" Democracy was
also a great narrative and not merely a monolithic kind of democratic participation."

Vision of the Project

Goal of the project
The goal of the project is to widen and deepen the democratic participation of the Dalits in the democratic arena of the country by expanding the Dalit public sphere, and to create an interface between writers of Dalit popular booklets and other literary mainstream literateurs and knowledge generators to widen the space of Dalit popular writings.

Objective of the project
The objective is to develop an effective ‘Dalit Resource Centre’ where research and documentation of the knowledge base of marginalized Dalit communities, expressed through their popular booklets, will be conducted. Various advocacy and interventionist activities will also be carried out with the objective of expanding Dalit public sphere and enhancing their democratic participation.

Study Area
The project will be concentrated in Uttar Pradesh where the phenomenon of writing and producing Dalit popular booklets for their political mobilisation is very widespread. Our fieldwork will be concentrated in four zones of UP, i.e., Central Uttar Pradesh, Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Western Uttar Pradesh and in the Bundelkhand region.

Target Group
Our target groups will be Dalit popular writers, organic intellectuals in the communities and the fast growing Dalit literate group; non-Dalit literate population; mainstream writers and publishers; scholars, researchers, academicians, policy makers, activists and N.G.O. and university and college teachers.

Research Agenda
The research agenda of the project is to study the Dalit public sphere and the democratic participation of Dalits. The DRC undertakes, promotes, and encourages intellectual exploration of such issues as the process of the emergence of Dalit public sphere and contribution of Dalit popular booklets and Dalit print media in its emergence; evolvement of popular booklets written and published by the Dalits themselves, from the colonial to the contemporary times as their alternative voice; their contribution to Dalit knowledge production; their transformation into an instrument in the struggle against hegemonic domination and their role in socio-political mobilization of Dalits; their role in shaping Dalit vision and popular culture; the role of writers of the Dalit popular booklets as community leaders in inculcating democratic values in local societies for expanding the public sphere; the contribution of popular booklets in the making of the democratic sphere of the country; and delineating the advocacy, intervention and dissemination strategies of the project.

As part of research and documentation, the Dalit Resource Centre is engaged in the following types of activities:
• A comprehensive mapping of Dalit publication centers in different parts of Uttar Pradesh.
• Conducting detailed interviews and constructing social-biographical notes on Dalit popular writers.
• 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.
• Audio-visual documentation of six village conferences to be organized in different regions of UP which will be recorded on video cameras and edited to prepare 45-minute DVD films.

Advocacy/dissemination component of the project includes:

• Organizing six village level conferences to create a network of Dalit popular writers and journalists at the local level to disseminate liberative and emancipatory ideas among Dalits of the regions where the conferences will be held.
• Abstracts of the booklets collected will be published and distributed among scholars, activists and other interested persons.
• An anthology both in Hindi and English of a few selected booklets will be published and distributed among Dalit popular writers, activists and researchers.
• A national conference will also be organized where there will be an interface between mainstream writers, mainstream Dalit writers, writers of Dalit popular booklets, publishers, booksellers, scholars, Dalit organic intellectuals and others.
• A website will be created where information regarding the Dalit Resource Center, a schedule of its activities, materials available in its archives, and abstracts of the booklets collected, will be provided.
• Each year a popular Hindi literary magazine that earmarks forty percent of its space to Dalit writings will be selected for Kabir Chetna Samman, carrying an amount of Rs. 50,000/- (fifty thousand only).
• Setting up an archive of print culture of Dalit communities from the colonial to the contemporary times. The writings, publications, newspapers, magazines, pamphlets published during the colonial period will be gathered from the personal collections of people and old libraries situated in the region. It is noteworthy that a majority of Dalit writings during the colonial period are preserved in the India Office Library, London. It is proposed that the collection of the contemporary materials will be undertaken by the project staff with the assistance of volunteers belonging to Dalit communities who will be paid on a piecemeal basis.


Copyright © 2012 Govind Ballabh Pant Social Science Institute. All Rights Reserved.
A project supported by the Ford Foundation