Geoffrey Fox

Reflections & Inquiries

Untouchables in India: Activism in Bangalore in 1978


Ancient caste and religious hostilities in India are now powered by internet-enabled WhatsApp groups. News of this development led me to search my files for this 40-year old unpublished paper on the (pre-internet) “Dalit Panthers” of Bangalore (Karnataka). My article was rejected by some magazines as “too academic,” and by the more academic ones as not specialized enough in South Asian studies. Re-reading it today, I can understand both critiques, but I think it may still be of interest as historical background to conflicts that continue to shake the world’s largest democracy.

For more recent information, see this April 6, 2018 article from The New York Times:  Lower-Caste Fury Shakes India, and Hints at Fiery Election Ahead. By Jeffrey Gettleman and Suhasini Raj. Or, for history, this note on the Dalit Panthers and writers.

For a pdf. of my 1978 article, “The Struggle for Dignity of India’s Untouchables: Activism in Bangalore,” open the link “Dalits” below.


Dalit protesters in Ahmadabad, July 2016