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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
Dr Indrajit Roy is Senior Lecturer at the University of York’s Department of Politics and co-director of the York Interdisciplinary Global Development Centre. His research and teaching strengthen critical approaches to global development politics through three projects: (i) The politics of inclusive growth in the global South; (ii) The comparative ‘politics of hope’ across the global South and global North; and (iii) The impact of “rising powers” on the global order.
Indrajit authored Politics of the poor: Negotiating democracy in contemporary India (Cambridge University Press, 2018). He is also co-curating the Cambridge Companion to Indian Politics and Society. Additionally, Indrajit is editor of the forthcoming Manchester University Press volume Passionate politics: Democracy, development and India’s 2019 general elections; co-editor of the forthcoming Oxford University Press volume titled Chinese investments in Europe and their influence on the Liberal International Order; and is co-writing a textbook on Global Development Politics, under contract with Routledge. His research has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as World Development, Journal of Peasant Studies and PS: Political Science and Politics. He contributes frequently to the media such as BBC, Guardian, Independent, The Conversation and Indian Express.
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.
Anastasia Piliavsky is a social anthropologist, who works on India’s democracy and the role of vernacular values, especially the hierarchical, in India’s social and political life. She is author of Nobody's People: Hierarchy as hope in a society of thieves (Stanford 2020), editor of Patronage as politics in South Asia and Principal Investigator of a European Council-funded project on 'India's politics in its vernaculars'.