Women Heroes and Dalit Assertion in North India


About The Book: This volume explores cultural repression in India and ways in which it is overcome. The book studies the burgeoning Dalit politics in North India and shows how Dalit women heroes (viranganas) of the 1857 Rebellion have emerged as symbols of Dalit assertion in Uttar Pradesh and are being used by the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) to build the image of its leader, Mayawati.

While demonstrating how myths and memories of the role of Dalits in India’s freedom struggle are employed for constructing identity , and then reconstructed for political mobilization, this book

  • Narrates some of the tales used to develop political consciousness at the grass-root level;
  • Reveals how stories-picked up from among the people themselves- are re-interpreted, packaged and disseminated orally and via pamphlets;
  • Describes how gods, heroes and other cultural resources are converted into political capital by giving them a visual image through calendars, statues, posters and memorials; and
  • Shows how the BSP creates and recreates historical to expand its electoral base.

Based on field studies and secondary information, the author outlines the politics of dissent which uses historical and cultural resources as identity markers in political mobilization. This book, therefore, becomes invaluable for students of politics, sociology and history and all those engaged in Dalit studies.