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Research Paper | Social Science | India | Volume 6 Issue 1, January 2017
Recuperation of Alternative Ethnographic History and Politics of Dalit Conversion in Untouchable Spring
Abstract: Kalyan Rao in Untouchable Spring as a true Dalit Counter-narrative explores untouchability as a category as a category that is not insulated from political formations. Discursive practices of historical erasures, pre colonial feudal exploitation, Hindu scriptural orthodoxy, primitivism, and Neocolonial operations structure and reconstitute untouchability. Rao chronicles the lives of ethnographic minorities in Andhra Pradesh to whom the privileged entitlements of constitutional equality and citizenship are not extended in the postcolonial nation state. In the historical formation of the newly independent decolonised nation state these various ethnographic minorities such as the Malas, Madigas, Mahars, Bhangis andCchamaars are excluded from the operations of colonial and postcolonial modernity. This revisionist novel recuperates and restores the lost ethnographic and anthropological heritage of the Malas and Madigas, as well as acts as a historiographical Ur text for the lost art forms of the dalits. Raos text thus acts as an alternative history exploring and recovering verse forms, songs, dances and performative texts expelled to the margins of the established canonised Brahiminical literary tradition. These subaltern art forms are not documented in the pages of respectable, scholarly documents, both colonial and postcolonial archives since in India caste is more important than art. It is revisionary as it fills the aporias in official history, it talks about social structuring of labour organisations, of land settlements, wages and economic changes in society. But these multiple narratives blur and become indissociable, as mythology and folklore, religion and politics become indistinguishable.
Keywords: Untouchability, Historiography, archival, ethnographic, subaltern
Edition: Volume 6 Issue 1, January 2017,
Pages: 996 - 999