DALIT CULTURAL ASSERTION AND ICONOGRAPHY: A CRITICAL STUDY OF TWO INDIAN STATES OF MAHARASHTRA AND UTTAR PRADESH
Keywords:Dalit, Cultural Assertion, Brahmanism, Iconography
Dalit, one of the lowest rungs in the Indian caste society, has been historically marginalized on all fronts; social, political, cultural. The term Dalit is an identity of self-assertion, a political identity which has been chosen by the community themselves. In the article I want to highlight the contributions of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, one of the greatest icons from the Dalit community in India, who fought for the rights of the oppressed communities, and sought their emancipation, and his influence which makes him not just a political figure or an anti-caste revolutionary and philosopher but which has also established him as an icon. There are many visual indicators to suggest the same, in terms of the numerous statues build all over India reflecting the socio-political assertion of the Dalit community and their belief in the struggles of Dr. Ambedkar and his ideologies. This assertion also gets attacked and vandalized by the upper castes forces which have always worked in the society to oppress the lower castes and keep the privileges of power and domination restricted to their own community. In the paper I will try to explore the Dalit visual culture and the use of Dalit imageries and iconography to assert a politically conscious Dalit identity. This paper will highlight the ideological basis of the socio-political and cultural movement of the Dalit communities and the influence of Dr. Ambedkar and religious conversion over the same.
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