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Wednesday, Oct 20, 2021
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The Soul-Sapping Climb From Below

Even in an area of industrialisation, a social inertia-like force pulls Dalits down. The vicissitudes of life often proved to be their downfall.

The Soul-Sapping Climb From Below
Three generations |
The Soul-Sapping Climb From Below
outlookindia.com
2021-04-23T13:41:20+05:30

Here, we take a step back from stories of individual success. The viewfinder is set to a wider landscape—to the infrastructural ground, the social and economic relations that determine Dalit mobility. Enabling it, or as often is the case, still thwarting it. Dr Judith Heyer, a development economist, has done a study on Dalit communities around Tiruppur and Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, for over three decades, since 1981. It has been a time of economic surge, but in terms of its emancipatory potential, the results were partly disappointing. Here, she records her views through a series of pen-portraits.

The Coimbatore/Tiruppur region is known for its dynamic industrial development and strong agriculture. It is a region in which Dalits have done surprisingly badly. Very small numbers of Dalits own agricultural land. Dalits have been late-comers to education, are poorly represented in white-collar jobs and in business, large and small. This despite strong social policy, reservations and affirmative action. The villages that I have been researching, and on which this...

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