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Politics, dignity and empowerment


26 Oct
An image of Mumbai's market
Part of King's India Institute Seminar Series

The speakers will take a closer look at aspects of anti-caste politics in contemporary times, dwelling on the ways in which they intersect and the fault lines they expose within the Indian political system; electoral and otherwise. It will engage with the philosophical, practical, and ethical dimensions of understanding caste in forging social movements, politicking, and policymaking.

Beyond the critique on upper castes, how does anti-caste ideology approach the issue of inter-caste (within an administrative category) and intra-caste antagonisms? How are anti-caste impulses effectively translated into daily social relations and government functioning? How does vocal anti-casteism in some quarters by the Hindu nationalists come to co-exist with silence on issues of casteist practices?

These are some of the questions that will be addressed by the speakers through their presentations on politics of Periyar EV Ramasamy as an iconoclast and social reformer in Tamil Nadu, and Lalu Prasad Yadav as a politician who emerged from the anti-caste discourse in Bihar.

About the speakers

Indrajit Roy

Indrajit is a senior lecturer at the Department of Politics, University of York. He worked in the development sector for seven years prior to undertaking his doctoral studies at the University of Oxford. Since obtaining a doctorate in development studies, he has held the ESRC Future Research Leader Fellowship at the Oxford Department of International Development (ODID) as well as a Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) at Wolfson College, University of Oxford. His research and teaching contribute to critical approaches to studying the politics of global development, with a focus on ‘new development futures’ that promise to reframe the discipline.

Karthick Ram Manoharan

Karthick Ram Manoharan is Marie-Sklodowska Curie Fellow and is working on the political thought of Periyar E.V. Ramasamy, a rationalist anti-caste leader from South India. He is the author of Periyar: A Study in Political Atheism (2022), Frantz Fanon: Identity and Resistance (Orient BlackSwan 2019) and the co-editor of Rethinking Social Justice (Orient BlackSwan 2020). Taking a transdisciplinary approach, he has authored several academic and non-academic articles that deal with political theory and philosophy, intellectual history, identity, modern Tamil politics, caste, and cinema. His research on Periyar has been recognized as a novel and critical intervention in highlighting the thoughts of an important anti-caste thinker in the academia. He received his PhD from the University of Essex in 2015.

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