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About Dalit Intellect Collective

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 following objectives. 

•  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.

 


 

 

Vikas Adhyayan Kendra
D-1 Shivdham, 62 Link Road, Malad (West), Mumbai 400 064 INDIA
Tel : 022-2882 2850 / 2889 8662. Fax : 022-2889 8941
E-mail: vak@bom3.vsnl.net.in