A recent trend in Dalit movements in India has been the loss of reflectivity
and the absence of any sustained intellectual endeavour to shape the
course of politics. Dalit politics as a result lost purpose and got increasingly
rooted in everyday forms of emotional- rhetorical dialogues. Dalit Intellectual
Collective was formed to fill up some of these gaps and void with the
To re-establish the symbiotic relationship between the
intellectual, Dalit politics and politics in general.
In the wake of Mandal Commission Politics dalit issue became
one of assertion of particular identity and thereby the universality
of dalit vision was lost and hence, the need to reconstruct the universality
of dalit vision today
From the vantage point of such a vision dalits need to
make concerted statements on significant issues such as communalism.
Further there is an increasing need to understand the Dalit issue in
terms of a multiplicity of identities, the logic of its interactions
and the ways in which it is articulated.
To address the marginalisation of Dalit issues in Social
Sciences, which till now have remained, confined within the dominant,
hegemonic Brahmanical framework. DIC has initiated an ambitious project
to chalk out an independent alternative framework for Dalit intellectualism
that would on the one hand pose a challenge to mainstream social science
academia and on the other hand, become meaningful to Dalit politics today.
DIC would therefore attempt to achieve epistemological
empowerment for Dalits by reconstructing an appropriate paradigm and
recovering/ restoring the logical tools of thinking for Dalits. We do
not want to remain Mooknayaks (silent heroes - this was also the title
of the journal founded and edited by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar). We need
to develop public reason on three issues:
Dalit categories and concepts
Dalits and knowledge systems
Dalits and State
The emergence of Dalit NGO's with an intellectual agenda
has added an additional dimension to DIC's objectives. To study and analyse
the intellectual articulations of Dalit activists and initiate regular
interactions between DIC and Dalit NGO's.
DIC wants to make the larger public an insider to its deliberations
and formulations. One of the mechanisms that have been evolved for the
purpose is public meetings and lectures.
Within the framework highlighted above, DIC's agenda remains flexible
and its objectivities can be enlarged accordingly. The composition of
the Collective was envisaged as 80% for Dalit intellectuals and activists
and 20% for concerned non-Dalit intellectuals. The collective has a well-balanced
composition in terms of membership from both intellectual and activist
groups and each year new members are inducted into the group to widen
its representational character. There have been two-fold deficiencies,
which may have to be attended in the future, i.e. lack of adequate representation
from Northern and Eastern India and representation of women.