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Title: Social mobility among dalit in West Bengal: a study of the district in West Bengal
Researcher: Mandal, Dipankar
Guide(s): Wankhede, G G
Keywords: Social Science
Dalit in West Bengal
Upload Date: 15-Sep-2011
University: Tata Institute of Social Sciences
Completed Date: 2010
Abstract: In contextualizing caste based mobility study in West Bengal, one encounters two groups of opinion regarding caste system in West Bengal. The traditionalists found the functional importance of caste system and argued it as inalienable part of Hinduism. However, the modernists, which is found to be more popular here, felt evils of caste is a matter of past and it has already been reformed, modernized and displaced by class. But two versions do not contradict but complement each other and dominate public discourses on caste in West Bengal. While class has taken over the political debates in public but the concept of status based on caste and endogamy still pervade the mental world of Bengali Hindus. More overt form of untouchability is atypical in Bengali social scene but economic, social and political power still remains in the hands of upper and middle ranking castes, whose modernity even allegiance to Marxism does not stand in the way of their unshaken faith in ritualistic Hinduism. So absence of caste violence does not justify the absence of caste antagonism as popular perception goes. Caste antagonism occurs only if the hegemonies of Caste Hindus failed to accommodate or absorb Dalit assertion. But Dalit reality in West Bengal revealed despite of having 2nd largest Dalit population, the Dalit assertion found to be conspicuously absent. The ideology of hierarchy and its association with the relations of power constituting the essence of caste system are yet to lose their relevance in a hybrid modern Bengali Hindu culture and society. This study reveals that making some adjustments in form, the caste system in Bengal has managed to sustain its essence and in that sense Bengal is no exception to the general pan-Indian pattern. A standard argument of the post colonial leftist government in West Bengal since 1977-78 has been that the land reforms and reconstitution of Panchayat provided opportunities for Dalit and backward groups to gain access to power, who were hitherto excluded. Presumably, the development itself could potentially wreck the power structure of Bengali Hindu society and its ethno-ideological world. But at the grassroots level major beneficiaries of this widening of the leftist power base were the middle peasant castes, who remained the most ardent champions of caste privileges of Hindu cultural markers of status (Bhattacharya (2003). Like other parts in India, the politics has been subordinated by caste not just in rural Bengal but highly educated intelligentsia in the elite neighbourhood of urban south Kolkata (Sen 2001).
Pagination: xxxi, 386p.
Appears in Departments:School of Social Sciences

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02_declaration.pdf54.93 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
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04_acknowledgement.pdf77.06 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
05_abstract.pdf132.74 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
06_contents.pdf84.48 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
07_abbreviations.pdf48.44 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
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09_list of tables.pdf84.11 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
10_chapter 1.pdf81.89 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
11_chapter 2.pdf249.25 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
12_chapter 3.pdf138.78 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
13_chapter 4.pdf177.46 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
14_chapter 5.pdf277.04 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
15_chapter 6.pdf1.08 MBAdobe PDFView/Open
16_chapter 7.pdf135.79 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
17_chapter 8.pdf66.66 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
18_appendix.pdf644.93 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
19_bibliography.pdf166.48 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

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