Untouchable Freedom

A Social History of a Dalit Community

Vijay Prashad

Introduction by Suraj Yengde


LeftWord Books, New Delhi, 2024

Language: English

244 pages

5.5 x 8.5 inches

Price INR 450.00
Book Club Price INR 315.00
INR 450.00
In stock

“This book treats the Balmikis, a marginalized community, as a conscious entity, and highlights their agency.” – Dr Vaishali, historian

“Acute social and political observations on an important north Indian Dalit community.” – American Historical Review

“A balanced but not uncritical treatment.” – Journal of Asian Studies

“Excellent . . . enlightening.” – Journal of Social History

“A painful saga of exploitation . . . [An] excellent history.” – International Journal of Hindu Studies

“Untouchable Freedom is a remarkable achievement – it is a labour of love, devotion, and care for a community that Vijay undeniably loves. It is a testimony to a combination of quality research conducted in multiple sites, several archives, and incorporating detailed ethnography. The merit of this remarkable text is that it adds a humane value to the subjects instead of a direct, confrontational reductionism often seen in the case of studies of Dalit lifeworlds. Vijay is aware of his own politics, but he prioritises scholarship over everything else. Vijay has offered evidence of what it means to combine ethnography with compassionate rigour. With detailed notes from the registers of the Delhi Municipal Corporation, National Archives of India, police records, CID reports, and scores of official accounts, this multi-layered study should also be of interest to scholars of urban studies, architecture, and environmental studies.” – Suraj Yengde, author of Caste Matters

Suraj Yengde

Suraj Yengde is a W.E.B. Du Bois Fellow at Harvard University. His prior appointments were Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, a non-resident fellow at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, and was part of the founding team of the Initiative for Institutional Anti-Racism and Accountability (IARA) at Harvard University. Dr. Suraj Yengde is also a DPhil candidate at the Faculty of History at the University of Oxford. Originally from Nanded, India, he is the author of Caste Matters (2019), and co-author, with Anand Teltumbde, of The Radical in Ambedkar: Critical Reflections (2018).

Vijay Prashad

Vijay Prashad is an Indian historian and journalist. Prashad is the author of forty books, including Washington Bullets, Red Star Over the Third World, The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World and The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South. He is Executive Director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, Chief Correspondent for Globetrotter, and editor at LeftWord Books. He has appeared in two films – Shadow World (2016) and Two Meetings (2017). Previously, he was the George and Martha Kellner Chair in South Asian History and a professor of international studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, United States, from 1996 to 2017.