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The Insurrection of Little SelvesThe Crisis of Secular Nationalism in India$
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Aditya Nigam

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195676068

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195676068.001.0001

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Secularism, Modernity, Nation

Secularism, Modernity, Nation

An Epistemology of the Dalit Critique

(p.222) 5 Secularism, Modernity, Nation
The Insurrection of Little Selves

Aditya Nigam

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the Dalit critique of modernity and the theoretical implications of the questions raised by Dalit politics in India, with particular reference to secularism and the nation. What does the ‘Dalit Critique’ of modernity mean? Is there a body of writings by the Dalits that may be called ‘a critique of modernity’? The chapter uses the term ‘epistemology’ to suggest that what can be extricated as the Dalit critique represents a resistance to some of the key political and theoretical categories of modern political discourse. After discussing caste and secular-nationalism, the chapter considers the insurrection of little selves in Dalits and others, along with political society and the modern self. It offers a reading of some of Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar and E. V. Ramasamy’s writings as well as some contemporary Dalitbahujan writings.

Keywords:   secularism, modernity, epistemology, Dalits, Dalit critique, politics, India, secular-nationalism, Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, E. V. Ramasamy

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