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A subaltern history of liberalism: The making of Dalit political thought in late-colonial north India

Bush House, Strand Campus , London

6 Feb Dalit India Part of King's India Institute Seminar Series

Speaker: Ramnarayan Rawat (University of Delaware)

Abstract: This talk intervenes in the ongoing discussion on the histories of liberal political thought in modern India by highlighting the initiatives taken by Dalit groups in northern India.

Drawing from tracts, plays, and speeches published by the Adi-Hindu Mahasabha between 1922 and 1940, and entirely in verse genres, this talk will examine Dalit poet-activists singular engagement with liberal ideas.

Explaining genealogies of Dalit political thought, Ramnarayan will document the new connections built by Dalit poet-activists between Raidas, Kabir, and Sant-mat religion and practices of liberalism in late colonial India.

Ramnarayan will do so through a discussion of themes, such as equality and liberty, representative government, human dignity, freedom and law, to illustrate Dalit poet-activists efforts to create a new public sphere.

Chair: Professor Ananya Jahanara Kabir, Professor of English Literature, King's College London

*If you are external to King's and would like to attend this event, please contact the event organiser directly.

About the speaker

Ramnarayan Rawat (University of Delaware) is a historian of South Asia with research and teaching interests in colonialism and postcolonialism, racism and social exclusion, and liberalism and democracy.

His research centres on India’s Dalits and their engagement with nationalism, ethical and social questions of dignity and humiliation, and questions of right and representation. 

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