Main Article Content
Over the last three decades, India has experienced rapid economic development and social and cultural transformation. Questions arise as to how minorities secure their livelihood and what strategies are being devised for the same. And, what vision of the future do they have in mind? In this article, I will focus on the Dalit community in North India. Fieldwork conducted on one such disadvantaged group, the urban Balmikis (known as the sweeper caste) in Delhi, is drawn upon to examine as a case study. Balmikis have a high rate of migration to urban areas, which is due to their historical background of being employed in the sanitation sector of municipalities and the Ministry of Railways since the colonial times. The name of the community, Balmiki, is derived from worshipping “Bhagwan Valmik,” a legendary saint and composer of Ramayana. It began to take root as a name with positive connotations among the sweeper caste in North India around the 1920s and 1930s. Because of this historical development, it is often accused of discrediting Dalits who dissent from Hindu values and for hindering Dalit solidarity. However, if one listens to the claims of the Balmikis, they do not necessarily consider themselves "Hindus”. For example, during my research, a frequent response to questions about religion was the statement, "We are forced to be Hindus”. In contrast, the words that immediately follow, "We are Balmikis," are restated. By focusing on the beliefs and ambiguity of self-identity of the Balmikis, this article attempts to examine their anti-caste imagination. It then poses the question as to how that imagination is intertwined with everyday experiences and collective grassroots movements.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
A. CORRESPONDING AUTHOR’S GRANT OF RIGHTS
The Corresponding Author grants to the Journal, during the full term of copyright and any extensions or renewals of that term, the following:
- An irrevocable non-exclusive right to reproduce, republish, transmit, sell, distribute, and otherwise use the Work in electronic and print editions of the Journal and in derivative works throughout the world, in all languages, and in all media now known or later developed.
- An irrevocable non-exclusive right to create and store electronic archival copies of the Work, including the right to deposit the Work in open access digital repositories.
- An irrevocable non-exclusive right to license others to reproduce, republish, transmit, and distribute the Work under the condition that the Authors are attributed. (Currently this is carried out by publishing the content under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.)
Copyright in the Work remains with the Authors.
B. CORRESPONDING AUTHOR’S DUTIES
- When distributing or re-publishing the Work, the Corresponding Author agrees to credit the Journal as the place of first publication.
- The Corresponding Author agrees to inform the Journal of any changes in contact information.
C. CORRESPONDING AUTHOR’S WARRANTY
The Corresponding Author represents and warrants that the Work is the Authors’ original work and that it does not violate or infringe the law or the rights of any third party and, specifically, that the Work contains no matter that is defamatory or that infringes any literary or proprietary rights, intellectual property rights, or any rights of privacy. The Corresponding Author also warrants that he or she has the full power to make this agreement, and if the Work was prepared jointly, the Corresponding Author agrees to inform the Authors of the terms of this Agreement and to obtain their written permission to sign on their behalf. The Corresponding Author agrees to hold the Journal harmless from any breach of the aforestated representations.
D. JOURNAL’S DUTIES
In consideration of the Author’s grant of rights, the Journal agrees to publish the Work, attributing the Work to the Authors.
E. ENTIRE AGREEMENT
This agreement reflects the entire understanding of the parties. This agreement may be amended only in writing by an addendum signed by the parties. Amendments are incorporated by reference to this agreement.