chapter  8
Introduction to Dalit Visions
ByGail Omvedt
Pages 4

The dalit movement, based on ex-untouchables and widening to include non-Brahman castes of many southern and peripheral areas, has in recent times brought forward most strongly this ideological challenge, this contesting of Hinduism. Indeed the impetus to challenge the hegemony and validity of Hinduism is part of the very logic of dalit politics. It is insufficient to see dalit politics as simply the challenge posed by militant organizations such as the Dalit Panthers, the factionalized Republican Party, the rallies of the Bahujan Samaj Party, or even the insurgencies carried out by low-caste based Naxalite organizations. Dalit politics as the challenge to Brahman hegemony took on wider forms throughout the 1970s and 1980s, its themes sweeping into movements of "backward castes", peasants, women, and tribals. Dalit politics in the sense of a challenge to Brahmanic tradition has been an aspect of "several new social movements".