In view of the socio-political stigma among the Dalits since their birth and given gloomy past and the need of creating a salubrious future, it is important not only to document the various elements of their deprivation and their assertion but also to create a data base for the role of intellectuals and also social and political activists. In view of this, the GB Pant Social Science Institute has established a Dalit Resource Centre, which focuses on the creation of a corpus of knowledge related to the emergence and self-assertion of Dalit communities, especially in the contemporary socio-political arena of Uttar Pradesh. This helps in understanding the process of creation of Dalit public sphere and the contribution of Dalit popular booklets, print media, and cultural resources in its evolution. The DRC has identified and interviewed popular Dalit writers, activists, performers residing in different pockets of Uttar Pradesh. A comprehensive map of Dalit publication centers has been developed with a view to identify these writers and publishers.
DRC’s research is not limited to oral sources alone. Whatever relevant written or printed materials like, essays, poems, songs, discourses, couplets, etc. are available in the DRC’s archive. This will ensure continuity and will fill up gaps in the understanding of the emergence of Dalit public sphere.
The DRC undertakes tasks like Conducting interviews and constructing biographical notes of the Dalit popular writers earmarked in the map; making abstracts of Dalit Popular booklets, preparation of anthology both in Hindi and English of a few selected booklets; audio-visual documentation of informal meetings, conferences and socio-cultural activities in Dalit communities, the cultural narratives created during the Bhakti period laid the foundation of Dalit consciousness in north India which further took a radical form in the modern period and is increasingly developing as an integral component for the Dalits to claim space in the mainstream public discursive sphere in the contemporary period.
Apart from these issues DRC is also working on other aspects of marginality. Presently DRC is working on Bhojpuri folk culture of migrant labours. The migrants are also victim of marginalization in some form or other as they too face the suffering at both the fronts: while separation from homeland in search of livelihood and rejection at the destination due to alien culture. They are marginals in their homelands and are deprived of opportunities due to their weak economic condition and marginals at the destination because they are always looked upon as an outsider and face exclusion.
The Institute has a museum of Ethnography and Socio-economic development: Manav Vikas Sangrahalaya with four galleries on different themes, which aims at preserving and highlighting the folk cultures, local traditions and heritage of our country, particularly of Uttar Pradesh and its neighbouring regions. It aims to preserve and document indigenous knowledge systems in various areas and also their tools, technologies and other modes of production.
The Institute has a faculty of great repute working on important issues of socio-economic development.