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EMGERENCE OF THE SUBALTERN AND SUBALTERN CULTURES INTRODUCTION Subaltern studies as we know is a new discipline that has been

dominantly playin g in the circle of academic areas ever since from time of post colonialism. It i s a new attraction for a philosopher who likes to undertake the subaltern projec t to reconstitute and empower subaltern people by way of his knowledge. It is al so a way of theorizing for and by hitherto hidden, unheard, oppressed voices. Su baltern studies whether in history, philosophy or religion is hinged on the prem ise that there is an autonomous space of the subaltern in which the marginalized communities have contributed to the building up of the nation. It is also an at tempt to break with elitism that dominated both colonialist as well as nationalist projects, especially in history writing. Though originating from studies in his tory it gives new meaning to related conceptions like domination, subordination, hegemony, resistance and revolt sponsoring thus an intellectualization of socie tal reality on behalf of those hitherto forgotten in society. It is also chance to learn that the subaltern is the subject of history, and express their agency in their responses to the religio-cultural and socio-economic reality of India. Let us learn more about them in this chapter. 1. THE NOTIONAL CLARIFICATION OF THE WORD SUBALTERN What is subaltern? The term subaltern is a very much used but a less defined term in social sciences. Subaltern is a military usage and has come to be used in soc io-political discourse. The Chambers 20th century dictionary defines subaltern in the following manner: ranked successively, subordinate, holding or held of a vassal. The Oxford Dictionary gives the meaning of the term subaltern as an officer below the rank of captain, esp. a second lieutenant (to its noun and adjective forms), and also uses 1) of inferior rank, 2) particular, not universal (to its adjective form) rank, holding army commission below that of captain . In terms o f official terminology, subaltern means under rank of captain, subordinate or a subaltern officer. According to Websters new college dictionary, the British usag e of subaltern means a subordinate, of lower This term was given a broader socio - political and economic connotation by the Italian Marxist theoretician Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937), to denote non-capitalist, non-bourgeoisie subordinate clas ses or groups, the proletariat, the peasants, the lumpen masses, socially unreco gnized that were non-hegemonic in nature during the stage prior to the emergence o f their critical consciousness . Gayatri chakravorthy Spivak the word subaltern is useful because it is flexible and accommodates social identities and struggle s (such as woman and the colonized) that dont fall under the reductive terms of st rict class analysis. I like the word subaltern for one reason. Subaltern began as a description of a cert ain rank in the military. The word was used under censorship by Gramsci: he call ed Marxism monism, and was obliged to call the proletarian subaltern. That word, u sed under duress, has been transformed into the description of everything that d oesnt fall under strict class analysis. I like that, because it has no theoretica l rigor. A subaltern is one who is on a journey from eclipse to identity, dependence to autonomy from contradictory consciousness to critical consciousness. The primord ial subaltern posture towards reality is the struggle for survival. If Descartes epistemological and ontological short-cut icon for representation of reality wa s, I think therefore, I am the subaltern flesh and blood aphorism in collectively is, We have survived, therefore, we are. In post colonialism and related fields, s ubaltern refers to persons socially, politically, and geographically outside of the hegemonic power structure. In other words subaltern is a term that commonly refers to the perspective of persons from regions and groups outside of the hege monic power structure. Subaltern refers to persons socially, politically, and ge ographically outside of the hegemonic power structure. Subalterns are the namele ss of the society. It is not referring to any particular group. It stands for th e voiceless, marginalized and peripheral of the society.

2. HISTORY OF SUBALTERN The term, derived from the work of the Marxist theorist, Antonio Gramsci, enter ed postcolonial studies through the work of the Subaltern Studies Group, a colle ctive of South Asian historians interested in exploring the role of non-elite ac tors in South Asian history. Antonio Gramsci: 1891 April 27, 1937) was an Itali an writer, politician, political philosopher, and linguist. He was a founding me mber and one time leader of the Communist Party of Italy and was imprisoned by B enito Mussolini s Fascist regime. His writings are heavily concerned with the an alysis of culture and political leadership; he is notable as a highly original t hinker within modern European thought. He is renowned for his concept of cultura l hegemony as a means of maintaining the state in a capitalist society. Thought: Gramsci is seen by many as one of the most important Marxist thinkers of the tw entieth century, in particular as a key thinker in the development of Western Ma rxism. He wrote more than 30 notebooks and 3000 pages of history and analysis du ring his imprisonment. These writings, known as the Prison Notebooks, contain Gr amsci s tracing of Italian history and nationalism, as well as some ideas in Mar xist theory, critical theory and educational theory associated with his name, su ch as: i) Cultural hegemony as a means of maintaining the capitalist state; ii) The need for popular workers education to encourage development of intellectual s from the working class. In the 1970s, the term began to be used as a reference to colonized people in the South Asian subcontinent. It provided a new perspect ive on the history of a colonized place from the perspective of the colonized ra ther than from the viewpoint of the colonizers. In India we have a handful of su baltern historians namely, Shahid Amin (1950- ), David Arnold (1947-), Partha Ch atterjee(1947-), David Hardiman (1947), Ranajit Guha (1923-) and Gyanendra Pande y (1950). in a multi-volume series of collected essays SUBALTREN STUDIES these h istorians have consistently attempted to recover a history of subaltern agency a nd resistance from the perspective of the people, rather than that of the state. . Marxist historians had already begun to view colonial history from the perspec tive of the proletariat, but this was sometimes seen as unsatisfying as it was s till a Eurocentric way of viewing the globe. "Subaltern Studies" began in the ea rly 1980s as an "intervention in South Asian historiography." While "subaltern" began as a model for the Subcontinent, it quickly developed into a "vigorous po stcolonial critique." Subaltern is now regularly used as a term in history, anth ropology, sociology, human geography, and literature. 3. MEANINGS OF SUBALTREN The term subaltern is used in postcolonial theory. The exact meaning of the term in current philosophical and critical usage is disputed. Some thinkers use it i n a general sense to refer to marginalized groups and the lower classesa person r endered without agency by his or her social status. Others, such as Gayatri Chak ravorty Spivak use it in a more specific sense. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (born February 24, 1942) is an Indian literary critic, theorist and a University Prof essor at Columbia University. She is best known for the monograph "Can the Subal tern Speak?", considered a founding text of post-colonialism, and for her transl ation of Jacques Derrida s Of Grammatology. She describes herself as a "practica l Marxist-feminist-deconstructionist". In Can the Subaltern Speak, Spivak discu sses some nuances of the race and power dynamics involved in the banning of the Sati. Spivak writes that in the few places where sati was practiced, such as Ben gal, women had the right to inherit which means there may have been some corrupt ing fiscal influences involved in the performance of sati. Still, all we hear ab out sati are re-presentations of what sati meant to, or how it oppressed, women, but we never hear from the sati-performing brown women themselves- thus the sub altern cannot speak. Some critics, however, say that the sati-performing women c annot speak because they die in the practice of ritual suicide. She argues that: subaltern is not just a classy (stylish/sophisticated) word for oppressed, for Other, for somebody who s not getting a piece of the pie....In postcolonial term s, everything that has limited or no access to the cultural imperialism is subal tern-a space of difference. Now who would say that s just the oppressed? The work

ing class is oppressed. It s not subaltern....Many people want to claim subalter nity. They are the least interesting and the most dangerous. I mean, just by bei ng a discriminated-against minority on the university campus, they don t need th e word subaltern ...They should see what the mechanics of the discrimination ar e. They re within the hegemonic discourse wanting a piece of the pie and not bei ng allowed, so let them speak, use the hegemonic discourse. They should not call themselves subaltern. Subaltern was first used in a non-military sense by Marxi st Antonio Gramsci. Some believe that he used the term as a synonym for proletar iat, possibly as a codeword in order to get his writings past prison censors, wh ile others believe his usage to be more nuanced and less clear cut. In several essays, Homi Bhabha, a key thinker within postcolonial thought, empha sizes the importance of social power relations in his working definition of suba ltern groups as oppressed, minority groups whose presence was crucial to the se lf-definition of the majority group: subaltern social groups were also in a posi tion to subvert ( destroy its power and influence)the authority of those who had hegemonic power. Boaventura de Sousa Santos uses the term subaltern cosmopolitanism extensively i n his 2002 book Toward a New Legal Common Sense. He refers to this in the contex t of counter-hegemonic practices, movements, resistances and struggles against n eoliberal globalization, particularly the struggle against social exclusion. He uses the term interchangeably with cosmopolitan legality as the diverse normativ e framework for an equality of differences. Here, the term subaltern is used to denote marginalized and oppressed people(s) specifically struggling against hege monic globalization. 4. NATURE OF SUBALTERN PEOPLE AND THEIR ASPIRATION FOR EMANCIPATION In the light of Antonio gramsci Subaltern people are the people who h ad two theoretical consciousnesses, or one contradictory consciousness. They are : one which is implicit in his activity and which in reality unites him with all his fellow-workers in the practical transformation of the real world; and (anoth er one, superficially explicit or verbal, which he has inherited from the past a nd uncritically absorbed. The former is native (subject) to a person, arising fr om humans natural activities as a worker (for Marxism, the human person is a prim arily a worker who interacts with nature, by way of crating something new), the latter form of consciousness is imposed or inherited from outside. While the for mer one leads to freedom and a non-exploitative state of life, in favor of the w ell-being of the working class and the latter oppresses and leads to an exploita tive state of life, not in favor of the well- being of the people. These two for ms of consciousness mingle together and produce a form of contradictory consciou sness, which induces incoherence in thinking and as a cumulative effect, leads t o a condition of moral and political passivity. Therefore, it is necessary, ac cording to Gramci to awaken and organize the consciousness that is implicit in o nes practical activity. This consciousness is a critical consciousness, a philoso phy of praxis that unites subaltern workers with their fellow-workers. This philo sophy or critical consciousness that is in inchoate form, is to be organized amo ng the subaltern masses by organic intellectuals, so that these subaltern peopl e start to think critically and coherently and participate, as autonomous subject s, in the historical process of social transformation thus we see in the thought of Gramci that the subaltern subject is the non- capitalist person subordinate person, is visualized to be a historical subject who has to actively contribute to the socialist transformation by developing a critical consciousness, instead of passively awaiting the socialist transformation to unfold itself. Taking inspiration from the Gramcian insight, the concept of subaltern has been theorized in the Indian context by the subaltern studies project initiated in th e early eighties by Ranajit Guha and his group. Guha used this term to mean the people who were subordinated by the dominant foreign (colonial officials, indust rialists, merchants, financiers, planters, landlords, and missionaries), and by dominant indigenous and those in the uppermost levels of bureaucracy). Based on this conceptualization of the subaltern, several studies have been undertaken an d published by different authors to date. They have been focusing mainly on the histories of resistance undertaken by the subaltern people of this land to the

dominant elites. One of the central insights of the explorations of this group is that freedom won by the nationalist historiography, but substantially due to the thousands of forms of resistance carried out by the subaltern sections of th e people of this land. It is in these that the subaltern agency, with its critic al consciousness, is manifest. This and other similar findings were brought to light by different autho rs of the subaltern studies group. Each of the authors , though placing themselv es within the general subaltern framework, has theorized with the general subalt ern framework, has theorized with their own emphasis, and has contributed to bri ng about a substantive shift of focus away from the grand colonialist, nationali st, orthodox Marxist narratives that encapsulated the subaltern subject into the ir classification. Instead of treating the subaltern subject as yet to be culture d, yet to be politically nationalized, and as mere economic category, these subaltern studies have attempted to view them in their own autonomous light. The interact ions and endeavors of the subaltern people, in terms of kinship, caste, linguist ic formation, religious initiatives, etc., have been emphasized in a new light, and been understood as the way they, as active subjects, participated in history . So subaltern in this specific sense of a subject hood being characterized by contradictory consciousness on the one hand, and of critical consciousness atten ded with active and autonomous agency on the hand. Accordingly the dalits, the t ribals, the backward classes, women, the endless varieties of workers who are in volved in cheap and bonded labour, and children are some of the important catego ries of people who can come under the classification of subaltern. Organizing th e subaltern people for their emancipation would mean playing the catalyst role, as organic intellectuals, of awakening the critical consciousness among the suba ltern people. 6. INDIAN PERSPECTIVE Homi K. Bhabha: He is one of the most important figures in contemporary post-co lonial studies. One of his central ideas is that of "hybridisation," which, tak ing up from Edward Said s work, describes the emergence of new cultural forms fr om multiculturalism. Instead of seeing colonialism as something locked in the pa st, Bhabha shows how its histories and cultures constantly intrude on the presen t, demanding that we transform our understanding of cross-cultural relations. Hi s work transformed the study of colonialism by applying post-structuralist metho dologies to colonial texts. In several essays, Homi Bhabha, a key thinker within postcolonial thought, empha sizes the importance of social power relations in his working definition of subal tern groups as oppressed, minority groups whose presence was crucial to the self-d efinition of the majority group: subaltern social groups were also in a position to subvert the authority of those who has hegemonic power. Here, the term subalt ern is used to denote marginalized and oppressed people(s) specifically struggli ng against hegemonic globalization. The terms subaltern and dalit are used as synonyms in general by many scholars in th eir recent writings. Yes, there are similarities between these two terms, but dal it is the term much popularized in Indian context by Indian social activists of s everal dalit movements of recent past. Both terms indicate subjectivity - object ivity and superior - inferior differences between people and their faiths, relig ions, traditions and so on. Simultaneously this term is used to people and relig ion of lower class/caste and called subaltern people and their religion - subalt ern/dalit religion; hence, we are identifying now distinctiveness of dalit/subal tern religion/faith, which is distinctively different to that of so called now i n protest of low class/caste people and also against gender discrimination, henc e, dalit protest movements came into existence fighting against the oppressive s ocial hierarchical structures and inhuman attitudes of dominant sections. The Po or: The poor are the destitute, the disposed, the displaced, and the discriminat ed who form the bulk of Asian people. Here in India, the term dalit is employed to describe the poor. Dalit, the term Dalit is derived from the root dal which m eans to crack, open or split. When used as a noun or adjective, it means burst,

split, broken or torn asunder, scattered, crushed, destroyed. Outcaste, the term dalit today is specially used for those people who, on the basis of caste disti nction, have been considered outcaste. They were outcaste, because they were not acc ording to the architects of the system fit to be included in the fourfold graded caste structure of Indian society. 7. SUBALTERN MOVEMENTS AND CULTIC TRADITIONS There are several movements and cultic traditions developed in the history of re ligious traditions in India related to subaltern perspective either directly or indirectly. Atheistic movements like Charvaka, Lokayata, Jainism and Buddhism d eveloped against the oppressive structures of Brahmanic Hindu ritualism. Bhakti movements are another source of interpretation from subaltern perspective, whic h contain resources for inter-faith dialogue form inter-religious point of view. Thirdly dalit movements, of course aimed at the liberation of dalit folk from the oppressive structures in Indian society, directly connected to subaltern mov ements. There are several folk/popular cultic-traditions in our country providin g better position for dalits and giving wider place for inter-faith relations. There is possibility to relate Neo-Vedantic and Neo-Buddhist movements to subalt ern perspective. Neo-Vedantic Movement of Ramakrishna Mission is another example working for the poor irrespective of Hindu caste discrimination. Service to humanity is service t o god is the motto of Ramakrishna Pramahamsa and Swami Vivekananda. Swami Vivekan anda established Ramakrishna Mission with bold vision to revive/reform Hindu ritua lism and made this as a movement of service oriented to meet basic needs of people education, health, shelter, food and other rehabilitation and philanthropic act ivities, of course, copied many from Christian Missionary activities of his time , but still Ramakrishna Mission continue these activities with the spirit of soc ial service. Both stood for ideal values of social integration of various castes , including subaltern people and communal/religious harmony of people belong to different faiths/religions. The services of Ramakrishna Mission are available to all people irrespective of caste, gender, religious discrimination. Another recent one worthy of mention is Neo-Buddhist Movement of B.R. Ambedkar, wh ich rightly considered as subaltern socio-religious movement developed during se cond half of 20th century in Maharashtra among Mahar community. This movement is , indeed, a protest movement against oppressive structures of Hinduism, especial ly, caste and untouchability. Ambedkar vehemently opposed Hindu dharmasasthras for their caste hierarchical structures and inhuman attitude of upper castes toward s dalits, hence, he rightly pointed out that there is no liberation to subaltern people as long as caste system existed in Indian society. Therefore, B.R. Ambed kar has taken a bold step to get rid of Hinduism and joined Buddhism on October 14, 1956 seeking new identity and human dignity for dalits. On the same day near ly 3, 08,000 dalits took initiation into Buddhism. From then onwards Buddhism at tained revival spirit in India increasing its number and Ambedkar made this move ment as Neo-Buddhism improving human values and dignity of dalits. And finally t here are the contributions of Christian Missionary Movements for social transfor mation of subaltern people in India. HERMENEUTICS STANCE OF VARIOUS SUBALTERN PERSPECTIVES Introduction Subaltern is a term that commonly refers to the perspective of persons from regi ons and groups outside of the hegemonic power structure. In the 1970s the term be gan to be used as a reference to colonized people in the South Asian subcontinen t. Subaltern is now regularly used as a term in history, anthropology, sociology and literature. In India itself we could identify various subaltern perspective s let us see one by one. Dalit perspective Feminist perspective Tribal perspective Religious perspective

(A) DALIT PERSPECTIVE Dalit perspective is one of the subaltern perspectives, which is specific to Ind ian context. This perspective aims at empowering the Dalits to come to the mains tream of the society by re discovering their philosophy, history, religion and v alues. As such, it is process, which involves a paradigm shift from the center t o the periphery. In order to understand the Dalit perspective it is imperative t o have general understanding of caste system.

General understanding of caste system: origin Early written evidence about the caste system appears in the Vedas, Sanskrit-lan guage texts from as early as 1500 BCE, which form the basis of Hindu scripture. The Rigveda, from c. 1700-1100 BCE, rarely mentions caste distinctions, and indi cates that social mobility was common. The Bhagavad Gita, however, from c. 200BC E-200CE, emphasizes the importance of caste. Some believe that the caste system was originally based upon color lines between the conquering Aryans and the dark er, native Dravidians. The higher castes, Brahmans and Kshatriyas, were composed of Aryans whereas the Vaisyas and Sudras were composed of native peoples. In ad dition, the "Laws of Manu" or Manusmriti from the same era defines the rights an d duties of the four different castes or varnas. Thus, it seems that the Hindu c aste system began to solidify sometime between 1000 and 200 BCE. Etymology of the Word Caste The word Caste is derived from the Portuguese (also Spanish) word casta, meaning lin eage, breed or race. The Sanskrit words varna and jati are commonly translated a s "caste". These terms refer to ranked groups of various sizes and breadth. The four primary castes are: the Brahmins: scholars and clergy, the Kshatriyas: warr iors and administrators, the Vaishyas: agriculturists, artisans and merchants, t he Shudras: laborers. Some people were born outside of (and below) the caste sys tem. They were called "untouchables." The definition of caste system usually ref ers to the system of stratification in Hinduism or else a social structure in wh ich classes are determined by heredity. In practice, too, this caste denotes the hereditarily imposed social status on an individual, family, group or community in a highly stratified Indian Society. It is essentially historical, hereditary , exclusive, discriminatory, inequitous and inhumane in nature and has been sanc tified by the Hindu religious scriptures and has been accepted and regarded by H indus. Difference between Varna and Jati The terms Chaturvarna (general classification based on occupation) and Jati (cas te, community) are two distinct concepts. In Sanskrit chatur denotes four and varna means a caste, color, form, group, appearance. Varna (from Sanskrit, literally " arrangement") is usually a unification of all the Hindu castes or jatis into fou r groups as the Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaisya, and Shudra. The varna system of Hind u society is described in the Manusmriti. In terms of caste, jati is the social stratum in which one is born. One is fixed in a jati (community) by birth and there are sets of rules governing acceptable occupations, foods, marriage, and association with other jatis. A person s surn ame typically reflects a community (jati) association: thus Gandhi = perfume sel ler, Dhobi = washerman, Srivastava = military scribe, etc. Jti is the term used t o denote communities and sub-communities in India. In Indian society, each jti ty pically has an association with a traditional job function or tribe. Main Features of Caste System Practices associated with caste had some common features. The three key areas of life dominated by caste were marriage, meals and religious worship. * Marriage across caste lines was strictly forbidden; most people even mar ried within their own sub-caste or jati. Breaking the caste-rule was accompanied

by excommunication and death penalty At meal times, anyone could accept food from the hands of a Brahmin, but a Brahmin would be polluted if he or she took certain types of food from a lowe r caste person. Untouchable were forbidden to draw water from a public well, bec ause the water would be polluted and nobody else could use it. * In terms of religion, as the priestly class, Brahmins were supposed to c onduct religious rituals and services. This included preparation for festivals a nd holidays, as well as marriages and funerals. The Kshatrya and Vaisya castes h ad full rights to worship. * But in certain places Shudras (the servant caste) were not allowed to of fer sacrifices to the gods. Untouchables were barred entirely from temples, and sometimes were not even allowed to set foot on temple grounds. * If the shadow of an untouchable touched a Brahmin, he/she would be pollu ted, so untouchables had to lay face-down at a distance when a Brahmin passed. * In this way a sense of highness and lowness or superiority and inferiori ty was associated with this gradation or ranking. The Brahmins occupied the top of the hierarchy and are regarded as pure or supreme. * The degraded caste or the untouchables have occupied the other end of th e hierarchy. The status of an individual is determined by his birth and not by s election nor by accomplishments. * There is also some correlation between ritual rank on the caste hierarch y and economic prosperity. Members of higher-ranking castes tend, to be more pro sperous than members of lower-ranking castes. * Many lower-caste people lived in conditions of great poverty and social disadvantage, like temple entry, educational facilities, legal rights and politi cal representation were denied to them for a very long time. The impure castes a re made to live on the outskirts of the city. * Each caste had its own specific occupations which were almost hereditary . There was no scope for individual talent, aptitude, enterprise or abilities. T he caste system imposes restrictions on marriage also. Thus Caste was identified as an endogamous group. * The caste system is credited to ensure the continuity of the traditional social organization of India. Each caste has its own customs, traditions practi ces and rituals. It has its own informal rules, regulations and procedures. The caste panchayats or the caste councils regulate the conduct of members. * The Untouchables Untouchables were those who were outside the four caste groups. Untouchables wer e considered so impure that any contact with them by a caste member would contam inate the other person. The caste-person would have to bathe and wash his or her clothing immediately. Untouchables could not even eat in the same room as caste members. The untouchables did work that no-one else would do, like scavenging a nimal carcasses, leather-work, or killing rats and other pests. They could not b e cremated when they died. In this way the caste system promoted untouchability and discrimination against certain members of the society. The status of women w as affected and they were relegated to the background. The caste system divided the society into mutually hostile and conflicting groups and subgroups. Today th e outcastes are known as dalits. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and jyotirao phule were the o nes who championed the cause for the liberation and emancipation of dalits. Meaning of the term Dalit Etymologically, the root of the term Dalit can be traced back to two of the most i mportant and ancient linguistic families: the Semitic (headed by Hebrew) and the Indo- European (headed by Sanskrit). In Hebrew the root is dall meaning: poor, lo w, helpless, etc., and in Sanskrit the root is dal , meaning: to crack, to split, to crush, to destroy, etc. It is highly probable that the term Dalit, with its d erivative forms, must have been in use by the people of Indus and Babylonian civ ilization.

History of the term Although we can trace the root of the term Dalit to the ancient period, the term was made popular in its present usage in the writings of two of the Indian stal warts, the nineteenth Century Marathi reformer and revolutionary Mahatma Jotirao Phule and the twentieh century intellectual and revolutionary Dr.B.R.Ambedkar. Mahatma Phule used in his writings the term Sudra- Adisudra to refer to Dalits, outcastes (dalitodhar, the uplift of the depressed). Dr. Amebedkar has used the term Dalit for the people of the scheduled castes. However, it is in 1972 with t he formation of Dalit panthers movement in Maharashtra that the term Dalit began to be used only for Mahar community; later it was spread to all the scheduled cast es. Since Dalit means trampled, squeezed, crushed, broken or reduced to pieces, all those who are in such a situation- scheduled castes and tribes, landless lab orers, and those subjected to exploitation under the name of religion- socio-po litical-economic level, were included under the term Dalit. Professor Gangadhar pantawane expresses the meaning Dalit as follows: Dalit is not a caste. Dalit is a symbol of change and revolution. The Dalit believes in humanism. He rejects t he existence of god, rebirth, and soul, sacred books that teach discrimination, fate and heaven, because these have made him a slave. He represents the exploite d man in his country. The group of people who are known today as the Dalits were originally called by di fferent names, such as the untouchables, the last born, etc. During the British per iod, this group was referred to as the depressed classes. Ambedkar opposed to it b ecause of its degrading tone; and so Simon Commission, proposed a compromise term s cheduled castes, which was officially introduced in the government of India act o f 1955. Gandhi introduced another term, Harijan, to refer to the untouchables. Never theless, they objected to the use of this term as well because of its negative c onnotation. Today the term Dalit has become the most accepted and used term to des ignate the downtrodden community. Dalit is specially being used for those people who based on caste distinction have been considered outcastes. They are outside o f four- layer caste structure of Indian society. Based on such a status-less sta tus, they were made to bear extreme form of disabilities, because of which they were made to lose their humanness, and finally they reached the state of being no people. Today Dalit is not a demeaning term, but an identity about which one is pr oud- and identity, which is the product of a long historical process, rooted in a collective conscience. The dialogical process aimed at the emancipation of Dalits implies a concrete ap plication of the philosophy of liberation. This dialogical process is aimed at b ringing the dalits to the mainstream of the society ensuring a just society wher e there is celebration of human values and human rights. This dialogical process requires certain pre requistes, which ultimately lead to the liberation and hol istic development of the person. Such as; (a) Conscientization through education, which enables them to agitate, organize and realize conscious responsibility. (b) Unconditional affirmation of the other as the other Letting the subaltern speak for themselves (d) Understanding the significance of developing and I thou relationship where the other is treated as unique human person thus leading to the fuller development o f ones personality. a) Conscientization In a healthy dialogical process, the role conscientization has greater significa nce. Conscientization is one of the basic conditions in the process of emancipat ion of Dalits. In the Indian society, most of the Dalits are illiterate and ther efore not aware of their debilitating context of oppression and exploitation. Mo st of the Dalits are not aware of their pathetic situation at the hands of oppre ssor. Secondly, the popular theology of the dalits makes them to accept their de humanizing situation as a matter of fate or will of god. As long as Dalits are n ot aware of their fact of oppression, they cannot come out of the oppressive fet ters. Therefore, Dalits need to conscientized of their misfortune through variou s means of education and awareness programme. This is carried out in various way

s. There are various models of conscientization proposed by various thinkers amo ng them Dr. B. R. Ambedkar is worth mentioning. Today what Dalits are to a great er extend is owes to the selfless effort of Ambedkar. Educate, agitate, and organ ize: Have faith in your strength, this is the motto he followed to reform and tra nsform the backward section of the society. Education The first step of this strategy was to educate the Dalits, so that they would kn ow the ills, evils that prevented them from progressing. He realized that a com munity that had been totally deprived from acquiring any kind of resources, educ ation would be the easiest way to exploit them. However, he stressed that Dali ts themselves have to take lead in educating their lot. Ambedkar suggested the spread of mass-education as the necessary antecedent to have political stability . Education can lead an individual to move from Caste to Class, i.e.; from close system to open system. In Caste system, an individual is confined only to his o r her traditional occupation. Therefore, there is a little scope to grow. Howeve r, in Class, as it is open, an individual can grow as per his or her capability. Agitation Considering education as the basic and necessary investment, Dr. Ambedkar expect ed that by acquiring education and knowledge, many more people like him would ta ke up the cause of the Dalits. Educated Dalit mind would agitate over the injus tice inflicted and would fight against it. Agitation by no means refers to viol ence or physical assault over the government and authorities. It peaceful ways o f expressing ones views, suggestions, protest for a cause. It is standing for ones rights. Therefore, agitation of mind is needed to be seen in proportion to the education. Organization Agitated mind, as Dr. Ambedkar presumed, would force educated people to form org anizations and they would act to solve the problems. But the actual message of Dr. Ambedkar lies in "have faith in your strength." Right from the beginning, Dr . Ambedkar emphasizes self-help. He says, Self-help is the best help. He also ma de it loud and clear to Dalits that "it is out of hard struggle and ceaseless st ruggle alone that one derives strength, confidence and recognition." He directed Dalits on many occasions that they must stand on their feet and fight as best a s they can for their rights. Power and prestige will come through struggle alone was the message he echoed. Self-determination and Responsibility He stressed throughout that self-determination is required in order to achieve t he common ideals or common purpose without external compulsion. To him society was an integrated whole, each individual is tied with another in an indissoluble relationship. His views of society fully endorsed that an individual is mainly responsible for his own welfare. At the same time, he shares the collective resp onsibility for the good of the society. Thus he called every individual to take a conscious responsibility. b) Allowing them to speak for themselves According to renowned postmodern thinker Gayatri chakravarthy in order to have a genuine dialogical process with the subaltern we need to allow the subalterns t o speak for themselves. When the Dalits are, conscientized it necessarily follo ws that they must allowed to speak for themselves. In many cases, the subalterns l ike Dalits represent the voiceless group of the society who are marginalized in all forms. Most the times the dominate group try to speak for the Dalits. Accord ing to Gayatri what we need not a messiah attitude to speak for the dalits rathe r to allow them to speak for themselves. That is to empower them to make decisio ns and work out their own version of liberation. (B) FEMINIST PERSPECTIVE Introduction In the subaltern perspective, the feminist perspective forms a major development

in contemporary debates. The term subaltern was originally a term for subordina tes in military hierarchies. Nonetheless, in its modern usage, the word refers t o any person or group of inferior rank and situation because of race, class, gen der, and ethnicity and so on. women comprise perhaps the most significant and i nclusive of all subaltern groups not only because of the ubiquitous nature of th eir oppression but also because of cultural, political, religious and ideologica l institutions of the society that are fundamental to validating and naturalizin g their oppression. As elaborated in the work of Antonio Gramsci subaltern refer s to groups of people who are outside the established structures of political re presentation. Postcolonial theorists like Gayatri Spivak have argued that women are a subaltern group because they are denied access to both mimetic and politic al forms of representation. Feminist philosophizing is from below, focusing more on what happens to women at the base level of society. Ever since feminist movements heightened since 1970s there are many discussions and counter discussion on womens liberty on sexuality and gender equality underg oing until date. Mass immigration and globalization process have not only sought financial freedom of women but also emancipation of knowledge and resistance ag ainst male domination in each social domain. The ongoing discourses have demande d more studies in gender and gender equalities in both West and the third world. Besides these, the role of feminist movements towards womens active participatio n in economy and enlightenment through media and technology in reproduction, eve n in the underdeveloped countries have become center of attention in the recent times. Compare to last a few decades, it can be experienced that women have been much more empowered not only in West but also in underdeveloped countries. Homo sexuality, lesbianism, transgendered sexuality have taken wider public discourse s which were socially stigmatized in past. As soon as women are empowered throug h education and economy, new gender roles and sexuality are accepted through leg islation, that have helped to create new social reconstructions on feminism. In the guise the hegemony of patriarchy in relation to womens oppressed position and how they are lagged behind due to the deprivation of mobility and economic free dom feminist orientations find new meaning and relevance in our context. What is Feminism? Feminism is a political, cultural and economic movement which aims at establishi ng equal rights and legal protection for women. It advocates gender equality for women and campaigns for womens rights and interests. Feminism is manifest in a v ariety of disciplines like feminist history, feminist literary criticism, femini st science, feminist geography, feminist economics, religious feminism and femin ism of art. Feminism involves political, cultural, sociological and scientific t heories, as well as philosophies concerned with issues of gender difference. According to many scholars in feminism the history of feminism in the west can b e divided into three waves. The first feminist wave was in the nineteenth and ea rly twentieth centuries, the second was in the 1960s and 1970s, and the third ex tends from the 1990 to the present. The feminist theory emerged from these femin ist movements. It is manifest in a variety of disciplines such as feminist histo ry, feminist literature, feminist theology, feminist philosophy, and so on. feminism has altered predominant perspectives in a wide range of areas within we stern society, ranging from cultures to law, feminist activists have campaigned for womens legal rights (rights of contract, property rights, voting rights) ; fo r womens right to bodily integrity and autonomy, for protection of women and girl s from domestic violence, sexual harassment and rape; for workplace rights, incl uding maternity leaves and equal pay; against misogyny; and against other forms of gender specific discrimination against women. In the 19th and early 20th centuries most feminist movements were led by predomi nantly middle-class white women from Western Europe and North America. However w ith Sojourner Truth (1797-1883), a black slave woman who is considered to be the fore mother of the Christian feminist movement in the west, women of colour and other races proposed alternative feminism based on the struggles of women of co lours like the Afro-American women. Sojourner Truths speech to American feminists

in 1851 was entitled Aint I a Woman and paved the way for the inclusion of varia bles like race and ethnicity in feminist analysis. This trend accelerated in the 1960s with the Civil Rights movements in the Unite d States and the collapse of European colonialism in Africa, the Caribbean, part s of Latin America and South East Asia. Since that time, women in former Europea n colonies and the Third World have proposed Post-Colonial and Third World feminisms . Some postcolonial feminists, such as Chandra Talpade Mohanty, are critical of western feminism for being ethnocentric. Black feminists, such as Angela Davis a nd Alice Walker, share this view. Several sub-movements of feminists ideology hav e developed over the years; some of the major subtypes are explained in this les son. These movements often overlap, and some feminists identify themselves with several types of feminist thought. Feminism in India The founding story of feminism in Asia, and particularly in India, is based on w omens experience of discrimination against them either in the structure of person al laws, or increased violence on their bodies thorough rape, dowry deaths, relig ious fundamentalism and the like. In her analysis of the origins and history of the womens movement in India, Rajeswari Sunder Rajan remarks that there can be no complacency with regard to the violence against women, which is on the increase , such as rape in police custody, deaths inside family, sexual harassment at wor k-sites and on the streets, etc. within the broad identity of the womens movement in India, differences of class, caste and community, and the rural-urban divide among women, was increasingly highlighted from the late 80s. Urban and middle c lass feminists were accused of being homogenous and western in their approach. T his awareness resulted in the upsurge of different strands of specific nature of womens experiences. As a result new feminist philosophies and movements like dal it feminism, tribal feminism, ecological feminism, self-employed womens associati ons and so on emerged. The 1990s, with the emergence of the era of globalization, has seen transformed contexts as a result of the debates and policy initiatives around development in the country. Indian women were shaken by the absence of womens perspective in th e overall development process and by the insensitivity of the policy makers and planners. As Indu Agnihotri and Veena Mazumdar articulate, The marginalization an d impoverishment of the majority of women within the transforming economy became the entry point for academics into movement. The 1990s thus was momentous in the history of the movements in India, as feminists brought their political and int ellectual engagements onto new and fruitful terrain. This involvement led to a b roadening of the feminist conceptions of economy itself. The decade of the 90s also saw the resurgence of a new component in the history of Indian feminism. The path breaking subaltern project undertaken by Indian his torians and political scientists triggered this novel venture of Indian feminist s. The awareness that the project of nationalism had ignored the life stories an d histories of different groups of marginal women from varied locations, led to diverse researches and contributions from women in varied disciplines. These stu dies and involvements were also enriched by and in-depth analysis of caste hiera rchies and interlocking grid of caste, gender, class and cultural, communal and religious patriarchies. Understanding Feminist Movement The struggles for the womens emancipation have three major waves in the mid twent ieth century; those movements carried the discourses of womens situation as subor dinate, oppressed and discriminated on the basis of sex category. In the advance ment of feminism discourse, further deconstruction of feminism through intersect ionality such as class, race, and sexuality added new gender studies encounters. Meanwhile, post colonial perspective of feminism added a new contour in feminis t discourse. Feminism became a part of world politics where new power relation w

as defined by French feminism theorist after western female scholars identified their status of oppression or male domination. New sexuality, gender roles and h etero normativity became new social encounter especially after Michel Foucault i ntroduced the history of sexuality. On the other hand, womens reproductive charac teristic became a discourse in power politics. Davis (1997 p. 116) mentions, wome n are not just the biological reproducers of the nation but also its cultural re produces ... transmitting it to the children and constructing the home in a spec ific cultural style. In context to divided feminist world by class, race, and soc ial structures, a continue search for transversal politics is underway to reunit e world women together. In the regime of power in global to local institutions, feminism has become a search of power equation. Through the world summits such a s CEDAW and BEIJING Conference feminist have successfully tried shed lights on p ower discourse for gender equality. Addressing the situation of women as subordi nate to men, much has been discussed on different forms of dominating factors ex cluding masculinity, most criticized factor is the patriarchy system. There afte r a wide discussion took on social construction of sex and work division under t he sex category. To fight against the discrimination, oppression it has been pro posed of an idea as gender equality. This idea was the first effort to dismantle the configuration of patriarchal structure which was supposed to be a significa nt hazard. While discussion, this paper will also throw the light on those attem pts to examine interrelation of feminist movement in the form of global politics and its impact on local. Feminist subaltern philosophizing begins with womens experiences, womens s tories and womens visions. It comes from the awareness that the experiences of wo men have been neglected and marginalized. Moreover accounts of oppression form t he content of womens lives. Feminist philosophers have highlighted that patriarch al ideology and codification influence womens experiences. Consequently they stre ss the need of a feminist and critical analysis of experience. Cultural stereoty pes informed by patriarchal ideologies play a considerable role in curtailing th e genuine growth in freedom of women. Therefore a critical analysis of experienc e is aimed at deconstructing oppressive archetypes and norms that are framed on the basis of an essentialistic understanding of the feminine that has been inscr ibed by mainstream philosophy. Since womens experience is largely that of exclusi on and silencing feminist philosophizing begins with naming these experiences of marginalization. Stories of womens exploitation and battering as a frame of refe rence are crucial in the construction of subaltern discourses directed towards e mpowerment and social transformation since it uncovers and challenges structure of power and oppression. Elisabeth Porter in her book entitled Feminist perspectives on ethics says: Stories are part of the moral deliberation that women as lovers, mothers, daught ers, sisters, friends, nurses, charity volunteers, social workers and child-mind ers have always done, but has been trivialized or dismissed as sentimental, dome stic, private or morally immature. Responding sensitively to the narratives of d ifferent people is crucial to moral agency. C. TRIBAL PERSPECTIVE Philosophizing from the subaltern perspective of the tribal would mean doing phi losophy from the perspective of the marginalized tribal people. It is a new pers pective, which reflects over the people whose identity and dignity are at stake. It takes into consideration the mentality of the subaltern people. According to some of the sociologists and the anthropologists, submissiveness and defiance a re two important elements to be kept in mind when we deal with the subaltern. Ph ilosophing from this perspective would mean an ongoing process of re-thinking of the tribal cultural mentality that is undergoing rapid changes. Tribal societie s undergo substantial transformation despite the experiences of subjugation. The ir history tells us that in a way or the other they have been wronged and misund erstood, misrepresented and misformed, often by those who are dominant. In the first phase, philosophizing from a new perspective of the tribals would m ean taking into account the information provided by different authors and their

interpretations. It will be the perspective of the interpreter, which gives the interpretations of the oral, unwritten, and traditional practices lied by the tr ibals, in the most cases, without any written explanation. These interpretations are expected to present the tribal ethos from a proper perspective. Failure to present the inside view of the tribal tradition will amount to a gross failure. In the second phase we move on to the realm of the hitherto interpreted. Now the one who was so far being interpreted, interprets from the perspective of the wit hin. This is the perspective of the insignificant, at least treated so, thus far. As wrongly put, it is the perspective of the savage, illogical and irrational. Thus, under the purview of the new perspective, there is a need to develop triba l political philosophy, a subaltern perspective of the tribal women and philosop hy of liberation from for the tribals exploited in the tea gardens, as bonded la bourers and daily wagers. A philosophy from the vantage point of the tribals cal ls for tribal intellectuals to present their self perceptions. (E) RELIGIOUS PERSPECTIVE Theoretical discussion on a concept such as subaltern religion is still in the p rocess. Some thinkers have introduced the concept of subaltern religion or subal tern religiosity in their studies of subaltern people. They have identified cert ain specific characteristics that pertain to the religions of subaltern people. Subaltern religiosity as a religious experience and its expression deriving from a condition of being marginalized or being subjugated, dominated. To understand abo ut the subaltern religions we need to look at some of the concepts. Folk- the discipline of folkristics, emerging as a notable field of study within anthropology, has come up with discussions on concepts such as folk culture, fo lk religion, folklore etcthe term folk seem to have from a specific historical co ntext .it was in the 19th century Europe that the term folk was originally used to denote the peasantry who lived on the margins of civilization with no or litt le literacy, the culturally marginal people. Those who view the folk in exclusiv e terms consider folk religion as having distinctive features and characteristic s that dominate them from other non-folk, i.e., the classical or the dominant re ligions. The features of folk religions Earthly origin of deities- earthly origin of their deities. Unlike the classical deities who originate in a trans-spatio-temporal world, and descend upon the eart h as avatars, folk deities originate in a spatio-temporal historical context. Th ese deities are protective and benevolent at the same time ferocious, villainous and malevolent. The representations of classical deities are relatively more rede fined, and to the extent domesticated, the depictions of the folk deities are le ss defined and to the extent less domesticated. The former is definable and pred ictable, while the latter remains volatile and unpredictable. Congregational worship- folk worship is generally in the form of festivals, cons isting of performance of rituals. It is collective, congregational, and communit arian. It is in the nature of folk religions to create and reinforce a sense of social solidarity among the people. Contextual sensitivity folk deities and religions are local and regional in thei r outlook and context-sensitive in their operation. Unlike the classical deities who exist in a separate abode and come down on a universal mission, folk deitie s are born in this temporal world, in a local context, and even after deificatio n, they continue to live in this world in a particular region. Consequently, the concern, outlook, and the reach of the religions remain very much local and reg ional, tied closer to their historical context. Popular- this is another concept discussed in religious studies. The term popula r is a complex of semantic variations. Historically, this term seems to have evo lved through legal, political, and cultural context, like popular government or v ote. Culturally: art, music, press etc today the term is very much prevalent in re ligious and theological studies. For example, popular devotions, popular religion s, popular beliefs etc. here the term popular, as being used by anthropologists, folklorists and theologians, and generally indicates that category of people tha t is other the elite, the official, the hierarchical, and the intuitional. Today

the term popular has come down predominantly to indicate the lay, the non-offic ial and non-institutional, the lower, the marginalized, and the poor category of the people. Conclusion As we have seen conditions of these voiceless people, let us try to libe rate them from their shackles and bondage of life. Let us bring them out of the cave where in they will be able see the light and reveal to our society as liber ators.