You are here

Untouchability in Rural India

Untouchability in Rural India

First Edition
  • Ghanshyam Shah - Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Wassenaar
  • Harsh Mander - Centre for Equity Studies, Delhi
  • Sukhadeo Thorat - Chairman, Indian Institute of Dalit Studies, New Delhi
  • Satish Deshpande - Department of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics, Delhi, India
  • Amita Baviskar - Ashoka University, Sonepat, India

June 2018 | 216 pages | SAGE India
This book is focused and systematic documentation of the incidence and extent of the practice of untouchability in contemporary India. Based on the results of a large survey covering 565 villages in 11 states, it reveals that untouchability continues to be widely prevalent and is practiced in one form or another in almost 80 per cent of the villages. Field data is supplemented by information about the forms of discrimination which Dalits face in everyday life, such as:

– The ‘unclean’ occupations open to them
– The double burden of Dalit women, who suffer both gender and caste discrimination
– The upper-caste violence with which any Dalit self-assertion is met

The authors also describe Dalit efforts to overcome deeply entrenched caste hierarchies and assert their right to live with dignity. While the evidence presented here suggests that the more blatant and extreme forms of untouchability appear to have declined, discrimination continues and is most prevalent in the religious and personal spheres. The authors show that the notion of untouchability continues to pervade the public sphere, including a host of state institutions and the interactions that occur within them.
Foreword Babu Mathew
Preface Harsh Mander
Introduction: Caste, Untouchability and Dalits in Rural India
'Unclean Occupations': Savaged by Tradition
Dalit Women and the Practice of Untouchability
Violence against Dalits
Demanding Rights, Equality and Dignity

Untouchability in Rural India is a fascinating, lively and well-written book, which I would recommend those interested in class and cast to consult. It is a pleasure to read, the style is clear and concise without losing complex details, and the study is relevant for experienced researchers in this area as well as new students.

Journal of South Asian Development

Practices of discrimination against people born into particular castes and legitimizes practices that are humiliating, exclusionary and exploitative….   “unclean occupations open to them; the double burden of Dalit women, who face both gender and caste discrimination; the upper caste violence with which any Dalit self-assertation is met.”…. forms of discriminations faced by women with several real life incidences…. The emerging emancipation of these women and how, many of them, despite all odds, have managed to achieve greater control over their lives.

Development Alternatives

The volume proves beyond doubt that the dalits have learnt the use of radical language in order to establish their right to dignity and equal concern.

Economic & Political Weekly

For instructors

This book is not available as an inspection copy. For more information contact your local sales representative.

Purchasing options

Please select a format: