Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



Ghanshyam Shah (ed.). Dalit Identity and Politics. New Delhi: Sage Publications, 2001. 363 pages. Indian Rs 295.00.

Author: Ilhan Niaz

Edited by Ghanshyam Shah, Professor of Social Sciences at the Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, Dalit Identity and Politics is the second volume in a series about the culture and politics of Dalits. It comprises fourteen research articles that cover Dalit culture, history, politics, and economics, and makes for fascinating reading. The introduction, which is written by the editor, identifies the major challenge faced by the present generation of Dalit intellectuals as resolving “…contradictions that have emerged with growing stratification within the community thanks to the limitations of welfare of ‘protective’ measures in the capitalist economy” (p. 25). Other major challenges include addressing the dependence of Dalits on state intervention in an age of public sector shrinkage, and the persistent inability of Indian parliamentary democracy to bring about fundamental social change.

Ilhan Niaz