The Dalit Liberation Movement in Karnataka, South India (ISGI Seminar 5 July)

Seminar hosted by the Institute for the Study of Global Issues, Graduate School of Social Sciences, Hitotsubashi University.

Aya Ikegame, Associate Professor, Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, University of Tokyo

Wednesday 5 July, 13:15-15:00.

Room 3405, 4th floor, Mercury Tower, Hitotsubashi University Kunitachi Campus (see here for a map).

For centuries, Dalits (former untouchable communities of India) have been regarded as ‘polluted’ and ‘polluting’. They have thus been avoided, banned from any physical contact, secluded and excluded from mainstream caste society. To escape from severe and inhumane discrimination, many converted into Islam, Christianity and Buddhism. In 2001, M. C. Raj, a charismatic Dalit activist and writer, published Dalitology, new theology of Dalits. The controversial book attacked not only Brahminical Hinduism but also established religions including Buddhism and Christianity. Meanwhile M. C. Raj started the Adijan (Dalit) movement in the south Indian state of Karnataka which engages in multifaceted activities. This talk will discuss the social and cultural significance of Dalitology and the Adijan movement that have marked a clear departure from previous Dalit liberation movements in the region.

Aya Ikegame is Associate Professor, Graduate School of Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies and the Institute for Advanced Studies of Asia, the University of Tokyo. She obtained a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Edinburgh, the UK in 2007. She has worked for the University of Edinburgh, and the Open University in the UK before joining the University of Tokyo. She currently works on mathas (Hindu monasteries) and their social activities in South India, and Buraku issues in Japan. Her publications include, The Princely India Re-imagined: A Historical Anthropology of Mysore from 1799 to the present (Routledge, 2012) and The Guru in South Asia: New interdisciplinary Perspectives (co-edited with Jacob Copeman, Routledge 2012).