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Whose Reality Counts?

Emergent Dalitbahujan Anthropologists

Reddi Sekhara Yalamala

The low caste, Dalit and Tribal social movements in India have reconfigured the fabric of Indian society in significant ways over the past decade. Likewise, the movement of these same groups into anthropology, a discipline previously dominated in India by uppercaste intellectuals, has created a dynamic force for change in the academy. At a time when India is vying with the global economic powers for supremacy, the people severely affected are low caste, Dalits and Tribal peoples, who see their lands being lost and their lifestyles in rapid transformation. Some from these same groups are also witnessing some of their daughters and sons pursuing higher studies and entering into the social sciences. The entry of these young scholars not only challenges the caste-based status quo in the academy, but it also forces these scholars to question their own position in relation to these social movements and in relation to Indian society more broadly.