Republic of Caste


Navayana, New Delhi, 2018

432 pages

Price INR 695.00

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Commanding in its scope, revelatory and unsparing in argument, Republic of Caste amounts to a new map of post-Independence India. Anand Teltumbde identifies the watershed moments of its journey: from the adoption of a flawed Constitution to the Green Revolution, the OBC upsurge, the rise of regional parties, and up to the nexus of neoliberalism and Hindutva in the present day. Joining the dots between a wide range of events on the ground and the prevailing structure of power, he debunks the pieties of state and Constitution, political parties and identitarian rhetoric, to reveal the pernicious energies they have unleashed and their dire impact on India’s most marginalised people, the Dalits.

The exclusion and disempowerment of Dalits emerge as intrinsic to India’s republican system, whether expressed through state policies on education, agriculture and land ownership, or the tacit encouragement of caste embedded in both law and political practice. Here, the carrot of reservations comes with the stick of atrocities. As a politics of symbolism exploits the fissile nature of caste to devitalise India’s poorest whilst appropriating their votes, Teltumbde’s damning analysis also shows progressive politics a way out of the present impasse.

Anand Teltumbde

Anand Teltumbde is a civil rights activist, political analyst, columnist and author of many books. He has had a long association with peoples’ struggles, spanning over three decades. Trained in technology and management he marshals his insights of the modern techno-managerial world to sharpen strategies of struggles. His recent books are Mahad: The Making of the First Dalit Revolt (Aakar, 2016), Dalits: Past, Present and Future (Routledge, 2016), Persistence of Castes (Zed Books, 2006), Anti-Imperialism and Annihilation of Castes (Ramai, 2004). He writes a column ‘Margin Speak’ in Economic & Political Weekly.