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Panthers in ParliamentDalits, Caste, and Political Power in South India$
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Hugo Gorringe

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199468157

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199468157.001.0001

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The Power of the Panthers

The Power of the Panthers

The Outcomes of Dalit Politics

(p.323) 9 The Power of the Panthers
Panthers in Parliament

Hugo Gorringe

Oxford University Press

This chapter asks what the VCK has achieved. It begins by looking back to the mobilizational phase of the Panthers and charts how they radicalized a generation and shook up Tamil politics. Older members of the movement offered nostalgic portraits of fearless radicalism whilst even external critics conceded that the VCK had managed to mobilize previously marginalized Dalits. It then moves onto an evaluation of the VCK as a political party and assesses both political and non-political outcomes of Dalit politics. It will argue that the VCK’s entry to politics has opened up a space for the articulation of anti-caste in some ways even as it has shut them down in others. Whilst many activists are disappointed, the VCK have generated some transformations and inspired others to alter their priorities too.

Keywords:   Social movement outcomes, Communist Parties, caste, social change

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