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Dalit historiography is the narrativization of the past from a Dalit perspective purposive of critiquing existing traditions of Indian historiographies and/or producing alternate histories. It is the discourse through which historiographical erasures and misrepresentations are challenged through narratives that recover and reinterpret the past from anti-caste standpoints. This counter-discourse reorients historiography and transforms historical understandings by recognising caste as a structuring principle of history. This article attempts to theorise Dalit historiography as a resistance epistemology by outlining its methodological and thematic aspects through a study of DCUF cultural productions. DCUF (Depressed Class United Front) is an Adi-Dravida community named Dravida Varga Aikya Munnani that emerged as an anti-caste politico-religious group in 1950s Kerala under the leadership of PJ SabharajThirumeni.
To understand the politics of the alternate history articulated by DCUF, the article first maps the field of mainstream Kerala historiography to which DCUF cultural productions may be seen as a historiographical response. DCUF cultural productions, as an articulation of Dalit historiography, intervene in the epistemology of this mode of history writing by placing caste as the fulcrum of history by giving an alternate picture of the past vis-à-vis the origins of caste, its manifestations and anti-caste resistance. This study foregrounds the political valence of history in Dalit struggle and the ongoing negotiations between Dalit communities with the mainstream vis-à-vis history and history writing.
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