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The Time of the Dalit Conversion

Gyanendra Pandey
Economic and Political Weekly
Vol. 41, No. 18 (May 6-12, 2006), pp. 1779+1781-1788
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4418177
Page Count: 9
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The Time of the Dalit Conversion
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Abstract

More than a reference to the mass conversion of dalits to Buddhism in 1956 and to other religions in subsequent years, "dalit conversion", in this article, also denotes their conversion to full citizenship that followed with the abolition of untouchability, institution of universal adult franchise, extension of legal and political rights to all sections of the population, with special safeguards for disadvantaged groups. It could also denote a conversion to the "modern" - signified by a certain sensibility, particular kinds of dress and comportment and particular rules of social and political engagement. The time of the dalit conversion is also then the time of Indian democracy - a time of definition, anticipation and struggle, as seen in the call to educate, organise and agitate.

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