either included or excluded, often among racial divides (M arx 1998). These excluded groups and their potential for affecting changes to previously established nationalisms are what will be studied in this res earch project. The Dalit movement of India, based around Dalit rights for equality and inclusion, serve as a case study for this project. Dalits (“broken people”) are formerly known as “untouchables,” and the lowest members of the “backward castes” within the Hindu caste system. They are a group of people who have historically been de nied participation in India's national identity and access to vita l resources such as water, food, housing, education, and the economy. Modern I ndia has between 160 million and 170 million Dalits out of its total population of about 1,147,995,904 (2008 census). Today Dalits directly challenge the discrimi natory practices embedded in In dia's structure often relying on previously unenforced Indian law. The Indian Constitution of 1950 declares casteism as wrong; this was later reinforced with the 1989 Prevention of Atrocities Act. Dalit exclusion is demonstrated in the statements and literature of the movement,


4 its goals and actions, large-scale human ri ghts organizations, and previous scholarly research. There is currently, however, no work looking at the potenti al influence of subnational movements which go “global” to tr ansnational social movements and their impact on nationalism. The Dalit movement has followed this path from the local to the national and then to the global, but has remained rooted in the need for change within the nation and state. Some research has been done on the Dalit movement as it goes global, but few scholars have sought to see what then happens when Dalits return to the nation in order to challenge their own inclusion. For this reason, it seems necessary for an exploratory case study analysis. There is not as yet a direct causal relationship between social movements, globalization and nationalism. For instance, it is possible that other sub-national movements which do not go global also impact a given national project. This project is not arguing that changes in nationalism are only due to global activism among social movements. It is merely one avenue in need of exploration when seeking an understanding of the current status of nati onalism and its potential for change from below. Therefore, I ask are sub-national social movements who “go global” by participating in the transnational social move ment network successful at then returning to their nation and effectively challenging the previously understood national identity? Are they more successful than prio r to “going global”? The purp ose of my research project on the Dalit case is threefold. I examine if, in fact, the movement is challenging nationalism, if it is successful, and if it is more likely to be successful due to the processes of globalization. Globalization is operationalized through only one aspect-the


5 transnational social movement network, partic ularly movement par ticipation in the 2001 UN World Conference against Racism (WCAR) held in Durban, South Africa and the World Social Forum since 2001. I hypothesize that contempor ary sub-national social movements are more likely to experience success at either challenging their own exclusion or in achieving an increased level of national inclusivity after participa ting in the transnational social movement network. This is in comparison to movement success prior to going global. I test this hypothesis by conducting a comparison of preand posttransnational social movement participation in the Dalit m ovement case. Measures of success rely on two crucial indicatorsone which monitors the internal national and state-based success of the movement and one which follows the movement to the transnational public sphere. These indicators provide insight into the Da lit movement presence at both the global and the local levels. Internal success is analy zed through electoral results of the Dalit-based political party, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), in comparison to the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. Although the BSP is a polit ical party, it has emerged from the Dalit movement and remains connected through aff iliations, shared goals, grievances, and a collective identity. The success of the external indicator of transnational networking is not under review here. Sufficient scholarsh ip and movement data provide adequate support that this has indeed been beneficial to the movement. Instead, this thesis studies the internal indicator both prior to an d after the movement went global. Transnational forums, such as the Worl d Social Forum (WSF) and the UN World Conference Against Racism (WCAR) act as si tes for alternative co llective identities,


6 networking, collaboration and also, negotiati on and contention among its participants. These forums consist mostly of sub-nati onal movements made up of groups which are excluded from their national policy, politics, and identity. These groups “go global” to the transnational level, but then as Ruth Reitan (2007) in Global Activism notes, they return to the local and nationa l level to affect change. Theoretical Framework Several theoretical frameworks provi de an understanding of the reflexive relationships among nationalism, globalizati on from below and social movements. Antonio Gramsci's theory of cultural hegemony gr ounds this research in order to reiterate how a dominant discourse is used to subvert other, less powerful or mainstream ideas, beliefs, and identities. Nationalism prevails as the hegemonic whereas excluded groups are subverted. Yet, if these subversive, excluded groups gain recognition and support they may quickly get appropria ted into the hegemonic. This is why they may be successful at altering nationalism. The Bahujan Samaj Party is officially recognized as a national political party in I ndia and risks this very appr opriation opting for political power instead of activism. Gramsci highlights a vital aspect of the so cial interactions which exist in this case study. A central concern for social movements, whether sub-national or transnational, is a battle not only over ideology, politics and culture, but the power to effectively enforce or change the status quo. Power can be enact ed through forceful rule as Max Weber believes or through the subtle acts of hege mony. Although violence is often involved in imposing the caste-ranking and position of th e Dalits, it has most effectively been ingrained in the citizens of India very slowly over time through religion and then


7 colonization. Regarding the Dalit movement, Gramsci's theory predicts that as the movement grows and the Dalit-based party, the Bahujan Samaj Party, increases in popularity the movement risks appropriation and the loss of authenticity. Nicolas Jaoul's (2007) “Political and 'Non-Political' Means in the Da lit Movement,” is particularly concerned with this risk calling the attainment of po litical power “a potential trap for an authentic people's movement” (191). In part, this c oncern is subverted by the Dalit movement's refusal to become a part of the contemporary Bahujan Samaj Party. Rather, it opts to unofficially support the party a nd only officially support BSP candidates as they run for office. Gramsci heavily influences Althu sser (1970) who dis tinguishes between repressive state apparatuse s and ideological state appa ratuses and points out the seemingly naturalness of ideology, as is the case with nationalism. This theory supports claims in social movement analysis about center and periphery (Vanden 2004). The Dalit movement is most certainly on the ideological pe riphery of Indian values and norms. Mark Rupert (2003), in “Globalising common sense: a Marxian-Gramscian (re-)vision of the politics of governance/resist ance,” suggests that a Marxian-Gramscian interpretation is needed when studying globali zation and modern inte rnational relations. He writes, “Gramsci’s rich if eternally inchoate legacy suggests a conceptual vocabulary for a transformative politics in which a va riety of anticapitalist movements might coalesce in order to produce a ny number of future possible wo rlds whose very possibility is occluded by capitalism” (181). He is refe rencing the World Social Forum’s motto of “another world is possible.” More dir ectly, Harry E. Vanden (2007), in “Social


8 Movements, Hegemony, and New Forms of Re sistance,” studies social movements in Latin America and considers whether or not th ey are “coming together in a new cycle of subaltern actions that can break down the hege mony historically exercised” (17). Other scholars (Lash 2007), however, argue that a lternative concepts need to be produced because “power largely post-hegemonic ” (55). Yet, this claim comes with additional contestation from another schol ar (Johnson 2007) in “Post-Hegemony?: I Don't Think So.” The current debate about the relevance of Gramsci's hegemony is not of central concern for th is thesis. Rather, Gramsci's theory is examined by first tracing what the hegemonic and subversive entail in the case study of the Dalit movement. As already mentioned, the Dalit movement and even the Dalit-based Ba hujan Samaj Party (BSP) are the subversive group while Hindu nationalism and the Bharatiy a Janata Party (BJP) are clearly the hegemonic. This project does not test what th e hegemonic in India is but rather, provides an account of what it looks like, does and be lieves as a way to effectively demonstrate what the Dalit movement struggles ag ainst and seeks to change. Other important ideas and theories rega rding nationalism, social movements, and globalization are analyzed in an interdisciplinary literatur e review that follows this chapter. Specifically, Anthony Marx (1998) in, Making Race and Nation: A Comparison of South Africa, The United States, and Brazil, notes the importance of inclusion and exclusion in national projects and how it is mo st often constructed around race. It is inevitable and yet, those who are excluded ar e often more likely to collectively identify and put forth a movement to not only change policy but change the so cial construction of who is excluded and who is not. Marx write s, “state-imposed exclusion of a specified


9 internal group, used to reinforce the allegian ce and unity of a core constituency, may be a more pervasive pattern” and that “indeed, na tion-states have ofte n been based on such exclusion, not only according to r ace, but also ethnicity, class, and other cleavages” (25). Lastly, an understanding of space, both the global and local, is necessary. Bullen and Whitehead (2005) declare that the “changi ng spatial emphasis has in turn exposed a whole range of citizens and modes of radical/alternative citizenship forged around issues of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, age, cla ss and religion, which had previously been excluded” (500). Globalizati on scholarship currently examines this “changing spatial emphasis” and how space may be loosing its connection to place. Lauren Langman (2001) refers to the “compression of space, time and distance associated with globalization” (196). The Dalit movement goes beyond the place of the nation to a transnational space as a way to develop inclus ive networks which better prepare them to return to the nation and witn ess increased inclusion. Research Methodology The Dalit movement in India serves as an exploratory case study to determine whether or not there is suff icient evidence to support th e assumptions and hypothesis of this project. Robert K. Yin (2003) states “the case study is preferred in examining contemporary events, but when relevant behavi ors cannot be manipulated” (7). For this research to be possible large concepts, such as nationalism, have been restricted. For instance, although nationalism and its changes may be monitored through cultural media this research only focuses on natio nalism as a political entity. I look at what hegemony looks like in I ndia and then the alternative projection by the Dalit movement as seen in Bahujan Sa maj Party election results. Is contemporary


10 Indian nationalism remaining st atic, moving closer to the mo vement's vision, or shifting to a renewed assertion of traditional values as Smith (1999) argues? Regarding the effectiveness of transna tional social moveme nt participation by sub-national social movements, I try to answer what is accomplished by going global, what strategies and networking tools are gain ed, what international attention the social movement's cause receives, and how the movement reflects all of this in its literature and action. By analyzing a social movement both be fore it went global and after and then charting any political changes pertaining to it or the excluded groups it represents, I may have enough information to support my hypothe sis and generate suggestions for future research. I will focus on political succe ss as witnessed by the inclusion of excluded groups into the political sphere. Since na tionalism is a dynamic construction, there will most likely not be a clear method for determ ining the link between the politics and the national ideology. For instance, policy in India already dictates equality among its citizens. However, these laws are not enforced nor are they a part of the national identity and ideology. Yet, “elections matter to a very la rge sector of Indians. It is a matter of life and death to them...and despite all apparitions the elections do reflect the choices of the people” (interview with Pr ofessor Ashistani on NPR’s Morning Edition (April 15, 2009). Because “success” can be examined in a variety of ways, I focus on political and policy-oriented success. William Gamson's model for analyzing success (1990) is recognized although it has not proven very he lpful in actually determining movement “success.” Gamson (1990) provides a soci ological perspective on how to go about measuring success and defining a “challenge peri od.” If it were not for the reliance on


11 political party results, Gamson’s model may be more useful here. According to Gamson (1990: 30-1), success is achieved when the “ch allenging group ceases to exist as a formal entity,” when it either dissolves or stops act ively mobilizing, or lastly, when it is accepted by its “major antagonists…as a valid spokesman.” For this case study, Gamson’s last point is most relevant. The Dalit movement and several of its ever-expanding organizati ons are internationally recognized and supported. Yet, the movement has still not “achieved success”; perhaps it has achieved some success, but as a whole it still deals with many inequalities, injustices and forms of exclusion on local, state, nati onal and global level. Ther e is a disconnect between the organizations of the movement and even a pol itical party as valid spokesman and what the lived reality of (mostly rural) Dalits is like. Ruth Reitan(2007), in Global Activism, draws connections between the subnational (local) and transnationa l (global) levels of social movements and demonstrates the reflexivity between the two levels. Her m odel begins with “localized action” against “trigger events” of neoliberal policy. After localized action is initia ted the next phase for a movement is in the realizati on of the need to go global. Once this has been achieved, frames and claims tend to shift, bringi ng about heightened solidarity among the movement and other movements with similar gr ievances. Solidarity is fully actualized when movements have “coordinated transnatio nal action.” But, Reitan then notes the importance of those movements to return to localized action where their actions will have a larger impact. This process of starting lo cal, going global, and then returning to the local is exactly what is traced with the Da lit movement. As stated earlier, the argument for this route is not viewed as the only possible answer to why na tionalism is changing.


12 Alternatively, this is viewed as one conceivabl e avenue that needs to be further explored. In the case of India, I examine the dominant Hindu nationalism against the challenging Dalit movement. My hypothesis is operationalized and tested by examining the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the Dalit-based political party. I also, however, monitor the results of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP ), the Hindu nationalist party. This is the clearest manifestation between the traditional Indian nati onalism as opposed to the Dalit movement's new vision for the Indian nation a nd identity. Electoral data on both the BSP and BJP are gathered on a stat e-by-state basis for two key periods: pre-global movement activity (1995-1999) and post-gl obal movement activity (200 2-2009). The “moment” of going global for the Dalit movement is be tween 2000 and 2001. This is the most recognized period of transnational activism as the movement participated in two legitimate and established forumsthe 2001 UN World Conference Against Racism held in Durban and the 2001 World Social Forum held in Porto Alegre. Election results come from th e Election Commission of India ( ) and are compiled from India's 28 states. Fo r a variety of reasons, however, only 16 of these states have sufficient data to analyze. These results, however, alone are not necessarily enough to claim th at the movement and the BSP are successful. Other statistics have also been gath ered to provide a broader pers pective of Indian nationalism, the plight of excluded groups, and the actions of social movements. When surveyed with various other facets, such as relevant scholarship and research, news coverage, and analysis of movement websites, it seems plau sible to assert that the BSP and the Dalit movement are progressing very slowly. The collected data includes: the election year, BJP contesting seats, BJP wins,


13 BSP contesting seats, BSP wins, total seats, and the overall winning party. Once the data are compiled from multiple elections per state in the form of a spreadsheet, a comparison can be done between the pre and post-globa l periods and monitor changes that are occurring with the BSP and BJP. Even small changes in the Bahujan Samaj Party electoral results warrant a notable shift either in favor of or potenti ally against the Dalit cause.


14 Chapter Two Literature Review Since many of the terms in this paper st em from scholarly debates, contestations and negotiations, it seems necessary to define key concepts which, in turn, place my own perspective within (or against) the framework of previous theorists. I will clearly define terms such as: nation, nationalism, the state, a nd globalization. I'd also like to clarify an understanding of social movements, nationa lism, the transnational social movement network, and lastly, how race impact s inclusion or exclusion. Nationalism is recognized as an id eology as defined by both Anthony Smith and Benedict Anderson. All social movements are not considered a threat to nationalism, but instead some are seen as attempting to cha nge the ideology of a particular constructed nationalism. Like revolution, certain social movements are trying to change what it means to be included or excluded from a nati onal project and identity. Nick Crossley (2002), in Making Sense of Social Movements examines social movement theory and practice, stressing the importanc e of contestation as a strate gy for change. Furthermore, he writes: social movements are in effect, natu ral experiments in power, legitimation and democracy. Their existence, successes, failures and more generally their dynamics, though all incredibly diff icult to read and interpret, allow us to gauge the workings of the broade r political structures of our society” (9).


15 Crossley establishes the value (and diffic ulty) in analyzing social movements as a broader way to examine a society's str uggle over power, structures and identity. Anthony Marx (1998) in, Making Race and Nation: A Comparison of South Africa, The United States, and Brazil, notes the importance of inclusion and exclusion in national projects. It is inevitable and yet, t hose who are excluded ar e often more likely to collectively identify and put forth a movement to not only change policy but change the social construction of who is excluded and who is not. Marx writes, “state-imposed exclusion of a specified internal group, used to reinforce the allegiance and unity of a core constituency, may be a more pervasive pattern” and that “indee d, nation-states have often been based on such exclusion, not only acco rding to race, but also ethnicity, class, and other cleavages” (25). Ma rx provides insight into the exclusion of some by the nation-state and national proj ects by declaring that s tates make race and not the other way around. Race is used as a way to determine inclusion and exclusion as mandated by elites; it is applicable to this study as caste discrimination is, at least in part, a form of racial discrimination. In the case of discrimi nation against Dalits th ere is a clear urbanrural divide and a stateby-state division. The state is defined as: a geographic te rritory with intern ationally recognized boundaries; an internatio nally recognized and identifiabl e population that lives within those boundaries; and an inte rnationally recognized author ity structure or government (Duncan et al. 2006, 70). This is a fairly basi c definition that leaves out the political and philosophical debates on the creation and just ification for the mode rn state system. While most political philosophers, such as Ma rx, Weber, Hobbes, and Locke, have input on the meaning of the state, I find Weber's de finition also useful. He connects violence


16 and force to states, supporting Trotsky's rema rk that “every state is based on force” (qtd. in Politics as Vocation 33). Weber continues by claimi ng that the modern state “is the form of human community that (successfully) lays claim to the monopoly of legitimate physical violence within a particular territo ryand this idea of 'territory' is an essential defining feature” (33). This then leads to the role of power and who has it which reinforces the power structures of Gramsci's theory of hegemony. A clear understanding of globalization also seems necessary in this study. Jan Aart Scholte (2005) describes globalization as: “a shift in th e nature of social space caused by the spread of transplanetary and supraterritorial conn ections between peopleparticularly to the extent that physical space becomes obsolete or much less of a barrier to social connections in the past” (59). Scholte defines keywords, transplanetary and supraterritorial, as connecting to space. Transplanetary is thought of as being “across the planet” (61). In this, territoriality still exists and matters, but it goes beyond international relations. Supraterritorial is considered to “transcend territorial geography;” it is “delinked” from actual territo ries without any constraint on space (61). I use this definition of globalization for its reliance on social connections and space. For instance, the UN World Conference on Racism could be considered an example of a newly emerging transplanetary space which has an important role in national policy and identity constructions against racism and othe r forms of exclusion. Yet, this space is still very much connected to local places when s ub-national social move ments return to the national or local level to implement change.


17 Nationalism as Either-Or Constructions One area of nationalism scholarship need s to be discussed due to the complex relationship between the Dalit movement, th e caste structure, Hindu nationalism and modern anti-discrimination policy. Past debates over nationalism focused around eitheror constructions. Is nationalism civic-base d or ethnic-based? Most current scholars (Walker 2003; Ozkirimli 2005) argue that instea d of these exclusive claims there is a middle-ground. Umut Ozkirimli (2005), in Contemporary Debates on Nationalism: A Critical Engagement discusses the ethnic versus civic form s of nationalism. Civic nationalism, he writes, is “a shared commitment to the public institutions of the st ate and civil society” (23). Ozkirimli quotes Ignatieff as arguing th at civic nationalism “maintains that the nation should be composed of all those-regardless of race, color, creed, gender, language or ethnicity-who subscribe to the nation's political creed” (23). Ozkirimli continues by describing ethnic nationalism as “a contrast ” which “emphasizes common descent and cultural sameness” (23). Civic nationalism is believed to be inclusive, while ethnic nationalism is thought of as exclusive. It is not quite this easy, however. Ozkirimli continues by pointing out the problematic nature of these two typologies: since all nations lay claim to a uni que place in history and to certain boundaries, all national identities are ex clusionary. In that sense, all nations are ethnic nations (24). Similarly, he debunks civic nationalism for its “oxymoronic quality,” quoting Laitin (2001): the term 'nation' connotes a community into which a person is born, while


18 the term 'civic' connotes a community to which a person belongs by choice or common belief. And if the common belief is of putative common ancestry, or if the choice is to believe in common ancestry, is the national idea still civic? (qtd in Ozkirimli 24). Ozkirimli concludes on the di stinction between ethnic and civic nationalisms by calling them “bogus, both in theory and in practice” (28). Instead, one should view the civicethnic constructions on a linear scale with degrees of synthesis between the two. Regarding Indian nationalism, this idea main tains credibility. Historically, Indian nationalism is more ethnic than civic, being structured on caste hierarchies. Bannerji (2006), in “Making India Hindu and Male,” argu es that Indian nationalism is completely constructed on the premise of Hinduism. He, however, further elaborates that “Hindu” means the Hindu right of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He asserts that the BJP promotes “aggressive masculinity and organized violence” as an atte mpt to construct and maintain the national space. Lower castes a nd non-Hindu religions thus are left with the option to flee, conform, or fight back. Rogers Brubaker (2004), in Ethnicity without Groups also comments on the ethnic-civic distinction, noting their ambiguitie s and concluding that one can not continue to see them as “mutually exclusive” ( 139). He argues for an alternative: the state-framed or counter-framed forms of nationalism. He recogni zes the “state-framed” mode to conceive of nation as “congruent with the stat e,” while the “counter-sta te” mode thinks of nation as an “imagined...distinct form, and often in opposition to, the territorial and institutional frame of an existing state or states” (144). This a lternative theory is supported by the case of India and the Dalit movement. Lastly on this topic, Stephen Shul man's (2002) article on “Challenging the


19 Civic/Ethnic and West/East Dichotomies in the Study of Nationalism” is useful. It references Hans Kohn's (1944) ideas of We st/East divisions and connects them with civic/ethnic divisions. S hulman tests the appropriatene ss of these connections of Civc/West and Ethnic/East by completing surv ey data on 15 countries. Overall, he concludes that “Western civic nations are more ethnic than is usually recognized, and Eastern ethnic nations are mo re civic” (554-5). All of these often-conceived oppositiona l nationalisms connect with one another upon closer analysis. This is also true of th e political or cultural forms of nationalism. None can be envisioned w ithout the other. While I recognize the importance of understanding the previous frameworks c onstructed regarding nationalism, it seems unnecessary dialogue when trying to understand the concrete ways in which nationalism is produced and challenged from below a nd how the transnational arena affects the outcomes in individual movements and nations. Having said that, I agree with the recent conclusions by many scholars that there is not an either-or form of nationalism; rath er, I see the complexity of nationalism in the permeable ways it is imagined, invented, proj ected and challenged. Politics or culture, civic or ethnic, West or East, polis or cosmopolis are not fixed boundaries but instead shape one another and can be t hought of as a continuum of more political or more cultural, more civic or more ethnic, but never one or the othe r. Gerard Delanty (2008) in his review of Jonathan Hearn's Rethinking Nationalism: A Critical Introduction reiterates some of these points: “nationalism can be many things at once-a feel ing or consciousness, identity, an idea or movement and process ...nationalism [is] multifaceted” (399). Della Porta et al. (2005) di scuss the need for alterna tive conceptions of politics


20 and the necessary balance between dichotom ies such as polis and cosmopolis. She asserts the need for politics to become c ongruous with the public and the masses. She writes, “the search for the polis, which polit ical parties and institutions are accused of betraying, is expressed as the need for the public to reclai m political activity, stressing participation and attempting to construc t values and ident ities (as opposed to administrating the existent)” (213). This is exactly what the Dalit movement is attempting to do. The entry into national politics seems necessary to reframe nationalism since it is most often a part of a national project constructed by political institutions and elites in order to maintain control over ci tizenship and inclusion. When considering the Dalit movement it is necessary, however, to link the nationalism debates with race and nation. Race and Nation(alism) When analyzing nation and nationalism, one important form of the categorization of who is included and who is not is a racial or ethnic division. I've already remarked on Anthony Marx's ideas on race, nation and et hnic nationalisms, but have not yet fully examined this perspective of race in rela tion to nation-making. The connection between race and nation is important for this study as I am only looking at a movement which has participated in the 2001 UN World Conf erence Against Racism. Marx's book, Making Race and Nation (1998), provides a theoretical perspe ctive on the invention of race and inclusion/exclusion. Other authors provide variations of these ideas or propose something different. For instance, Guibernau's (1996) ideas, in Nationalisms seem to correspond with Marx's. He states, “race is a way of naming the difference between members of a particular colle ctivity and the 'other', 'the alien'. Race establishes a


21 boundary” (85) between those incl uded in a given national pr oject and those considered on the periphery. The social construction of race as well as the inclusion/exclusion division is supported by Omi and Winant (1986). Although their work focuses on the United States, it relates to racial formation across boundaries and borders. They claim that race is socially constructed and that this then constr ucts racial categories and identities which are constantly “formed, transformed, destroyed and re-formed” (61). They continue by stating that what they call “racial formati on” refers to “the process by which social, economic, and political forces determine the c ontent and importance of racial categories, and by which they are in turn shaped by racial means.” (61-2). The history of the Dalits as a group have most certainly been altered a nd transformed by Indian society as well as the lengthy period of colonization. Numerous scholars argue, as they do with respect to nationalism, that there is an increase or decrease in racial ization along discriminatory nati onal lines. Harrison (2005) states, “political, social, and economic human rights violations-and the inequalities in power and resources that permit them-appear to be on the rise” (10). Harrison supports the structural violence claim as seen by Reitan (2007) because of a noted increase in both hegemonic discrimination and social moveme nts opposing it (and the neoliberal order). While I support many of the arguments by these scholar-activists, I disagree with them on the stance of nationalism. They support Jonathan Friedman's (1994) claim that nationalism is in a crisis and is weakening due to the “outco me of cultural processes that global economic forces engender” (13). The ar ticles in this collection stress the need for a reanalysis of power and who has access to it. They also stress the importance of


22 recognizing divisions among the “ isms” of sex/gender, race (and caste), and class. Anthony D. Smith (1995), in Nations and Nationalism in a Global Era states that there is a contemporary and global risk fo r the resurgence of ethnic conflict and nationalism. He writes, “in the era of globa lization and transcendence, we find ourselves caught in a maelstrom of conflic ts over political identities an d ethnic fragmentation” (2). He notes that there is an increased br eak-down of the “homogenous nation” where national identities are becoming fragmented, hybridized, and less structured. The Dalit movement exemplifies this; as it become less excluded and more included there is an increase in discrimination and violence to reassert exclusion. Similar to Islamic fundamentalism, the Hindu nationalists are trying to retain cultural and political traditions of caste hierarchy. Other authors look at the specific cases of race and nation. Fredrickson (1997) traces racism as national projects in the United States and South Africa through a comparative historical method. He also l ooks at how social movements in both areas have served to alter, even if very slowly, the racist policy which may be construed as a part of the national projects of inclusion a nd exclusion. Similarly, Spickard (2005), in Race and Nation, connects race and ethnicity to th e nation. Through a collection of essays, Spickard examines how ethnic systems are constructed and maintained. While I understand that this is not the focus of Spicka rd, he pays more attention to race than to the conjunctions between nati onal projects and racial projects. However, this book is successful in providing concrete examples of racial systems in the modern era and hint, sometimes more obviously than others, at the na tional projects that coincide with them. Yoshino (1999) also looks at cases of racialized national projects. He finds it


23 useful to distinguish between political a nd cultural nationalisms, but does not see the constructiveness of participating in the disc ourse on what is happening to nationalism. Instead, the book seeks to show how nationalism is being pr oduced and reproduced in areas previously not studied. Particularly, the “consumption of nationalism” is explored in how ethnicity in Asia is utilized to propos e, enforce, and then reproduce nationalism in both a cultural and political manner. Lastly, T.K. Oommen (1997) is helpful for his connections among race, nation and citizenship. In Citizenship, Nationality and Ethnicity he claims citizenship as a useful way to reconcile nationality and ethnicity. He writes, “one must recognize the role of citizenship as an instrument that can rec oncile the two identities of nationality and ethnicity and the competing demands of equa lity and identity” (243). He notes, however, the exclusionary practices of even citizensh ip, but sees it as the most likely way for excluded groups to feel included even if th ey are still experiencing discrimination and exclusion from higher class-standing and access to resources. I agree that citizenship is one manner in which appears to enable inclus ion; yet, I don't think this means that all groups are actually included. When perceiving race as a factor in national projects, Hearn (2007) is most insightful. In “National Identity: Banal, Pe rsonal and Embedded,” he looks at the various levels of nationalism, from the natio nal to the personal. He writes, national identity does not exist in two polar forms-one inscribed on the inner self, the other susp ended in the discursive other. Rather, it gets reproduced along a series of relations, as individuals reach out through the various forms of social organization th at frame their particular lives and circumstances (671). He also, as the title suggests, looks at Bill ing's (1995) concept of “banal” nationalism.


24 The term banal nationalism is introduced to cover the ideological habits which enable the established nations of the West to be reproduced. It is argued that these habits are not removed from everyday life, as some observers have supposed. Daily, the nati on is indicated, or 'flagged' in the lives of its citizenry. Nationalism, fa r from being an intermittent mood in established nations, is the ende mic condition (qtd. in Hearn, 660). These reproductions, whether symbolic or ideo logical are seen in the “everyday life” of discrimination as seen in overtly discrimi natory policy or the subversive structural problems which appear as natural to most citizens. From a cultural aspect this relates to the idea of simulacra-the idea of a copy of a copy without any reference to an original (Baudrillard). Nationalism and Globalization Hedetoft (2003), in The Global Turn: National Encounters with the World, participates in the globalization debate ove r whether on not it is new, supporting the viewpoint that “globalization is both real, unique and deeply consequential for the nationstate and the international system,” but conten ds that this “does not imply the witheringaway of the national state, but a process of adaptive structural repositioning through which it undergoes a profound change” (2). Hedetoft views the nation-state and globalization as two differing sites where they are neither contradictory nor necessarily complimentary. Both Held (1999) and Scholte (2005) str uggle with this issu e of globalization's newness or lack thereof. They, however, go about the discussion in different ways. Scholte provides a more normative and some what prescriptive approach, emphasizing a “newness” in degree and kind Held, instead, provides a historical framework, stressing the change in extensity, intensity, velocity and impact propensity or the “newness” by


25 degree and not kind. With regards to na tionalism, Scholte views globalization as undermining nationalism or at leas t providing other ways in whic h it is formed. He looks to the hybridization of identitie s as a new way in which people collectively identify. He links the decrease in national identity formation to space, commenting, “a relative deterritorialization of social space could ther efore be expected to transpire hand in hand with a relative denationalization of social identity” (225). Scholte sees increasingly plural national identities which may coinci de with Kaldor's view on new and small nationalisms. Mary Kaldor (2004) argues that nati onalism is responding to globalization, calling it a “new nationalism” which is “both shaped by, and shapes, the various phenomena we bunch together under the rubric of globalizat ion” (162). She states that this new nationalism will be “regressive” and “contribute to a wild, anarchic form of globalization, characterized by violence and inequality” ( 162). While disagreeing with both Anthony Smith and Eric Hobsbawm, she finds possibility in Guibernau's (1996) concept of “small nationalisms” (162). She contrasts these sma ll nationalisms as seen by European open (national) identities, with the exclusionary “fundamentalist political networks” (175). She notes that these open small nationalisms are able to be “mobilized not only from above, but also from below by the human right s regime and peace movements” (175). Saul Newman (2000), in “Nationalism in Postindustrial Societies: Why States Still Matter,” brings the discussion back to how the nation-state is effected by globalization. He suggests that perhaps there is a “transformation” occurring called “globalization.” He, however, reasserts the emphasis to the c ontext of states and how they respond. He argues that in studying nationalism it “woul d be well-advised to keep nationalist


26 movements and parties front and center in its analyses” (39). He hi ghlights a point made by several scholars, which is the threat of fundamentalist movements and terrorism as a response to globalization. This is an interesting area of study, but outside the realm of the intended research project. This brings up the importance of power structures and dynamics when discussing nationalism and globalization. Held emphasizes power when understanding contemporary debates over globalization and nationalism. While this too could be discussed at length in a book or separate article it is only important to recognize here. Power, to one degree or another, is what movements are trying to gain and what national projects are trying to maintain. With power comes inclusion to the national identity if not the ability to reconfigure what it means. It also translates into a ccess to resources, which in turn, have the ability to lead to educati on, wealth, and the chance to participate in the local, national or even, global economy. Scholte's reliance on the importance of sp ace or the increasing lack of needing to rely on space creates a need to reassert the importance of territory on nationalism in this study. Ruth Reitan's (2007) amended scale shif t model demonstrates the process of going global and how it, in turn, affects the local, cal ling it “glocal.” It is a completely reflexive relationship, one in which the importance of space continues to be relevant. Della Porta et al. (2006), in Globalization from Below claim that territorial identities do not fade but are increasingly im pacted by other places and cultures. This is leading to resistance movements to defend trad itional cultures, which in turn, lead to a resurgence of nationalism, ethnic movements and religious mobilization (15). The Dalit movement, which is considered to be a me mber of the Global Justice movement through


27 its continuous particip ation in the World Social Forum, is in fact against a traditional culture and nationalism for its history of witnessing exclusion, discrimination and violence. Yet, perhaps it is globalization and transnational forums which have enabled movements to more loudly resist the trad itional culture by gaining support from the international human rights regime and ot her nations who view the Dalit cause as legitimate. These forums and networks are t hought of as alternative inclusive networks. The problems experienced by the Dalit comm unity in India were recognized by the United Nations in August of 2001, the Europ ean Union in May of 2007, and lastly, the United States Congress in July of 2007 (NCDHR website). Nationalism from Below: the Transnational and Social Movements Dallmayr and Rosales (2001) consider na tionalism to be “at a crossroads today” (xv). I do not intend to demonstrate what nationalism is changing to, but instead seek to show one route for potential changes to a given national identity. This route is understood as “going global” to the transnatio nal level in order to experience success, inclusivity, and then return to the national level to also experien ce success and growth in politics. Transnational forums are emerging global spaces which enable territory-based movements to share solidarity. Ruth Re itan (2007) examines why movements and networks have shifted scale to the global (230). She conclude s that this takes place so that solidarity can occur in any of the following ways: those of worthiness for distant issues and sufferers, interconnectedness with others whose struggles are seen as related to one's own, and similarity with activists sharing the same identity which is harmed or threatened (231).


28 Reitan makes another significant contribution to work on transnationalism and social movements which is that “networks have moved well beyond protest toward proposal” (258). What she means is that the traditional protest methods of social movements have advanced to not only protest, but propose alternatives to the hegemonic policy and projects that have guided the top-down appr oach. Iain Bruce (Ed.) (2004) argues this point as well. Peter N. Funke (2008) postul ates that the World Social Forum is an “open space” where a “resistance relay” may th en take place. By this, Funke means that “like a relay, social forums try to 'open' circuits that ar e stronger than social forum's own current and thus hope to function as a sort of catalyst or amplifier for convergences” (459). The opening of transnational social movement networks is supported by most scholars of globalization and social movements. The success of bottom-up transnational netw orks is in several factors: it fosters solidarity among participants from all over th e globe, creating what many scholars refer to as the “global citizen”. With this solidarity comes an exchange of tactics, frames, grievances and visibility. Fo r instance, the Dalit movement 's National Campaign of Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR) has visited and public ly united with Brazil's Landless Workers' Movement and several movements from Japan. Despite all of the recent scholarly attention paid to the transnational Della Porta et al. (2005) suggest it is also important to note how thes e transnational imaginings affect the internal politics and cultures of nations. Re itan also reinforces this argument with her amended scale shift model.


29 Chapter Three Case Study: India's Dalit Movement and Hindu Nationalism Background Information The Dalit movement in India has existed in numerous forms since the late 1800s. Nick Crossley (2002) states, social movements are important because “ they are key agents for bringing about change within societies ” (8). Despite the Dalit movement’s transformations over time, it has consistently so ught to do just that: challenge and change Indian society. In particular, it seeks to al ter the Hindu caste structure, the formation and power of Hindu nationalism, and the exclusi on of “Untouchables” and lower castes from vital resources, such as water, education, hous ing, jobs, and access to the global economy. Entering politics remains a longstanding tact ic of the movement as a way to gain power. A Dalit leader from Andhra Pradesh comments, “We want annihilation of the caste system and the only way we can do this is if we get political power and we're going to fight for political power” ( Unreported World: India's Broken People interview). The thrust of the movement into politics is best demonstrated in the 1984 formation of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), a Dalit-based nation al political party. For this reason, along with the movements' trajectory of “going globa l,” it is a fitting case study for the larger purpose of exploring nationalism today and it s potential for change from below by subnational movements.


30 The Dalit movement is very much still a territory-based movement in India with pockets of mobilization throughout th e Indian states (Figure 1: Ma p of India). It also has, however, since the late 1990s and especially by 2001, particip ated in the transnational social movement network. By “going global” it has been able to find an inclusive community, share ideas and tactics, unify w ith other movements and their goals, gain international attention for the Dalit cause, and lastly, change the framing strategies of the movement so that they are more universally understandable. Figure 1: Map of India


31 The Hegemony of India's Caste Structure and Nationalism The Caste system exists of four castes, varnas, which literally means “color” although it is somewhat metaphorical in this case (Channa 2005). There are numerous sub-classes, or jatis within each caste to which someone is born, lives, and dies traditionally. The Dalits' or “Untouchables'” place within the caste-system is actually beneath it, but this placement comes with a se t of duties like all other castes. Each caste has a dharma, the Sanskrit word for “duty” or “re ligion”. The Braham is the highest caste made up of priests; the Kshatriyas ar e rulers, warriors, and landowners; the Vaishya are merchants; Sudras are farmers, artisans, and servants. The Dalits' function within the system is to do the work that no other resp ectable person would do such as cleaning up human waste, disposing of dead animals, par ticularly cows (a sacred animal to Hindus), and/or making leather. Histor ically, no other castes were supposed to interact with “Untouchables” and most certainly not come in physical contact with them (Luce 2007). Female Dalits have typically suffered a doubl e blowbeing Dalits and females. Higher caste males are allowed to use female Dalits for sex as is apparent in the high rape statistics on Dalit women. More specific de tails regarding Dalit discrimination will be forth coming. This antiquated system of caste hierarc hy is, in part, what Hindu nationalists seek to uphold, as recognized in the Hindutva phi losophy. Thomas Blom Hansen (1999), in The Saffron Wave: Democracy and Hindu Nationalism in Modern India reinforces this claim; he states, “the Hindu nationalists desire to transfor m Indian public culture into a sovereign, disciplined national cu lture rooted in what is clai med to be a superior ancient Hindu past, and to impose a corporatist and di sciplined social and political organization


32 upon society” (4). He also considers this idealization of the Hindu past in the form of nationalism to have “emerged out of the l ongest, most sustained, and most successful trajectory of democracy anywhere in the postcol onial world” (5). Chetan Bhatt (2001), in Hindu Nationalism: Origins, Id eologies and Modern Myths remarks that the Hindu ideas on caste have “developed in conjunction with... conceptions of nation” (3). Many Dalits throughout history, like Ambedkar, have conve rted from Hinduism as a way to remove themselves from the caste system. The Hi ndu nationalists wish to reassert it as the primary identity of India and its people. This is done, in part, through the use of force, violence, discriminatory practices, and po litics, as seen by the BJP. Hindu Nationalism and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Nationalism in India today is founded, in part, on two core perspectives: the influence of European primordialist ideologi es on colonial India and the previously established caste-hierarchy of Hinduism (amended from Hansen 1999; Bhatt 2001). Chetan Bhatt (2001) states, “while regional nationalisms and local patries had existed in India before the colonial pe riod, an overarching framewor k that served to provide ideological coherence for the idea of a prim ordial nationalism, primarily defined through an invention of archaic Verdic Hinduism, mainly gained force from the nineteenth century” (10). Hobsbawm states, in Nations and Nationalism since 1780 (1990), the idea of nation and nationalism is no older than 18th century. While the caste system is centuries old, only since the colonial period has India construct the concept of nationalism as a unified identity. Ambedkar states, “it must be recognized that there never has been a common Indian culture, that hi storically there have been th ree Indias, Brahmanic India,


33 Buddhist India and Hindu India, each with its own culture” (qtd in Omvedt 43). Instead, pre-colonial India maintained pockets of local or regional identities, often affiliated with the territories, languages, and religions (Omvedt 2006; Zavos 2000; Hansen 1999). Colonial rule, however, stressed a geopolitic al unified identity and this seemed most conveniently to correspond with the caste structure. Upon independence and the partitioning of India and Pakistan in 1947, the Indian identity became territory-based but also faith-based. According to a 2001 censu s (, India is made up of about 80.5% Hindu, 13.4% Muslim, 2.3% Christian, 1.9% Sikh, and other or unspecified at 1.9%. Despite claims of equality and diversity, nationalism in India is fiercely embedded in traditional Hindu beliefs. Modern urban centers often seem mo re equal for minority religions and lower castes; yet, a Hindu-de rived identity has only increased since independence due to residual problems re garding the partition of Pakistan and resentments felt by both Muslims and Hindus alike. Hindutva in a concept derived from a 1923 pamphlet by V.D. Savarkar, who stressed India as both a holy-land and a father land, asserting a form of ethnic nationalism (Bhatt). Extreme forms of this pers pective faded slightly during the mid-20th century but reemerged by the 1980s, especially with the f ounding of the BJP, a political party based on these teachings. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has a history intertwined with previously established parties, movements and ideol ogies such as Hindutva, Sangh Parivar and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bharatiya Jana Sangh party. Sang Parivar, the VHP a nd the RSS are nationalist organizations that


34 emerged at the height of Aryan race theori es in the early 1900s and have maintained support among both moderate and conservative Hindus. The BJP emerged in 1980 as a moderate party, claiming to support diversity and equality in India. It has ma ny platform issues it is known for, but for the purposes of this study it is important in its historical connections with Hindutva and Hindu-based nationalist organizations. The BJP is directly linked with the Bharatiya Jana Sangh party which was created in 1951; both the BJP and BJS are connected to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) which was an organization created in 1925 (Luce 2007; Hansen 1999; Bhatt 2001; Malik and Singh 1994). While the BJP advocates equality and incl usivity, it at the same time relies on rhetoric that stresses the th reat of outside influences, pa rticularly the unwillingness of Muslims to support change in India. The BJP website claims, “Hindu society has an unquestionable and proud history of tolerance fo r other faiths and resp ect for diversity of spiritual experiences” ( ). And yet, it later states, “H indutva is here to stay. It is up to the Muslims whether they will be included in the new nationalistic spirit of Bharat (India)”. One might wonder, however, how it is possible for Muslims to fully “be included” when “Hindutva is here to stay.” Smith's (1995) claim that nationalism is re surging as a tool to defend tradition and cultures, causing increased ethnic conflicts, is relevant to Hindu na tionalists and the way they struggle to maintain tradition at the perceived threat of contestation. The BJP upholds the traditional Hindu belief system, includi ng the caste structure. They resent the Muslim minority within India, in part, to the partitioning of “their own land” into modern-day India and Pakistan ( ). For this reason, they urge India to remain


35 committed to its Hinduist history, values, majority, and caste structure. Enforcing Exclusion: Discrimination and Dalits Dalits have been fighting back against exclusion and discriminatory practices since the late 1800s. Despite policy supporting equal rights violence continues. While there is no proof that the BJP actively advocates discriminato ry practices towards Dalits, they do so by ignoring such practices and by supporting traditiona l Hindutva ideology. Various policies call for equality in India, but at the same time it is recognized that these policies are not effectively enforced (; Human Rights Watch). Despite article seventeen of the 1950 Indi an Constitution, which declares equality amongst all castes and races and bans any fo rm of discrimination, violence in India's stratified society persists. The Prevention of Atrocities Act of 1989 also seeks to end discrimination. Human Rights Documentation Centre (hrdc. net) of India states: The Act attempts to curb and punish violence against Dalits through three broad means. Firstly, it identifies wh at acts constitute 'atrocities.' These include both particular incidents of harm and humiliation such as the forced consumption of noxious subs tances, as well as the systemic violence still faced by many Dalits, especially in rural areas. Such systemic violence includes forced la bor, denial of access to water and other public amenities, and sexual ab use of Dalit women. Secondly, the Act calls upon all the states to conve rt an existing sessions court in each district into a Special C ourt to try cases registered under the POA. Thirdly, the Act creates provisions for states to declare areas with high levels of caste violence to be “atrocity-prone” a nd to appoint qualified officers to monitor and maintain law and order. Yet, as the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR) argues, there is not proper enforcement. The Human Rights Do cumentation Centre claims, “although the POA is a powerful and precise weapon on paper, in practice the Act has suffered from a near-complete failure in implementation.”


36 Discrimination against Dalits takes many forms with varying degrees of tragedy and violence: sexual assault on Dalit women, the burning and brutal killing of Dalit families, police brutality and a glass-ceiling ef fect keeping the majority of Dalits from well-paying jobs and education. There is a diff erence between the idealism as seen in the Indian Constitution and the lived reality of Dalit s in modern India. R.M. Pal is quoted on the Human Rights Watch website stating, “the constitution has merely prescribed, but has not given any description of th e ground reality. We can make a dent only if we recognize the fact that the cast system is a major source, indeed an obnoxious one, of human rights violations” ( ts/1999/india). This is, in fact, what Human Rights Watch set out to do when they published a book titled Broken People: Caste Violence against India's “Untouchables” (1999). The National Campaign on Dalit Human Ri ghts along with a variety of other organizations, such as Human Rights Watch, International Dalit Solidarity Network and both the United Nations and the Europ ean Union, have gathered data on the discriminatory practices against Dalits NCDHR supported a study that gathered statistics from 11 states and over 565 vill ages throughout India. A sampling of these statistics is provided below to emphasize th e violence and discrimination that occurs against Dalits on a daily basis. up to 38% of Dalit children in government schools are forced to sit separately while eating in 20% of schools, Dalit ch ildren are not allowed to dr ink from the same water source 27.6% of Dalits are not permitted to enter police stations 25.7% have been denied access to ration shops 33% of public health workers have refused to visit Dalit homes 48.4% of Dalits in villages have been de nied access to the public water source 73% have not been allowed to enter a non-Dalit home


37 70% have been denied eating with non-Dalits in 10-20% of villages surveyed Dalits we re not allowed to wear “clean, bright or fashionable clothing.” These are just a few of the restrictions pl aced on Dalits, not including the actual violence they experience. The International Dalit Solid arity Network (IDSN) cites “official Indian crime statistics” between 2001 and 2005. It has calculated that about 27 atrocities occur against Dalits every day, 13 Dalits are mu rdered every week, 5 Dalit homes are burnt every week, 6 Dalits are kidnapped ever wee k, 3 Dalit women are raped every day, 11 Dalits are beat every day, and a crime according to Indian law is committed against a Dalit every 18 minutes ( ). One brief story from National Geographic (Mayell, June 2003) demonstrates this assertion of force by higher castes on the lower castes: One night, while Maurya was away in a nearby city, eight men from the higher Rajput caste came to his farm They broke his fences, stole his tractor, beat his wife and daughter and burned down his house. The message was clear: Stay at the bottom where you belong.” Other incidents have been reported th roughout India newspapers, academics and organizations alike. Human Rights Watch, in Broken People (1999), writes that between 1994 and 1996, 98,349 cases were registered with the police as crimes against scheduled castes. This number seems rather low comp ared to the 160-170 million Dalits in India, yet it is likely that there is a higher statistic of actual violence versus what is reported. The Human Rights Documenta tion Centre says that part of the problem is that “policemen have displayed a c onsistent unwillingness to regi ster offences under the act. This reluctance stems partially from ignor ance. According to a 1999 study nearly a quarter of those government officials charged with enforcing the Act are unaware of its


38 existence” ( Human Rights Watch also argues that there is a lack of enforcement. Similarly, Amnesty Internati onal estimated that r oughly only 5 percent of attacks are registered (qtd. in Mayell 2003). IDSN cites that about 18.7% of crimes against Dalits were pending with police at the end of 2002 while 77.69% of the court cases were pending. In 2005, pending police inve stigation of crimes against Dalits was at 23.9% and 80.2% of these crimes were pending a trial by the end of 2005. On September 29th, 2006 an event took place in Maharashtra that has become known as the Kherlanji Massacre (; ) in which a Dalit family was murdered by higher caste members for asserting rights to land. A wife, daughter, and two sons were stripped naked; the females allegedly raped, and were then beaten, maimed and killed. Very little was done about the incident and brought about a reactionary violence by Dalits in respon se to such violence by upper-castes. Subhadra Mitra Channa (2005), states that the discrimination of Dalits persists particularly through geographic segregation in urban and rural areas. She provides the example of Dalits in Delhi, where they live in small tenements in the slums of a section of the city. She also links, as do many ot her academics (Jefferey 2004), to the social segregation especially in e ducation and the school systems. Access to water is also limited for Dalits. In one village the state inst alled a specific water tap for Dalits, but it quickly became used by upper-caste villagers. Channa quotes one Dalit villagers as saying, “the government can provi de taps for the untouchables but it can not give them the courage to use them” (51). Overall, Cha nna provides insight into some of the more subtle forms of discrimination. Her outlook on the modern Dalit condition is somewhat bleak as she writes, “almost fifty years dow n the line, in spite of a fair number of


39 untouchables having become political leaders and holding responsible jobs, their position has undergone little change” (51). Her articl e tries to show how a system of oppression “survives in subtle and covert forms and ha s its roots deeply entrenched even when apparently uprooted and done away with in le gislation and overt social norms” (51). Discrimination and violence in India is not only experienced by Dalits, but is also a lived reality for many Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, and other non-Hi ndu Indian citizens (Kamat and Mathew 2003). These groups, lik e the Dalits, are excluded from the Hindu nationalist ideology and identity. The Dalit movement and the Bahujan Samaj Party often embrace these other outsiders Discriminatory practices continue to perm eate Indian society. It is difficult to determine if violence against Dalits is decr easing, increasing or remaining the same since statistics do not prove to be entirely accurate. Wever-Ra bhel (2006)(qtd in O’Neil, 2003, 30) comments, Until India's 'hidden apartheid' is abolished...the world's largest democracy is nothing but a palace built on a dung heap. Subaltern Actions: Historical Tracings of the Dalit Movement Among scholars there is not a cons ensus on when the Dalit movement officially began. Luce (2007) references the Dalit Panthe rs as the first mass-mobilization of Dalits in 1972. Pai (2002) connects modern day Dalit organization to the small movements of the colonial period. Most scholars (Jos hi 1986; Smith 2008; Omvedt 2006; Bob 2007), however, consider Dr. Bhimrao Rumji (B.R.) Ambedkar to be the first person to focus on the “autonomy of the Dalit m ovement” (Omvedt, 43). Although Ambedkar is the most commonly referenced Dalit leader other lead ers have also significantly impacted its


40 strength, tactics, and audience thr oughout the movement's history. Tactics, leaders, and small goals have shifted throughout time, yet, the fundamental goal of Dalit inclusion and equali ty has not changed since the late 1800s. Table 1 (below) presents a historical overview of Dalit movement leaders and organizations since its inception. It should be noted that it is not holistic since access to some of this information is either not readil y available or overwhelming in its quantity. For instance, Dalit organizations today are in th e thousands and stretch across the globe. A direct link between generations of lead ers and organizations has not been made clear in academic literature. In fact, few scholars examining the Dalit movement today have spent sufficient time tracing its roots back throughout India’s history. Doing so, however, reinforces the steadfast nature of this movement despite changing tactics, organizations and leadership. It also demonstrates a contin ual assertion of the importance of politics in achieving the long-te rm goal of Dalit inclusion. Jotiba Govindrao Phule (1827-1890) was a Dalit leader who began by proposing alternative religions to Hindui sm that would emphasize equality. Omvedt (2006) notes, “Phule is today taken as a founding figure in Maharashtra [a Western Indian state] not simply by the anti-caste but also by the farm ers, women's and rural-based environmental movements” (21). He questioned the Aryan race theory which was prominent during the time and greatly influenced some of the Dalit leaders of the 1920s who framed their movement according to race/ethnicity. P hule also founded the Satya Shadohak Samaj organization in 1875 which is the first well-known Dalit organization (Omvedt). Satya Shadohak Samaj focused on uniting lower-castes and Dalits. Its goals were to bring about equality and access to educatio n for Dalits and lower-caste members ( shudras)


41 Table 1: Historical Tracing of the Dalit Movement In order to understand the early forms of the Dalit movement one must also understand what it was up against: the formatio n of Hindu nationalism in the early 1900s. The development of Hindu nationalism and its co re ideological beliefs have already been presented, yet, this must be reiterated here because it was during the period of the late 1800s and early 1900s that Hindu nationalis m becomes a concrete ideology and movement. Zavos (2000) states, “after the tu rn of the century, the idea of organized Hinduism began to assume an increasingly si gnificant role in projections and counterprojections of the Indian people, which were central to contempor ary political discourse”


42 (99). This is done so through the formati on of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Hindu Mahasabha, two organizations that promote an Indi an national identity based on the Hindu caste system. The emergence of Hindu nationalism be tween the late 1800s and early 1900s serves as a jumping-off point for the swe ll of Dalit activism which takes place in the 1920s. It may also justify the ch ange in tactics of the Dalit movement to promoting itself as an identity-based coalition. Omvedt stat es, regarding the differences between Phule and the activism of the 1920s, “a whole peri od of the construction of Hinduism had intervened, with the formulation of an in creasingly sophisticated ideology of Hindu Nationalism” (39). Movements in the 1920s continued to promote equality for Dalits. They, however, changed one major aspect of the m ovement-unlike in prev ious times, they began to claim an “original Indian” identi ty or “adi”. Omvedt points to the popular Aryan race theories of the time that infl uenced the Hindu nationalist movements as a pertinent reason the “adi” movements took hold. She writes, “the adi ideologies were pervasive ideas that won a popular base, as census reports show, and expressed the powerful emotional resistance to brahmanism and caste hierarchy that was embodied in dalit organizations everywhere in the colonial pe riod” (39). Instead of allowing Hindu nationalist clai ms to resonate, Dalits, taking lessons from Phule, found a way to highlight their di fferences to upper-caste Brahmans and their colonizers. They did so by founding various Dalit organizations, including the AdDharm in the northwestern Indian state of P unjab, Adi-Hindu in the northern central state of Uttar Pradesh and Hyderabad, a city in th e southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh, Adi-


43 Dravida, Adi-Andhra and Adi-Karnataka in the southern region of India. Each of these organizations might be regarded as social movement organizations (SMOs), as defined by contemporary scholars of social movement s (McCarthy and Zald 1977; Armstrong and Bartley 2007), in that they were created for the “collective pursuit of social change as a primary goal” (Armstrong and Bartley 2007). A few notable leaders of this time period include Kisan Faguji Bansode (18701946), Bhagyareddy Varma (1888-1939), and Mangoo Ram (1886-1980). Bansode worked primarily in Maharashtra while Ra m mostly organized in Punjab. Mangoo Ram organized in 1926 a separatist organizati on, the Ad-Dharm, which sought to form a separate Dalit community in a Punjab villag e. It was not met with much success. Bhagyareddy Varma was a leader who had b een organizing Dalits since the early 1900s, especially adi-Hindu conferences. He was c onnected to the “petty bourgeois dalit group” (Omvedt 36) and therefore, had access to mo re resources than most Dalits during the time. He formed the Adi-Andhra Mahajana Sabha in 1917, which was an open conference of Dalits, meant to foster relati onships and collaborate on necessary actions, goals, and tactics. This, howev er, did not lead to a national level umbrella organization. That level of mobilizatio n did not happen until Ambedkar became involved in the movement. Evidence supports that these early leaders of the moveme nt directly impacted Dr. B.R. Ambedkar (1891-1956), the most notable and studied Dalit leader. Ambedkar, after returning to India sometime in the early 1920s from earning a law degree in the United States, quickly became involved in politics a nd the plight of Dalits. He too was a Dalit, although he grew up not experiencing the same casteism that other Dalits encountered.


44 He is thought to be the “most articulate Dalit leader” (Omvedt 44). Unlike the 1920s movements, Ambedkar does not claim an indige nous identity, but instead finds fault with the construction of the Hindu caste system. Fo r this reason, he declares in 1935 that he was “born a Hindu but would not die a Hindu” ( In 1936, Ambedkar created the Independent Labour Party (ILP) as a way to fight for the Dalit cause from inside the political sphere. While other leaders had also taken a political route for the Dalit movement, Ambedkar was the first to form a(n) (initially) successful political party. Kanshi Ram, the founder of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), points to Ambedkar as an insp iration (Pai 2002). The Inde pendent Labour Party (ILP) was a worker-peasant party with goals that included ridding caste discrimination, but also focused on problems with capitalism, wealth distribution and equal access to resources. Ambedkar remained involved in both sides of the movement: the polit ical process and the grassroots organization. After Ambedkar died in 1956, the ILP slowly faded away. It was not until the Bahujan Samaj Party formation in 1984 that another Dalit-based political party emerged. Ambedkar also organized the Bahishkrut Hitakarni Sabha (BHS), an organization structured around the goals of the Dalit move ment. Its purpose was to hold various conferences throughout Mahad, a city in the western state of Ma harashtra. It also acted as one of the earliest umbrella organi zations, connecting smaller movements and mobilizing individuals. For instance, the Mahad Satyagraha, the “first untouchable liberation movement in Mahad” (Omvedt 44), met with Ambedkar and the BHS around 1926 by attending the conferences. Its tactics, however, were more radical than those utilized by Ambedkar. The Mahad Satyagraha led marches to drink the water from the


45 village tanks, which was prohibited for Dali ts. Several of their marches ended in violence between Dalits and upper-caste Indian s. The collaboration between Ambedkar's Bahishkrut Hitakami Sabha and the Mahad Sa tyrgraha at this time demonstrates the unification of various organizations despite differing tactics. The end goal of Dalit equality remained the same as previous and later waves of the movement. It was not until the Dalit Panthers in 1972 that there was the first glimpse of western influence on the way the Dalit movement organized and framed its goals. This western influence on the Dalit movement is very important due to its internationalization of movement tactics and frames. The fr ame of human rights over civil rights has remained effective since the 1970s. Within the past decade, however, this frame has actually fused with other hu man rights movements at the transnational level. The Panthers originated in Bombay as a militant youth organization without any clear leadership. They were much more radical than previous organizers and had connections to other various movements and ideologies such as the Naxalites (Omvedt 73), a communist movement. The Dalit Panther manifesto from 1973 states: We want the rule of the whole country. Change of heart, liberal education will not end our state of exploitation. When we gather a revolutionary mass, rouse the people, out of the str uggle of this giant mass will come the tidal wave of revolution...we will build the organization of the workers, dalits, landless, poor peasants...we w ill hit back against all injustice perpetrated on dalits. We will well and truly destroy the caste and varna system that thrives on people's misery, which exploits the people, and liberate the dalits...Sympathizers and members of the Dalit Panthers, be ready for the final struggle of dalits (qtd. in Omvedt 1993). The Dalit Panthers witnessed and then utilized the tactics of the Black Panthers during the Civil Rights era in the United St ates. The Dalit Panthers relied on Malcolm X's idea that violence can not be combated with non-violence and instead, only violence


46 stops violence. The framing strategy of “hum an rights” over “civil ri ghts” was also taken from Malcom X. While the Dalit Panthers still exist they have taken on a softer role, seeking “to promote better understanding between castes... a democratic movement which gives voice to the people at the bottom rung of society” (Hugo 54). There are now several smaller camps of the movement each with various pl atforms, some still relying on militancy while others promote political organization and lobbying. Today, the Panthers are most popular in the southeastern stat e of Tamil Nadu with a national party, the Liberation Panther's Party, which seeks to promote a regional identity over any type of cohesive nationalistic Indian identity. They still, however, maintain the claim that they are guided by Ambedkar. Despite the variety of political parties that have emerged out of the Dalit movement, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) rema ins the most potentially successful at achieving movement goals. As stated ear lier, the BSP was founded in 1984 by Kanshi Ram (1934-2006). Ram created various other organizations throughout the 1970s before forming the BSP, including the Backwa rd and Minority Communities Employees' Federation (BAMCEF). Ram was well aware of the more radical Panthers, but instead chose to follow the political middle-road of Ambedkar. Like Ambedkar's Independent Labour Party, Ram set the goal of Da lit equality and policy reform. Movement activity stagnated from the early 1980s until about the mid-1990s. Very little information can be found about the movement during this period. Various fractions still existed although the radical m ilitancy of the Dalit Panthers lost its momentum. Instead, this pe riod serves as a transiti on period, moving away from


47 radicalism to more mainstream tactics. Rajkhowa (2008) states, the 1990s are defined “by caste politics.” This is in part due to the increasing pr esence of the BSP in state and national elections. Other scholars (Satyanaraya na 2003) argue that this period served as a culminating point for the influence of Ambedka r, noting, “the stature of Ambedkar” grew “with the emergence...of the movement in the 1980s and 1990s” ( Sikh Times June 28 2003). The majority of Ambedkar's writings di d not become publicly available until this period, bringing about a renewed inspiration fo r the movement. Satyanarayana continues by arguing that during this period “Ambedkar and his work...emerged as an important symbol of the Dalit movement and become difficult to ignore.” Although the movement as a whole may have stagnated during this period, it should be viewed instead as a period of reinvigoration and reflection. The renewed impact of Ambedkar led not only to the stea dy growth of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) but also to the formation of many of the Dalit movement organizations that are so influential today. By the late 1990s severa l of these organizati ons were transitioning from the local to the national and then to the global. Peter Jay Smith (2008) attributes a “more extensive Dalit movement” to the “emergence of a Dalit middle class” in the 1990s (21). Smith continues by pointing out th at “significant elem ents of the Dalit movement in the 1990s reorganized on a tran snational basis” (21) The 1990s brought about increasing access to resources for Dalits and new technologies, such as the Internet, that made “going global” easier and faster. The Dalit movement today remains linked with its past. Most modern Dalit organizations claim a connection to the past whether through goals, political affiliations, leadership, faith, or inspiration. Appendix 1 provides a detailed account of some of the


48 most prominent current Dalit social move ment organizations (SMOs) and supporting information such as their goals, tactics, affiliations, year established, inspirations, connections to the transnati onal sphere and places of opera tion. This substantiates the claim that despite the variety of Dalit orga nizations and tactics, the overall goals are similar and justify the thought of a unified and singular “Dalit movement.” While organizations may dispute religious views, tactics, political affiliations, and frames they remain grounded in the desire for Dalit equality. The contemporary Dalit movement cons ists of various social movement organizations each sharing in the belief of Dalit equality. Many of these organizations overlap, working with other like-minded or ganizations. The Dalit movement today is multi-faceted. It include s various and sometimes oppositional groups focusing on radicalism and violence, separatism, non-vi olence, and religious conversion. These groups, however, are linked if by no other wa y than in their shared belief in Dalit equality. For the purposes of this study the Na tional Campaign for Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR) organization acts as th e face of the Dalit movement. This decision is based on several factors: previous scholarship on NCDHR; accessibility; NCDHR's local connections as well as its vi sibility in the transnationa l social movement networks (visibility in both the local a nd the global); its growth into an umbrella organization and its support by smaller or periphery organizations; and lastly, its goals. Additionally, although NCDHR remains separate from Indian politics and political support, it actively supports the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) a nd recognizes the success of the BSP as a victory for the movement. In particular, it was vocal in the su ccessful election of


49 Mayawati, a female Dalit, to the current Ch ief Minister position in Uttar Pradesh. The National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), is a well-known and established organization that serves as a “k ey node” (Smith 2008, 21) to the movement. Numerous scholars (Smith 2008; Bob 2007; Thekaekara 2005; Crossette 2000) examine the NCDHR as a way to study the larger Da lit movement. NCDHR claims to be a coalition of organizations, act ivists, journalists, and acad emics who are trying to end discrimination, monitor hate-crimes and bring awareness to the problems of Dalits. It asserts that it is not represented in govern ment positions such as the BSP party. NCDHR has been represented, however, in the 2001 World Conference Against Racism (WCAR), all World Social Forums since their incep tion in 1998, a 40-day Dalit Swadhikar Rally in 2004, and the first Internationa l Conference on the Human Right s of Dalit Women at the Hague in 2006 among other national and intern ational events ( While the NCDHR does not employ rhetoric that directly challenges Indian nationalism, it clearly articulate s that India’s status quo need s to transform into a more inclusive space. An overview of scholarship, ac tivities, frames and transnational linkages about this organization will be pr ovided later in this chapter. The National Campaign on Dalit Human Ri ghts was created by Martin Macwan, a Dalit activist and now lawyer from the state of Gujarat (Crossette 2000). He was honored with the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award in 2000 and was named as one of the top five “outstanding human rights defende rs around the world” according to Human Rights Watch (Crossette 2000). His involvement in the organization is somewhat vague as the NCDHR website does not even mention his name. Instead the formation of this organization is recognized as being created when 78 Dalit activists gathered from across


50 India to discuss the lack of enforcement of the Prevention of Atrocities Act of 1989. It is assumed that Macwan was a part of this ga thering. Currently, Vincent Manoharan is the acting National Secretary for the NCDHR. Upon its incepti on, the NCDHR is quoted as stating ( ): We were anguished that though our nation had just completed her 50th year of independence, and in spite of our Constitutional and International commitments to the contrary, the prev alence of 'untouchability' continued unabated in many parts of the country In conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declarati on of Human Rights, we called for an urgent national campaign to highlight Dalit Human Rights and to uphold that 'Dalit Rights are Human Rights.' Much of the NCDHR's inspiration comes fr om Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s ideologies. The NCDHR website claims: “At NCDHR we are bot h inspired and energized by the teaching and intervention of Dr. Ambedkar and find releva nt his strategies for the struggles of our day.”


51 Chapter Four The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights and the Bahujan Samaj Party “Our's is a battle not for wealth or for power. It is a battle for freedom It is a battle for the reclamation of human personality.” -Ambedkar The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights: Claims, Frames and Connections The National Campaign on Dalit Huma n Rights (NCDHR) was founded in 1998 with the slogan to “cast ou t caste.” This organization utilizes the Internet and maintains its website as a vital tool to sp read its message, remain connected to its affiliates and supporters, and enable transn ational networking. The NCDHR website serves as an additional resource for unde rstanding the Dalit struggle but also for witnessing its framing strategies, tac tics, known affiliates and successes. According to the NCDHR website, the or ganization has constructed three phases which will have taken place before its large-scale goals are accomplished. Phase one states that there is an urgent need for “raising visibility.” The NCDHR considers this phase to have been succe ssfully completed, as it notes, “NCHDR has managed to successfully raise the visibility of Dalit issues at the state, national and international level” ( ). It provides many reasons for why this phase has been completed, including its global activism and participation, especially at the UN World Conference Against Racism (W CAR) held in Durban in 2001.


52 The second phase is “internationalizing Dalit rights.” For this phase, NCDHR states that it has made “major strides in giving visibility to the plight of the Dalit community.” These strides have been made through NCDHR's partic ipation in all World Social Forums (WSF), the World Conference Against Racism (WCAR), the 40-day Dalit Swadhikar Rally throughout India, “The Situation of the Dalits in India” at the European Parliament in Brussels in 2006, and the fi rst International Conf erence on the Human Rights of Dalit Women at The Hague in 2006, the recognition of the problems of Dalit Human Rights by the United Nations in August of 2001, recognition by the European Union in May of 2007, and lastly, recognition by the United States Congress in July of 2007. NCDHR also won the RAFTO award in 2007 for its work at progressing human rights. The NCDHR website does not make declarative statements about the final accomplishment of this phase as yet. Eventually, the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights intends to focus on Phase Three, which is “holding states accountable .” The website states that work on this phase began in 2003 with the goals to eradicate the illegal discrimination that occurs on a daily basis. It states: We seek foremost to hold the State responsible for not checking the 'impunity' being enjoyed by non-Dalits in the criminal justice administrative system. Specifically, we challenge the State and its justice delivery mechanism, including the Huma n Rights institutions that are in place, to actually implement and enfo rce its constitutional and legislative measures to safeguard, protect and promote the basic human rights of Dalits. The NCDHR uses the Prevention of Atrocitie s Act of 1989 as a legal grounding for its claims. Peter (Jay) Smith (2008), in “Goi ng Global: The Transnational Politics of the Dalit Movement,” brings up the point, wh ich is now emphasized on the new NCDHR


53 website (as of April 2009), that the Dalit movement does not desire to internationalize without returning to the stat e level to seek substantial changes. Instead, the Dalit movement goes global, but also “remains root ed in making the Indian state serve as a means of social protection for the Dalit peoples” (Smith 2008, 13). In fact, the internationalization of the movement serv es the purpose of Phase One by raising visibility beyond the Indian borders. This relationship betwee n the national and the globa l relates to Ruth Reitan's Amended Scale Shift process where a moveme nt builds at the local and national, goes international, but then either returns to or is effected by the national (or local). Appendix 3 demonstrates the solidarity networks whic h have emerged out of the Dalit movement and distinguishes between the sub-national, the international, and the transnational. Among this, it clarifies how the NCDHR works w ith various levels of the movement and transnational networks, but is refl exive as Reitan argues. NCDHR focuses on holding states accountab le because though legal intervention it hopes to slowly end the discriminatory practices and violence perpetrated towards Dalits. The National Campaign on Dalit Human Right s' general objectives is as follows: 1. To serve as platform for shared reflection and collective actions for AIDMAM, DAAA, NFDLRM and NDMJ. 2. To extend critical support to Dalit comm unity to realize ri ght to equity and justice in the economic, political, cult ural, social and gender domains through its movements. 3. To recognize, develop expand initiatives to respond to the larger capacitation and public action demands from the Dalits. 4. To support movements with Dalit ideology culture, values and work ethics so that they can effectively serve as energizers of Dalit public action. NCDHR's first objective refers to four “movements” it has started. AIDMAM is


54 the All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch, a forum for Dalit women to work towards altering the double-burden of Dalit femalesbeing Dalits and women. It seeks to challenge the structures that enable discrimi nation, whether patriarchal, caste or classbased, or economic. The DAAA is the Dalit Arthik Adhikar Manch, a branch of the NCDHR that focuses on changing the economic and educational practices in India which leave Dalits behind while other castes move forward. The NFDRLM consists of the National Federation of Dalit Land Rights Movements. This organization focuses on Dalit access to land and an agricultural liveli hood. Lastly, the NDMJ is the National Dalit Movement for Justice, a broader movement w ithin the NCDHR. It mostly consists of Dalit survivors of violence or discrimination as well as sympathizers and seeks to enforce justice. It does so by attempting to, “establish [Dalits] as equal citizens in the society under Dalit leadership within our rising consciousness...t o promote and protect Civil Political Rights of Dalits for ensuring... fair justice” ( ). While the National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights only exists in about 14 Indian states, these smaller branches of th e NCDHR operate in additional states. For instance, the National Dalit Movement for Justice (NDMJ) works in about 17 states and the National Federation of Dalit Land Rights Movements (NFDLRM) is active in 16 states. Some of these organizations even na vigate states which do not have a significant presence by the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, other Dalit movement organizations or even the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). The NCDHR states that its goals are ach ievable through a variety of strategies. The NCDHR website is currently undergoi ng renovations; these changes from its


55 previous site emphasize its increasing role as an umbrella organization meant to serve and strengthen these smaller groups or organizati ons. This is reflected in a few of its somewhat vague strategies of: 1. Form and strengthen moveme nts owned and managed by Dalits 2. Develop organizational mechanisms to strengthen the emerging movements 3. Even while respecting the internal structures of management and control within each member movement, facil itate the internalization and reflection of ideology, values and principles in these movements 4. Support in Mobilizing adequate res ources, knowledge and expertise to further advance vision of th e four movements ( NCDHR increasingly frames its goals and strate gies in the context of its connections to both smaller and larger movements and or ganizations. On its home page it now emphasizes not only its motto to “cast out ca ste” and has a photograph of Ambedkar, but also provides links to the NCDHR Coaliti on, One World South Asia, an even larger umbrella organization, and has the capabil ity to stream the well-known film among activists, academics and sympathizers on the plight of the Dalits“I'm Dalit. How are You?.” It also provides a link to a recent fu ll-length film, “India Untouched: Stories of a People Apart” (2007). Lastly, it promotes th e four sub-movements mentioned earlier and a list of recent interv entions and daily atrocities. A ll of these changes reiterate the emphasis on connecting the gl obal and the local. From the Local to the Global: NCDHR's Transnational Ties The National Campaign on Dalit Human Right s (NCDHR) continues to expand to the transnational sphere where it gains visibil ity, solidarity, and also increased access to resources. As Charles Tilly (1978) notes, a ny social movement organization is reliant on resources to remain active. It is due to th is need for resources that the movement has


56 historically been driven by Dalits who have acce ss to resources, education, and financial capital. Some Dalit organizations have even expanded to include non-Dalit leadership as a means of securing additional resources. For instance, the BSP has allowed non-Dalit politicians to enter into the party as long as the goals remain aligned with the party and movement. The current chairperson of th e BSP-Mayawatihowever, is a Dalit. The upward direction of the Dalit moveme nt to the global level is what most scholars of the movement (Smith 2008; Smith 2005; Bob 2007; Lerche 2008; Paul 2002) examine. This section will provide an overv iew of relevant scholarship regarding the Dalit movement and transnational networking and more specifically, demonstrate the process of going global which the National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights has enacted. This will then allow for a sufficient tracing back to the local and national levels where election results of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) are analyzed. Dalit movement participation in the 2001 UN World Conference Against Racism in Durban is argued by Dalit scholars (Smith 2008) as the most important moment for the movement to the transnational sphere. This conference brought the issue of casteism to an international stage while also providing legitimacy to Dalit movement organizations such as the NCDHR. It was at this mome nt that Dalit organizations began to reframe their strategies and language to enable solidarity among other excluded groups. Smith (2008) also points out that the NCDHR “took a significant step in tr ansnationalizing the Dalit struggle” by aiding in the formation of the Denmark-based International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN) in 2001. Appendi x 3 demonstrates the transnational networking of the NCDHR both to the smaller local organizations and the much larger global organizations which either focus on Da lit rights or support Dalit right. Appendix 1


57 also lists the INSN in order to demonstrate its goals and tactics in comparison with other organizations. The Dalit movement has s upport from groups across the globe, including religious, minority, human rights, anti-slaver y and anti-discrimination groups. NCDHR has even recently been involved with the La ndless Workers' movement in Brazil. Before the Dalit movement attended the 2001 UN World Conference Against Racism (WCAR) it experienced other successes which are likely attributed to increasing interconnections between regions and movements. In fact, Peter Jay Smith (2008) points all the way back to the immigration of Da lits to Europe as the beginnings of the “internationalization of the Dalit issue” (21). The internationalization of the Dalit movement is not under contention here. Instead the year of 2001 is used as the moment of transnationalization. The NCDHR participated in the World Social Forum (WSF) in Porto Alegre in 2001 as well. Other organizations, however, were already monitoring the plight of the Dalits. For instance, Human Rights Watch was studyi ng and exposing casteism in India years prior to 2001. It published Broken People: Caste Violence Against India's “Untouchables” in 1999. This book includes recommendations to the government of India, all state governments, the United Na tions, World Bank and other international lending institutions, and India's donors and trading partners. It examines in very precise detail forms of discrimination in specific re gions and instances, as well as outlines the failures of India and Indian states to meet domestic and international legal obligations. The work was conducted in 1998 with over 300 interviews of Dalit men and women. Human Rights Watch also met with governme nt officials, activists, and other people involved on either side of the movement. NCDHR relies on many of the facts from this


58 book to support its claims. The Human Rights Watch report does not conclude with pos itive outcomes. Regarding politics, it only disc usses how local, state, and/ or national governments handle or ignore blatant acts of discri mination and violence. For the purposes of this research, the HRW report successfully provides the contex t for the persistence of discrimination in India. In 2007 another Human Rights Watch report came out: Human Rights Watch Report: Hidden Apartheid: Caste Discrimi nation Against India’s “Untouchables.” These reports by Human Rights Watch jump-started the internationalization of both the Dalit cause and movement. Like the movement's participation in the 2001 World Conference Against Racism, the reports also provided the necessary legitimacy for the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR) to expand to the global sphere. Peter Jay Smith (2008), in his article, “Going Global: The Transnational Politics of the Dalit Movement,” analyzes the National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights' (NCDHR) participation in the 2004 World Social Forum held in Mumbai. He attended the 2004 WSF in Mumbai as well as the 2005 and 2007 forums (15). He attained interviews with various Dalit leaders, subscr ibed to Dalit forums, and examined various primary and secondary literatures on the Da lit movement. Smith connects the Dalit movement to the larger opposition against neo-liberal globalization and policy (14), stating, “while globalization may disempower people, it may simultaneously empower the most marginalized groups who increasingly are acquiri ng the capacity to project themselves and their causes beyond their borde rs, in this instance, the Dalits” (14). While Smith's approach is somewhat different from my own, focusing on economic policy and the Global Justice movement his scholarship is the most pertinent


59 to my own examination of the Dalit movement for several reasons. Smith relies on a case study methodology and employs Ruth Reitan' s (2007) use of “understanding” and “explanation”, the subjective and objective. These concepts, covered earlier in this thesis, are a part of her methodology leading to the Amended Scale Shift Model. Smith uses Held's (1999) definition of globalization as way to place himself within relevant scholarship. He also emphasizes the im portance of space for the movement and NCDHR's primary objective of “making the Indian state better serve the interests of the Dalit people” (15). Although Smith focuses on the transnational level of movement activity, he successfully argues for the goal of the movement to return to the local and national levels. Lastly, as this is an expl oratory case study, Smith's fieldwork provides a useful first-hand account of NCDHR and its path to the global. Regarding Dalit organizations going beyond India, Smith asserts, “they widened the basis of their struggle against caste and shifted scal es beyond the nation-state, a struggle very much premised on the ideas of Am bedkar. Yet, at the same time...the Dalits insisted that the state retain its key role in terms of social protection and improvement” (21). In fact, in one interview a Dalit ac tivist links this path to Ambedkar, noting, “Ambedkar showed that boundaries for solutions to the problem of caste discrimination are not to be drawn around the village, district, state or nation. What is an internal solution or external solution should not be determined by geographic borders or national borders” (21). Smith also argues that Dalits are more nationalistic perhaps, since their “primary objective [is in] making th e Indian state better” (15). According to Smith, the Dalit movement during the 1990s shifted its focus to the transnational level due to increased frustrat ion with neoliberalism. He states, “they


60 widened the basis of their st ruggle against caste and sh ifted scales beyond the nationstate...yet, at the same time...Dalits insisted th at the state retain its key role in terms of social protection and improvement” (21). He concludes that “real ch ange” is possible in modern India although it has not been fully realized as of yet. Clifford Bob (2007), in “'Dalit Rights are Human Rights': Caste Discrimination, International Activism, and the Constructi on of a New Human Rights Issue,” argues the Dalits have achieved “limited but importa nt advances among transnational NGOs, international organizations and foreign gove rnments since the late 1990s” (167). He points to organizational and rhetorical fact ors as to why the Dalits are increasingly successful at gaining recogniti on for their cause. Bob continue s by asserting that this is due to the movement's unified network with in India (as can be seen in the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights) but then also outside of India. Bob points to changes in framing strategiesa broader framing away from casteism to a more readily familiar terminology of human rights, discrimination and exclusion (168). This allows the Dalits to connect with a variety of other minority groups such as the Burakumin of Japan, a minority group, and the landless workers of South America. Jens Lerche (2008), in “Transnational Advocacy Networks and Affirmative Action for Dalits in India,” comments: “strategy matters ” (239). Lerche, too, argues that the shift of grassroots organizati ons to a more unified coal ition has made them more successful than previous organization. He st ates, the Dalit movement “uses transnational advocacy networks to generate international social and political pressure on the Indian government, in order to further its own agenda at a national level” ( 240). A key strategy of the modern Dalit movement is just this: th e reframing of the cause to succinctly match


61 that of other human rights organizations. “Cas ting out caste” is still important, but so too is the understanding that “d alit rights are human rights” (NCDHR). NCDHR also believes in the motto of the World Soci al Forum“another world is possible.” Lastly, Nicolas Jaoul’s chapter, “Poli tical and ‘Non-Political’ Means in the Dalit Movement,” links the movement and the BSP to both political and non-political or sociocultural tactics. This article is crucial to this thesis because it synthesizes the Dalit movement and its connections to the BSP, the local and the transnational. Jaoul writes, “with the rise to power by the Bahujan Sama j Party (BSP) in Uttar Pradesh (UP), it has been widely acknowledged that Dalits have improved their position in the local power structures” (191). He connects the success of the BSP to the success of the Dalit movement and inclusivity. Jaoul, however, is hesitant to focus on th e political route of a social movement, noting “the attaining of po litical power is acknowle dged as an essential step, but also regarded as a potential trap for an authentic people’s movement” (191). He is critical of BSP officials once they are elected into office and the ways in which they interact with the movement and UP citizens; Jaoul states, “the cynical behavior of the BSP elected representatives towards their electorate has exacerbated the popular suspicion of politicians and the political sphere as a whol e” (214). Jaoul’s statement clarifies why the NCDHR and other organiza tions opt not to officially affiliate themselves with a political part y and choose instead, to suppor t individual candidates. The Dalit movement does not directly make claims about challenging Indian nationalism but rather attempts to assert an Ambedkar philosophy of equality on the basis of human rights and Indian citizen rights. The contestation of Dalits against Hindu nationalism is supported by most Dalit-scholar s. Gail Omvedt is a sociologist and


62 scholar-activist who has been a part of the Dalit movement since the 1970s. Her writings focus on her personal knowledge of the m ovement and its history. In her book, Dalit Visions (2006), she states that the movements “came to contest the way in which the Hindu-nationalist forces sought to depict and hegemonize Indi an culture” (6). Omvedt continues by pointing out three themes in Dalit politics: ch allenging the very definition of Hinduism as the core of I ndian tradition and the necessity for this powerful force to be overthrown; support for all marginalized or oppressed people in India; and the need for cultural, economic and political change in India (86-7). Omvedt, like other scholars (Bob 2007; Smith 2008; Paul 2002) note that the movement has not as yet achieved its primary goal of Dalit equality. Of course, pockets of both equality and severe discrimination exist today, typically aligned with the urban/rural divide. It is al so noteworthy that th e BSP like the movement has evolved its goals to be more moderate and universal, fo stering a “broader vision which could make it a leader of a mass upsurge” (Omvedt 91). Othe r researchers have presented evidence to suggest that NCDHR's particip ation in transnational meeti ngs has contributed to its ability to successfully achieve its goals of inclusion to both the Indian place and the global space. The Indian Political Sphere: Dalits, Po litics and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was founded in 1984 as a Dalit-based political party with the goals of addressing the needs of the excluded and oppressed Dalit population (Pai 2002). The BSP philosophy is inspired by B.R. Ambedkar, who was a Dalit political leader in the early and mid-20th century. It was founded, however, by Kanshi Ram, a Dalit-Sikh. He grew up in the northwestern rural stat e of Punjab and was


63 the only child to graduate school. He claims to not have experienced any “untouchability,” or Dalit-based discrimination, until working for the government where the celebration of Dr. Ambedkar's birthday was disputed. This experience and the reading of Ambedkar's work inspired Ram to take up Dalit rights in the early 1970s, founding the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes and Minorities Employees Welfare Association in 1971. By 1973 the organization became the All India Backward and Minority Employees Federation (BAMCEF). Ram's goals initially focused on radical social transformation, the BAMCEF motto being, “Educate, Organize and Agitate.” His focus, however, slowly shifted away from community organizing and into politic s with the goal of placing Dalits (or Dalitrights sympathizers) into elected office. T hus, the BSP was born with this amended goal of successful social change through political power. The BSP is currently listed as a national pa rty in India, but even within the last decade has either not been present in certain In dian states or run as a state party. This is most likely due to Dalit movement activity within some states and not others. Sudha Pai (2002), in Dalit Assertion and the Unfinished Democratic Revolution: The Bahujan Samaj Party in Uttar Pradesh claims that “the gradual emergence of Dalit consciousness and movements was significant feat ure of colonial Indi a...leading to [the] uneven development of the Dalit movement” (25). Pai continues by asserting that that the socio-political roots of the BSP rest in India's colonial past. Scholars (Luce 2007; Omvedt 2006; Pai 2002) claim that the emerging status of the BSP as a legitimate, established party is due to the Dalit consciousness movements beginning in the colonial period, especially the influence of Ambedkar, and the over 30


64 years of post-independence befo re the establishment of the BSP. The party is firmly rooted in the identity politics of Dalits a lthough it allows non-Dalit part icipation. In fact, in the January 21st, 2009 edition of The Hindu news a well-known BJP official, Kalyan Singh, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, st epped down from the party to instead back the BSP. Singh is quoted as saying, "We w ill take up the cause of Dalits, backwards, farmers and downtrodden in the days to come” ( Some critics, however, claim that Singh may be doing this due to the incr easing popularity of the BSP in Uttar Pradesh whose supporters could potentially back him in a run for Prime Minister. Because the BSP is the party primaril y supported by the Dalit movement, it will be imperative to explore how BSP support vari es across regions in India and across time as the movement shifts from being locally a nd nationally to transnationally networked. Scholars remark that although the movement is making significant strides it is still not at a point of completion. Pai (2002) states, the BSP has “failed in its avowed goal of displacing manuvadi (representing upper cas tes) forces and intr oducing social change” (1). The author argues that the BSP is at a cross-road and must decide between remaining loyal to its revolutionary leftis t roots or to push forward as a political party “driven solely by the compulsion of achieving power” (1). Yet, the overall goals of the BSP rema in rooted within the movement and Ambedkar's vision for Dalits in India. It strive s for justice and equality as is stated in the Indian Constitution ( The BSP states on its website: The chief aim and objective of the party shall be to work as a revolutionary social and economic move ment of change with a view to realise, in practical terms, the supr eme principles of universal justice,


65 liberty, equality and fraternity enunciate d in the Constitution of India, to be followed by State in governance, and in particular summed up in the following extract from the Preamble of the Constitution. Mayawati is the key leader of the movement and acts as unifier of politics and social activism, similar to how Ambedkar served the movement. She is often cited as a potential future Prime Mini ster of India. Prior to the 2001 World Conference Ag ainst Racism Dalits were relatively successful in the Indian political sphere. Pockets of support for the BSP before the preglobal period are most recognized in the central state of U ttar Pradesh (UP). The data collected in this project reinforces this a nd is expanded on in Chapter Five. Long before this research, however, scholars have analyzed the success of the BSP, most notably in Uttar Pradesh. A few articles and books (Pai 2002; The Economist 3/15/2003 and 5/26/2007; Jaffrelot 1998) have already been written on th is BSP in Uttar Prad esh. Other articles highlight the oppositional dichotomy that exists between the BSP and the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). An article titled, “Saffron Fading: The Hindu Nationalists are struggling for leader ship and direction,” appeared in The Economist (May 26, 2007). It declares that “Indians are out-of-love with dynastic politics” and connects this 2007 UP election to the 2004 loss of the general election by the BJP. The article notes, however, that the party does still hold power although its message has softened in order to have more appeal. Another Economist article (March 1, 2008), “Beginning the Long Goodbye,” also comments on th e decline of the BJP. It claims that they have been “demoralized” and has “b een torn by feuding ove r its Hindu-elitist ideology.”


66 The BSP, on the other hand, has had a “rise [that] has been inexorable.” This is most apparent in the victory of Mayawati, a female Dalit and BSP chairperson, who was elected chief minister in Uttar Pradesh for the fourth time in the May 2007 election. Mayawati is known as “the Dalit queen” and was a former protg of Kanshi Ram, the founder of the BSP. Simon Robinson, in an article for the Time Magazine (South Pacific Edition, April 14, 2008), cites Mayawati as “emerging as a national power broker--and even a potential Prime Minister.” Radhika Govinda, in “The Politics of the Marginalized: Dalits and Women's Activism in India” considers Mayawati and the BSP's success as uplifting for the Dalit movement in general. Govinda writes, “the BSP's emergence as a strong regional party under th e leadership of Mayawati has led to a significant rise in confidence within Dalit co mmunities” (183). She goes on to note as these Dalit political successes happen or increase so too do attacks on Dalits by uppercaste men and women (183). Mayawati has also been working toward s enforcing the previous Indian and international policies against discriminati on and ensuring that the affirmative action policies are also enforced. Sagarika Ghos e (2007) mentions how Mayawati had a leader of a political union, the Bharatiya Kisan Union, arrested for making a “casteist” comment. Overall, it is clear that Mayawati is a symbolic icon for the future of Dalits in India. Her name has spread to the interna tional media, even bei ng recently written about in the Los Angeles Times (Chu 2008). This is not to ignore, however, the many controversies that surround her such as accusations of corruption, embezzlement, and altering the original goals of the BSP to include other cast e politicians and leaders. Yet, as she most recently publicized, not much is ch anging in more traditi onal Indian political


67 parties. She attacked Congress General Secretary, Rahul Gandhi, most recently for attempting to appeal to Dalits in UP while in private conducting ritual purification after interacting with Dalits, whose vote he is after fo r the upcoming 2009 election ( ). Even though political successes have been shown, there is not enough evidence to say that Dalits have conclusively “achieved” success. Rather, the BSP continues to gain mainstream popularity in certain regions of India while remaining virtually unknown (and unelected) in other areas. There is hope for the BSP with the projection of Mayawati as the potential next Prime Minister. This will eventually trickle down to the 160 million Dalits living in India. Likewi se, the National Campaign of Dalit Human Rights continues its transna tional networking while remaining grounded in the communal and political needs of Dalits in India. Sam Paul (2002), in “Dalits, Durban and Delhi...Now What?,” argues that the “mindset of the masses must be influenced” for any sort of radical change to occur (149). He also remarks that “the real plight of the Dalits in our towns and villages will not be affected much even in a postDurban scenario...atrocities agai nst Dalits remain the same. They must live in separate settlements, draw water from separate pumps or wells, refrain from entering temples, and refrain from dini ng with the upper castes wi th separate places to sit” (149). He even provides measures wh ich he thinks will be helpful. It is also somewhat interesting when readi ng his biography to notice that he is a writer from the All India Christian Council. Religi ons typically suppor t the Dalit cause if for no other reason then they seek new membership. One of hi s measures for adoption is no surprise: the mass conversion of Dalits to Christianity.


68 Other scholars agree, however; Gopal Guru (2004) considers Dalits to still remain “bahishkrut,” which is noted as translati ng to “outcastes, ostracized, ghettoized, and socially boycotted” (757). Guru's article, “Dalit Vision of India: from Bahishkrut to Inclusive Bharat,” supports the earlier argumen t of Dalits as the future protectors of the Indian nation, as it is stated, “Their responsib ility as the defender of Indian nation has increased manifold because the upper castes have a shaky commitment to the Indian nation” (762). This is because many Dalits do not, as of yet, have access to the global market. Guru's final claim is one of hope: “the fi nal future project of the Dalits would be to detoxify the civil society of its deep-seate d prejudices and the structures of humiliation that push Dalits into the siege.” Guru continues, “the Dalits will prefer that kind of India, which will not produce the structures that wi ll underlie and renew the structures of inequality” (762-3). While the Dalit movement has evolved over time as a means to acquire new skills, tactics, and relationships, its overall goals have remained gr ounded in the task of created a new India that correlates its policy of e quality with what Dalits and lower castes actually experience. The BSP, while historically rooted in the Dalit movement, has sought to achieve success not only from below but also from above by gaining political power. Christophe Jaffrelot (1998) points out th at this is not, how ever, different from what other Dalit organizations have sought to do throughout history, particularly Ambedkar (35). Kanshi Ram, the founder of the BSP, was in fact very much a part of the movement and, like most Dalit organizations took his inspiration from Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.


69 Chapter Five Data, Findings, and Future Research State Electoral Results Data It is now necessary to tu rn to the electoral results of the Dalit-based Bahujan Samaj Party. Although a comparison has been done between the BJP and BSP, the results of the BSP alone are of interest. Individua l state data and corr esponding electoral data table may be found in Appendix 2. This incl udes the state's populati on, its literacy rate, its urban/rural division, and Dalit movement presence gathered in part from the 2001 census ( The electoral results for both the BSP and BJP are indicated in a table per state. Each table presents the year of the election, how many seats the BJP contested, how many seats they actually w on, how many seats the BSP contested, how many they won, and the total winning party for th e election. Before getting started, Table 2 provides a list of common political parties, their abbreviations, and is followed by a brief summary of the most common nati onal Indian political parties. Table 2: Common Political Parties Common Political Party Abbreviations: BSP Bahujan Samaj Party BJP Bharatiya Janata Party INC Indian National Congress CPI Communist Party of India CPM Communist Party of India (Marxist)


70 The Indian National Congress (INC) was founded in 1885 and was the main party which became a part of the Indian Independen ce movement fighting agai nst colonial rule. Currently, the INC claims to be the only party “anchored in the larger vision of India as a nation, while at the same time being sensit ive to regional and local sentiments” ( The INC has roots in the beliefs of Mahatma Gandhi, especially the concept of Sarvodaya which is to help uplift a ll segments of the I ndian population. In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections the INC along with a coalition of other parties, the United Progressive Alliance, came to power. The Communist Party of India and then th e splinter-party, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) are both communi st parties with limited succe ss in Indian states-Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The CPI claims to be the party of the “Indian working class” ( ). It seeks justice through a socialis t regime where all citizens have an equal opportunity. The CPI was founded in 1925. The CPI(M) split with the CPI around 1964 due to the desire to continue with radi cal tactics whereas the CPI has softened its message. Indian political parties ar e divided by either state or national standing. Some state-based parties, such as the Jamm u & Kashmir National Conference, have successfully won state general assembly el ections and coaliti ons in the national government. Much of India’s political party structure consists of numerous small and regional parties. As of 2004, there were onl y 9 national parties and about 50 recognized state parties (eci website). Data for this project were gathered from 16 states. Out of thos e states, the number of seats contested and/or won by the BSP increas ed from the pre-global to postperiods.


71 It is noteworthy that out of the 16 states th at data were successfully collected from, a NCDHR branch exists in 12 of them. Once factoring the su b-movements of the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights only Jammu & Kashmir has no known Dalit movement presence. This information, al ong with other Dalit m ovement activity, is outlined in Appendix 1. Table 3 (below) provides a lis t of Indian states, the states where data were collected, and whether or not findings were c onclusive or inconclusi ve. Inconclusive data are determined by a lack of BSP partic ipation in a given state. Three statesChhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Uttarakhandwe re not formed as states until 2000; therefore, they were not used in data collection as they did not have viable elections to establish a pre-global period. Table 3 also provides a summary of each state’s political activity-which party won and changes in bot h contested and won seats by the BSP. Table 3 highlights several impor tant outcomes. First, there are drastic rises in the seats contested by BSP candidates in every state where data were collected. This, however, does not necessarily translate to more elected positions in those states. In fact, in two statesPunjab and Jammu & Kashmirthe BSP elected positions decreased. There continues to be a rather low “success” rate of BSP candidates achieving elected positions. The remainder of the data provided in Tabl e 3 and in Appendix 2 will be analyzed in more detail shortly. Before that, however, th e data and results of Uttar Pradesh’s political landscape are examined more closely because, as previously discussed, this state has unusual BSP success compared with the rest of the states under review.


72 Table 3: Electoral Data Collected State: Pre-Global Election: 1995-1999 PostGlobal Election: 2002-2009 InconclusiveBSP Changes from Preto Post Contestations BSP Changes From Preto Post Wins Winning Party from Preto PostPeriods Andhra Pradesh 1999 2004 48 to 160 0 to 1 BJP to INC Arunachal Pradesh 1999 2004 X Assam 1996 2006 X Bihar 1995 2005 161 to 212 2 to 4 JD to BJP Goa 1999 2002, 2007 X Gujarat 1998 2002, 2007 7 to 166 0 BJP Haryana 1996 2005 67 to 84 0 to 1 BJP to INC Himachal Pradesh 1998 2003, 2007 28 to 67 0 to 1 INC to BJP Jammu & Kashmir 1996 2002, 2008 29 to 83 4 to 0 JKN Karnataka 1999 2004 85 to 102 0 INC Kerala 1996 2006 12 to 107 0 CPI to CPI(M) Madhya Pradesh 1998 2003, 2008 170 to 228 11 INC to BJP Maharashtra 1999 2004 83 to 272 0 BJP to INC Manipur 1995 2002, 2007 X Meghalaya 1998 2003, 2008 X Mizoram 1998 2003, 2008 X Nagaland 1998 2003, 2008 X Orissa 1995 2004 59 to 86 0 INC to BJP Punjab 1997 2002, 2007 67 to 115 1 to 0 BJP Rajasthan 1998 2003, 2008 108 to 199 2 to 6 INC Sikkim 1999 2004 X Tamil Nadu 1996 2006 9 to 164 0 CPI to INC Tripura 1998 2003, 2008 X Uttar Pradesh 1996 2002, 2007 296 to 403 67 to 206 BJP to BSP West Bengal 1996 2006 48 to 128 0 CPM


73 One clear avenue of future research is fieldwork to see exactly why the BSP has such a tremendous success rate in UP. Schol ars have written about the politics in UP without covering the tactics of both the loca l and state level Dalit movement and BSP offices. The political activity in Uttar Pr adesh since the mid-1990s is of particular interest to this research project. As has already been alluded to, it is the only state to have an overwhelming BSP majority and a Dalit Ch ief Minister, Mayawati. The NCDHR has maintained a significant presence in Utta r Pradesh along with nu merous other Dalit organizations, but no research points to a heightened level of mobilization or even movement-party organization. The BSP, although somewhat successful in the 1990s, drastically increased both its candidates contesting seats and elected officials between 1996 and 2007. In 2007 it took the lead as the winning party across the state. In 1996 the BSP challenged 296 Table 4: Uttar Pradesh Data positions and was elected to 67 of those seats. In 2007 its numbers grew significantly to 403 contested seats and 206 elected positions. At table 4 demonstrates, the BJP dropped both its contestation and elected positions between 1996 and 2007. In 1996 it ran for 404 seats and was elected to 174 of those positions whereas in 2007 it contested 350 seats and only won 51 positions. Bahujan Samaj Party presence will need to continue to be monitored over time to see if its political power con tinues, grows, or decreases. There are several possible State: Uttar Pradesh 199620022007 BJP Contested Seats:414320350 BJP Wins:1748851 BSP Contested Seats:296401403 BSP Wins:6798206 Winning Party:BJPBJPBSP


74 factors for BSP success: UP is the most populated state, with a population of 166,052,859 (2001 census). Also, while it is comprised of about 66% rural land, it has slightly below double the national average of population density. It is rated at a pproximately 473 people per square kilometer while the national average is at 274 people. UP has a 57.36% literacy rate. As discussed earlier, the role of Mayawati in state and national elections has been and will continue to be very important not only for Uttar Pradesh but also for the Dalit cause and the Bahujan Samaj Party. She is, according to various news sources, the first Dalit who has a real chance of someday becoming the Prime Minister of India. In fact, there was speculation about this during the mo st recent general elections in India-the 15th Lok Sabha elections. 2009 Lok Sabha Elections Into this discussion of U ttar Pradesh must enter the 15th general Lok Sabha elections (April). The data gathered for this study were compiled from the state-by state general assembly elections, pa rticularly the Vidhan Sabha (lower house). This was done so because the upper houses do not have an electoral process by the people but rather, through appointment. The Lok Sabha is also a lower house on the national level. It is the “House of the People” and, like the Vidhan Sabha allows for elections by the citizens. The majority of this research was accom plished prior to the April 2009 Lok Sabha elections. These elections, however, are very important to this research project. Therefore, an overview of the most recent electora l data will be presented in this chapter. The media heavily covered the BSP and th e role of Mayawati, the chief minister of UP. Although Mayawati was not expecting the Prime Minister position in this series of


75 elections, various news stories emphasized her future candidacy. Chandra (April 16th, 2009) for Indian Express writes, “the significance of Mayawati as a potential prime minister is not just that she happens to be Dalit — but that she has built a mass political base by openly presenting herself as being of and for Dalits” ( Coverage of Mayawati's chances as a Prime Mi nister is not restrict ed to India. On April 14th, 2009 National Public Radio published th e following article on its website, “'Untouchable' seeks power in Indian electi on.” This was followed by a radio news story on April 15th, 2009 regarding the general elections. The NPR article asks regarding Mayawati, “But can she become prime minister?” It continues, She certainly has a chance. While national politics have long been dominated by two parties — the le ft-of-center Congress and the Hindu nationalist BJP —neither is e xpected to be able to form a strong coalition. This has given regional and caste-bas ed parties — particularly Mayawati's — additional power as they negotiate to join alliances that will form after the five phases of voting end May 13. The findings of this research project accompanied by scholarly and non-scholarly literature make one claim clearIndian po litics and the Bahujan Samaj Party's function within it should continue to be followed. Once the elections were over several me dia outlets wrote about the devastating results for the Bahujan Samaj Party. Article titles include: “Stung by Defeat, Mayawati to revert to Dalit Agenda,” “Maya fails to cast a spell,” and “Dalit movement takes a Beating.” There was an unprecedented and perhaps unwarranted amount of hype regarding an anticipated BSP-alliance landslid e win. Therefore, when the BSP did not live up to this performance, the media took the approach of the BSP being “defeated,” “beaten,” or “failing to cast a spell.” The India Election Commission put out a table


76 stating the electoral results: Indian National Congress (INC): 206 Other State Parties (OTH): 167 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP): 116 Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP): 21 The BSP when compared to either the INC or BJP does not fare well. But, the BSP is not yet on the same mainstream le vel, whether ideologically, socially or politically, as either the BJP or INC. Although it conti nues to increase its presence in states, it is not an old enough party to make l eaps into the winning party of India. Just as Dalit rights are not yet a mainstream concern across India, neither is the Bahujan Samaj Party. A brief glance at the results of both the 13th and 14th Lok Sabha elections demonstrate that despite media coverage, the BS P has, in fact, increased its elected seats in the Lok Sabha. The BSP won 14 seats in the 13th Lok Sabha elections (1999) and won 19 seats in the 14th Lok Sabha elections (2004). During the 15th Lok Sabha elections the BSP won 21 seats. This is not a drastic increase; the BSP is not suddenly over-powering the Indian National Congress or Bharatiya Janata Party. Yet, this study is not looking for obvious success or even drastic changes in the Indian social conscious or pol itical landscape. As an exploratory case study, this project instead seeks to see if this area of research is relevant and in need of future research. Findings and Conclusions What does this mean for the Dalit movement and what are the larger implications


77 for nationalism in India? Currently, the BSP remains focused on Dalit and low caste rights. As political power is ascertained this may change in which case the movement may react against the party. Vikram Gar g, a PhD student studying caste politics, is quoted in an article by Ghimire for The Global Voice as saying, “that despite all efforts made to empower the dalits, th eir situation still remains dire” ( ). This sentiment is reflected in the statements of human rights organizations and the National Ca mpaign on Dalit Human Rights. The NCDHR states that it has accomplished the goal of inte rnationalizing and spreading its cause. This can potentially connect to the drastic change s in BSP candidates ac ross the states under review. Yet, the NCDHR recogni zes that it has not ye t successfully retu rned to the state level where it seeks to hold states accountable for discriminatory practices; hence, BSP candidates are not typically elect ed. Calls for changes to the traditional national ideology have not changed enough yet to allow fo r wide-spread BSP political power. Since this project does not handle primary re search in India, it is hard to make a connection between what the BSP does in Indi a, what the lived reality of Dalits is, and how the two interact. The data presented a bove is a start for unde rstanding the political landscape of India and how the BSP fits into it. Much work still needs to be done and additional data would provide more support for what the data seeks to determinewhether or not going global increases th e chances of successfully challenging nationalism. While these elections may not pr ovide a direct link to the inner-workings and success of the Dalit movement, it is achievin g the goals set forth by the project as an exploratory case study. Comparing electoral results from 1995-1999 and 2002-2009 does not provide a


78 unmistakable relationship between the Dalit move ment's participation in the transnational sphere, the Bahujan Samaj Party's success in th e domestic sphere, or the contestation of Hindu nationalism as represented in the Bhara tiya Janata Party. This path of “going global,” however, should be viewed as one possible reason for the changes in BSP success. An interpretation of the data reinfo rces several points: visibility for the Dalit cause has increased and most likely will co ntinue along this path. Also, there are noticeable small changes to the success rate of the BSP in gaining elected positions. The state general assembly elections and the 2009 Lok Sabha elections both support this claim. The NCDHR asserts that the goal of internat ionalizing the plight of the Dalits has been achieved due to its participation and attention from numerous global entities. Regarding the collected data, overall the BSP contested only 1,277 seats between the 16 states reviewed in the pre-global period ( 1995-1999). Out of those contested seats it won 87. This is only a 6.81% success rate. In th e post-global particip ation period the BSP contested 2,576 seats, winning 230 of those. Th is is a success rate of 8.93% and more than a 50% increase in both contested and won seats. The BJP, on the other hand, ran for 2,591 seats overall in the 1995-1999 period. It won 674 of those seats throughout the various Indian states. In the 2002-2009 period it decreased the number of seat s it contested running for 2,089; it increased, however, its elected seats to 684. This is a jump from a 26% success rate in the pre-global period to a 32.74% success rate in the postperiod. Table 5 demonstrates these total changes in the BSP and BJP between the pr eand postperiods. Thus, the rate of success fo r both the Dalit-based BSP and the Hindu nationalist


79 BJP has increased in recent years. Yet, the number of seats contested has drastically increased for the BSP and sharply decreased fo r the BJP. Several scholars have pointed to the increasing fragmentation of large, stable political parties in India. This was actually one of the predicti ons for the 2009 Lok Sabha el ections-that it would be dominated by alliances between the small re gional parties instead of one of the large national parties. The BSP was not expected to gain a majority on its own, but instead would be a part of a much larger coalition. Table 5: Total Changes in the BSP and BJP The BJP is among one of these parties that we re expected not to fare well; and yet, although it decreased the number of seats it ran for it maintain ed and increased its elected positions in numerous states. The heightened success of both parties alludes to the fact that the voter-base of each may not be leaving one for the other. There is not an either-or


80 division between the BSP and BJP; rather, the voter base is drastically different and it seems more likely that voters would be pulle d from the more moderate Indian National Congress or vice-versa. This project did not expect that there was a clear oppositional relationship between the BSP and BJP. Sin ce, however, the BJP is the most closely linked party to Hindu nationalism it was helpfu l to also monitor what was going on with its party. Perhaps, the BSP has gained recen t voters that were not voting previously; the Dalit movement mentioned that it sponsors voter registration campaigns in rural and poor villages. Future research needs to examine the sp ecific relationship between the BSP, BJP and other political parties to study how the Indian nation ha s adequate space for several to succeed. The BJP has slightly decreased its numbers but remains stable and powerful. The Indian National Congress has become more popular which may be due to their sympathetic message to uplift all the segments of Indian society. And, as the NCDHR publicizes its cause the BSP also continues to grow. How the ideology of each party resonates with the voter-base Indian identity is also of interest. Analysis of individual stat es potentially offers a more direct correlation between the Dalit movement and Hindu nationalism as recognized in the BSP and BJP. Table 6 (below) illustrates the changes between the BS P and BJP in the stat e of Uttar Pradesh. Uttar Pradesh, as previously discussed, is a special case for the BSP in India. It won control over the state governmen t in 2007 although it has had a si gnificant presence in UP prior to the Dalit movements’ “going globa l.” In the 1995-1999 period, the BSP had a 22.67% success rate, much higher than the na tional average. By the post-global period, however, its success had jumped to an ast ounding 51.11%. The case of Uttar Pradesh


81 does show a link between the BSP's success a nd the BJP's success. In the pre-global period the BJP had about a 42% success rate ; by the post-global period its success rate had plummeted to only a 14.57% success rate. Table 6: Changes between BSP and BJP in Uttar Pradesh Since the BSP maintains a shared message with movement since its inception from the movement, a connection between the two has been made. When and if the BSP continues to grow and/or present a more m oderate message the relationship between the party and movement will need to be reexam ined. The movement may very well abandon the party if it begins to focus more on po litical power instead of fighting discrimination for Dalits and other low castes. The plight of Dalits in India will not necessarily disappear with the increased political power of the Bahujan Samaj Party. The Dalit


82 movement will continue, despite the BSP's political success, to urge states to function as a protector for citizens ( As India and the Dalit movement become more connected with the global world it is likely that the Dalit cause will continue to mobilize and spread its message. The rate of “success” for the movement is a difficult conclusion to make. Gamson (1990) was considered for his measures of success, but did not prove very helpful in the case of the Dalits. This, in pa rt, is because the movement success in this case was determined by the success of a political party and not the only the achievements of the social movement organizations. Ther e are, however, several other problems with Gamson’s measures in this case. For instance, the persistent problems of Dalits in India have been formally recognized by a variety of in stitutions and governments, including the United States, the European Union and the United Nations. Yet, he considers this recognition his third indicat or for success. One risk to the apparent success of the movement is Smith’s (1999) claim that as excluded groups and various movements become s increasingly visible in a global world that there is the risk of a r eassertion of traditional values. The findings of this project show that India’s political sphere acts as an open space for both traditional and nontraditional ideas and politics. The BSP may be a long ways away from becoming one of the major players in Indian pol itics just as the Dalit movement is not going to end all Dalit-based discrimination in the near future despite its already le ngthy past with this struggle. Regarding the 15th Lok Sabha elections, Shivam Vij argues that that whatever the outcome for the BSP and Mayawati, it will st rengthen the Dalit cause. National Public


83 Radio (April 14th, 2009) quotes Vij as saying, The 2009 general elections ar e not the last general elections for Mayawati. They are the first," said Shivam V ij, a journalist and longtime Mayawati watcher. "And if she doesn't become prime minister this year she'll say 'Look, they stopped a Dalit from succeeding.' More specific future research requires fiel dwork in India as a way to gain insight into the national mood. Is Hindu nationalism as relevant to most Indians' lives as some scholars think? Is there a direct and oppos itional relationship between Hindu nationalism and Dalit rights? Electoral results do not s upport this relationship. Also, a first-hand account of the Dalit movement campaigns, transn ational participation and local activity would aid in determining if this study ha s any relevance to na tionalism, globalization, and social movements. This body of preliminary work points to the feasibility of subaltern action to challenge hegemonic national identities. Th ere is a clear path which can be traced beginning with the exclusion of the Dalit people from the Indian consciousness. This exclusion was manifested in discriminato ry practices which only increased during colonial rule. Rather than being a part of the Indian Hindu iden tity, the Dalits found solidarity and inclusivity first in their own collective identity and then later in the transnational social movement network. This gave them a sub-cultural sense of identity for which to then challenge th e hegemonic Hindu nationalism. The exclusion of the Dalits remains a central concern for both the movement organizations and political par ties. If it were not for this sense of exclusion from the Indian nation perhaps neither the movement nor the party would exist. Although some Dalits witness increasing inclusion into the national identity, it is still only achieved


84 through upwards social mobility, the abandonmen t of Hinduism, or social, cultural, or political power. This project initially asked are sub-na tional social movements which “go global” by participating in the transnational soci al movement network successful at then returning to their nation and affecting change in the pr eviously understood national identity? Are they more successful than prio r to “going global”? The hypothesis stated: contemporary sub-national social movements are more likely to experience success at either challenging their own exclusion or in achieving national inclusivity after participating in the transnational social m ovement network. While the data presented do not incontestably answer the research question an d support the hypothesis it demonstrates that this is a worthy explorator y case study in need of additiona l monitoring and research. According to Bahujan Samaj Party results the answer to the research question is yes. Even a 2.12% increase in success is success nonetheless. Again, this project does not, however, argue that this is the only r eason the BSP may be experiencing increasing success. There are many other possible routes for the political changes in India. The claim of the National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights of successfully internationalizing the Dalit cause should be connected, however to the parallel visibility in elections by the BSP. The debate over contemporary nationalism needs to be connected to the vast literature on transnationalism, global connections, and social movements. Even if power shifts between the global, the national and th e local, there continues to be an emphasis on inclusivity. Who is included and who is not will remain an importa nt question to ask as power circulates between, below or beyond the nation. Scholars will continue to study,


85 debate, disagree and write about the changing nature of nationalism as it is affected by global policy, citizenship, and protest. As top-down approaches continue to determine “the hegemonic” of nationalisms and global neol iberal policy, so too will the contention from below-whether sub-national, transnatio nal or a reflexive movement between the two.


86 Appendices


87 Appendix 1 Dalit Social Movement Organizations (SMOs) Social Movement Organization Tactics Slogan Goals Participation in Transnational Network Additional Places of Operation National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR) Founding Date: 1998 Founding Place: Bangalore Website: raise national & international awareness through outreach, transnational networking, policy reform and various other subnational organizations “Dalit Rights are Human Rights. Cast out Caste!” NCDHR performs atrocity monitoring, legal interventions, and national and international advocacy to achieve a three-pronged objective: (1) to hold the State accountable for all Human Rights violations committed against Dalits; (2) to sensitize civil society by raising visibility of the Dalit problem; and (3) to render justice to Dalit victims of discrimination and violence. Human Rights Watch; World Social Forum; World Conference against Racism, European Union and United Nations 14 Indian States: Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Pondicherry, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh. Default Location: New Hdelhit Dalit Freedom Network Founding Date: 2002 Founding Place: Greenwood Village, CO, USA Website: Missionary work: conversion to Christianity “Abolish Caste, Now and Forever” “religious freedom, social justice, and human rights by mobilizing human, informational, and financial resources” Christian-based: Christian Solidarity Network; IDEAS: International Development & Educational Associates; International Dalit Solidarity Network; International Justice Mission Canada, India, England, Australia International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN) Founding Date: 2000 Founding Place: Denmark Website: work with international policy-makers, UN and EU “Working globally against discrimination based on work and descent” “The International Dalit Solidarity Network IDSN works on a global level for the elimination of caste discrimination and similar forms of discrimination based on work and descent. We link grassroots priorities with international mechanisms and institutions in order to change policies and practices that lead to caste discrimination.” work primarily with various organizations and policymakers inside the European Union and United Nations. Known interaction with various branches of the Dalit movement. India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Africa


88 Appendix 1 (Continued) Social Movement Organization Tactics Slogan Goals Participation in Transnational Network Additional Places of Operation Dalit NGO FederationNepal Founding Date: 1996 Founding Place: Kathmandu, Nepal Website: To eradicate caste-based discrimination through a process of empowerment, networking and alliance building of Dalit and proDalit institutions “United mission for social change.” “The main aim of DNF is fighting together against caste-based discrimination. It is a common forum for raising collective voices of Dalit community for claiming rights, dignity and opportunity through policy influencing, networking and alliance building.” works with smaller organizations in Nepal and then larger international organizations, especially throughout Asia. serves as an umbrella organization Dalit Solidarity Founding Date: 2000 Founding Place: Tamil Nadu Website: work in extremely rural and poor communities. Provides access to education, health care, and economic opportunities “Justice and Equality for all Indians” “Dalit Solidarity is committed to the principles of justice and equality for all Indians, regardless of caste, race, gender or religion. This commitment is expressed by providing access to quality health care and education, by making economic opportunities available for India's poorest citizens, and by working to protect human rights.” Exclusively subnational. Works with NCDHR however. Works exclusively in Tamil Nadu Navsarjan Founding Date: 1988 Founding Place: Gujarat Website: training, awareness, fieldwork and legal intervention “Ensuring human rights for all.” “Our mission is to eliminate discrimination based on untouchability practices; ensure equality of status and opportunities for all, regardless of caste, class or gender; and to ensure the rule of law.” Works with NCDHR, IDSN, Dalit Foundation, Indian Institute on Dalit Studies 3,000 Indian villages


89 Appendix 2 State Electoral Data Table 7: Andhra Pradesh State Information: Electoral Data: Statehood: 1956 Population: 76,210,007 Literacy Rate: 60% % Urban: 27.3 Dalit Movement Presence: yes National Federation of Dalit Land Rights Movement Location: Southeast India Findings: BJP slightly increases its candidates runni ng for office from the pre-global to postglobal periods whereas the BSP more than tripled its presence from 48 to 160. The BJP decreases its elected positions from 12 to 2. The BSP increases its positions from 0 to 1. State: Andhra Pradesh 19992004 BJP Contested Seats:2427 BJP Wins:122 BSP Contested Seats:48160 BSP Wins:01 Winning Party:BJPINC


90 Appendix 2 (Continued) Table 8: Bihar State Information: Electoral Data: Statehood: 1936 Population: 82,878,796 Literacy Rate: 47.53 % Urban: 15.78 Dalit Movement Presence: yes National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights Location: North India Findings: Both the BJP and BSP maintain high numb ers of candidates contesting seats. The BSP remains somewhat unsuccessful because the BJP remains the majority party in the state. The number of contested seat s for the BSP has increased from 161 to 212 while the BJP numbers went from 315 all the way down to 102. The BSP won 4 seats in the 2005 election whereas it onl y had 2 in 1995. Although the number of contested seats by the BJP has decreased, it has increased its overall success in garnering elected positio nsfrom 41 to 55. State: Bihar 199520002005 BJP Contested Seats:315168102 BJP Wins:416755 BSP Contested Seats:161249212 BSP Wins:254 Winning Party:JD*BJPBJP *Janata Dal

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91 Appendix 2 (Continued) Table 9: Gujarat State Information: Electoral Data: Statehood: 1960 Population: 50,671,017 Literacy Rate: 69.97% % Urban: 37.67 Dalit Movement Presence: yes NCDHR Location: West India Findings: Although the BJP has won every election since 1998, two factors are important: the INC has almost won during various elections. Also, the number of BSP candidates running has drastically increas ed since 1998 from only 7 candidates to 166. State: Gujarat 199820022007 BJP Contested Seats:182182182 BJP Wins:117127117 BSP Contested Seats:734166 BSP Wins:000 Winning Party:BJPBJPBJPINC a close second

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92 Appendix 2 (Continued) Table 10: Haryana State Information: Electoral Data: Statehood: 1966 Population: 21,144,567 Literacy Rate: 69.97% % Urban: 29 Dalit Movement Presence: yes Location: North India Findings: Despite the fact that Haryana has a significant Dalit movement presence the BSP has not significantly shown improvement. It has managed to hold one seat since 2000 and has only slightly increased th e number of BSP candidates running for office. Surprisingly, however, is that while the BJP has almost quadrupled the number of seats it contests it has gone from 11 elected seats in 1996 to only 2 in 2005. State: Haryana 199620002005 BJP Contested Seats:252990 BJP Wins:1162 BSP Contested Seats:678384 BSP Wins:011 Winning Party:BJPINC INC

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93 Appendix 2 (Continued) Table 11: Himachal Pradesh State Information: Electoral Data: Statehood: 1948 Population: 6,077,900 Literacy Rate: 77.13% % Urban: 10 Dalit Movement Presence: yes Location: North India Findings: The BSP has not been very successful in HP and yet, by 2007 it has increased it presence by both running for more conteste d seats and winning one of those seats. It jumped from 28 potential seats to 67. The BJP has remained steady with 68 contested seats, but has slightly increased its number of election positions from 31 to 41. HP is an extremely rural state and comprised mostly of agriculture and hill communities. State: Himachal Pradesh 199820032007 BJP Contested Seats:686868 BJP Wins:311641 BSP Contested Seats:282367 BSP Wins:001 Winning Party:INC INC BJP

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94 Appendix 2 (Continued) Table 12: Jammu & Kashmir State Information: Electoral Data: Statehood: 1846 Population: 10,069.987 Literacy Rate: 48.22% % Urban: 23.33 Dalit Movement Presence: no known presence Location: northernmost tip Findings: Neither the BJP nor the BSP have been ve ry successful in J&K, but instead its political landscape has been dominated by the Jammu & Kashmir National Conference (JKN) party. Despite the majo rity rule of the JKN, the BJP and BSP have both expanded their presence in the el ections. The BSP presence went from 29 to 83 regarding the number of seats it ran for; it however, had 4 elected positions in 1996 and did not win any in the 2008 election. State: Jammu & Kashmir 199620022008 BJP Contested Seats:535864 BJP Wins:8111 BSP Contested Seats:293383 BSP Wins:410 Winning Party:JKN*JKNJKN*Jammu & Kashmir National Conference

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95 Appendix 2 (Continued) Table 13: Karnataka State Information: Electoral Data: Statehood: 1956 (boundary) 1972 (current name) Population: 52,850,562 Literacy Rate: 66.6% % Urban: 33.98 Dalit Movement Presence: yes NCDHR Location: Southwest India Findings: Although the BSP and BJP contest a high num ber of seats, the Indian National Congress (INC) party has remained strong. The seats contested by the BJP jumped from 149 in the pre-global period to 198 in the post-global period. It also gained an additional 35 seats from the 44 it had in 1999. The BSP has not had any candidates elected although it slightly in creased its presence from 85 to 102. State: Karnataka 19992004 BJP Contested Seats:149198 BJP Wins:4479 BSP Contested Seats:85102 BSP Wins:00 Winning Party:INC INC

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96 Appendix 2 (Continued) Table 14: Kerala State Information: Electoral Data: Statehood: 1956 Population: 31,841,274 Literacy Rate: 90.92%* % Urban: 26 Dalit Movement Presence: yes Location: southwest tip Findings: Politcally, Kerala is most often associat ed with the Communist Party of India, both Marxist and not. Despite this majo rity, the INC gained power in 2001 only to loose it in 2006. The BSP has increas ed its presence while not winning any positions. Likewise, the BJP has not won any positions, but also slightly increased its presence in the state. High literacy rate is thought to be associated with the high Christian population (at 19%) and a history of missionary work promoting education. State: Kerala 199620012006 BJP Contested Seats:127123136 BJP Wins:000 BSP Contested Seats:120107 BSP Wins:000 Winning Party:CPIINC CPM

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97 Appendix 2 (Continued) Table 15: Madhya Pradesh State Information: Electoral Data: Statehood: 1956 Population: 60,385,118 Literacy Rate: 64.1% % Urban: 17 Dalit Movement Presence: yes NCDHR Location: central India Findings: The BSP has had a relatively strong pres ence in MP, although it has not overcome the BJP in the elections by any means. BSP presence in the post-global period has grown from 170 to 228; it has, however, ma intained 11 seats between the preand postperiod. The contested seats by th e BJP have decreased from 320 to 228, but their elected positions have grown from 119 to 143. State: Madhya Pradesh 199820032008 BJP Contested Seats:320230228 BJP Wins:119173143 BSP Contested Seats:170157228 BSP Wins:11211 Winning Party:INC BJPBJP

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98 Appendix 2 (Continued) Table 16: Maharashtra State Information: Electoral Data: Statehood: 1960 Population: 96,752,247 Literacy Rate: 76.9% % Urban: 42.4 Dalit Movement Presence: yes NCDHR Location: West India Findings: Despite the BSP's lack of elected official s, it has more than tripled its presence in elections between 1999 and 2004 from 83 to 272. BJP numbers are relatively static, only decreasing by 2 elected s eats and 6 contested seats. State: Maharashtra 19992004 BJP Contested Seats:117111 BJP Wins:5654 BSP Contested Seats:83272 BSP Wins:00 Winning Party:BJPINC

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99 Appendix 2 (Continued) Table 17: Orissa State Information: Electoral Data: Statehood: 1949 Population: 36,804,660 Literacy Rate: 63.61% % Urban: 14.97 Dalit Movement Presence: yes Location: east coast of India Findings: There have been no major changes in the BSP in Orissa; it has not been elected to any positions and grew marginally from 59 to 86 contested seats. The BJP, however, has won more seats in the pa st two elections, 2000 and 2004, winning 38 seats and 32 seats. And yet, it has not contested as many seats as was seen in the 1995 election, falling to 63 from 144. State: Orissa 199520002004 BJP Contested Seats:1446363 BJP Wins:93832 BSP Contested Seats:5910586 BSP Wins:000 Winning Party:INC BJPBJP

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100 Appendix 2 (Continued) Table 18: Punjab State Information: Electoral Data: Statehood: 1937 Population: 24,358,999 Literacy Rate: 60% % Urban: 33.92 Dalit Movement Presence: yes NCDHR Location: northwest tip Findings: The Dalit movement has had a lengthy history of activism in Punjab. And yet, the BJP continues to maintain a majority in the 2007 elections. It has steadily held about 18-19 seats although it lost to th e INC in the 2002 election, dropping its seats to a mere 3. The BSP has jumped from 67 to 115 contes ted seats but lost it s one seat in the 1997 election by 2002 and did not gain any additional seats in the 2007 election. State: Punjab 199720022007 BJP Contested Seats:222323 BJP Wins:18319 BSP Contested Seats:67100115 BSP Wins:100 Winning Party:BJPINC BJP

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101 Appendix 2 (Continued) Table 19: Rajasthan State Information: Electoral Data: Statehood: 1956 Population: 56,473,122 Literacy Rate: 61.03% % Urban: 23.4 Dalit Movement Presence: yes NCDHR Location: west India Findings: The BSP has slightly increased both its number of candidates running and how many gain a seat. In 1998 it won 2 of the 108 seats it ran for whereas in 2008 it won 6 of the 199 contested seats. Th e BJP's elected positions have grown considerably from 33 to 78. The number of seats BJP candidates have run for has remained somewhat static. State: Rajasthan 199820032008 BJP Contested Seats:196197193 BJP Wins:3312078 BSP Contested Seats:108124199 BSP Wins:226 Winning Party:INC BJPINC

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102 Appendix 2 (Continued) Table 20: Tamil Nadu State Information: Electoral Data: Statehood: 1969 Population: 62,405,679 Literacy Rate: 73.5% % Urban: 44.1 Dalit Movement Presence: yes Location: southeast tip Findings: The BSP has drastically increased its candi dates contesting seats in elections, from 9 in 1996 to 17 in 2001 to 164 in 2006. It did not win any of those seats. The BJP increased the number of seats it ran fo r as well-from 143 to 225. As of 2006, however, it did not gain any positions in government. The leading party is typically the Communist Part y of India or the Communi st Party (Marxist) although the INC won in the 2006 election. State: Tamil Nadu 199620012006 BJP Contested Seats:14321225 BJP Wins:140 BSP Contested Seats:917164 BSP Wins:000 Winning Party:CPICPMINC

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103 Appendix 2 (Continued) Table 21: West Bengal State Information: Electoral Data: Statehood: 1950 Population: 80,176,197 Literacy Rate: 69.22% % Urban: 28 Dalit Movement Presence: no known presence Location: northeast India Findings: Politically, West Bengal has historically been dominated by the Communist Party of IndiaMarxist (CPM). The BSP has, however, increased its presence on the polls. In 1996 it only ran for 48 seats wher eas it ran for 128 in 2006. Despite this growth the BSP has not been elected to any positions. The BJP has not held any elected positions in the electoral year s under review here. Its number of candidates has significantly decreased from 292 in 1996 to only 29 in 2006. State: West Bengal 199620012006 BJP Contested Seats:29226629 BJP Wins:000 BSP Contested Seats:4838128 BSP Wins:000 Winning Party:CPMCPMCPM

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104 Appendix 3 Dalit movement Solidarity Networks

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