[CSH-JNU Workshop]
From Caste Patriotism to Caste Activism

Event Details

From Caste Patriotism to Caste Activism:

Caste Associations as Political Intermediaries in India

coordinated by

Surinder S. Jodhka (JNU/CSH), Julien Levesque (CSH) and Jean-Thomas Martelli (CSH)



This workshop hopes to examine the role of caste associations as intermediaries in the political process and in broader socio-economic transformations in India. We are particularly interested in offering insights into the way caste associations or caste-driven political entrepreneurs have emerged as effective electoral and social intermediaries in contemporary India.

Over almost a century and a half, caste mobilization in the form of associations saw its repertoire evolve from horizontal solidarity for collective welfare to political activism seeking to enact structural change. The novelty of caste associations, as pointed out by Lloyd and Susan Rudolph, was the combination of the ascriptive dimension of caste with voluntary association: “birth in the caste is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for membership” (Rudolph and Rudolph 1967, 33). Moreover, the evolution of caste associations and their form is not only linked to changes in caste practices but to broader socio-economic transformations and state policy, pertaining in particular to economic development. Caste networks indeed play an important role at the regional and local levels in the distribution of public expenditure. Thus, castes also serve as associational platforms by providing networks for organizations not necessarily acting in the name of caste groups.

Please find the workshop’s call for paper here

October 3rd


9:30am            Welcome note by the organizers

9:45am            Keynote lecture: Prof. Rajeshwari Deshpande, Savitribai Phule Pune University
Caste associations and the post Mandal politics of Caste

10:15am          Tea break


10:30am-12:30pm      Session 1: Caste associations and collective identity formation
Chair: Prof. Surinder S. Jodhka, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Dr. Satendra Kumar, IIAS, Shimla
Imagining Communities through History: From Jati to Samaj

Nidhin Donald, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Reproducing Kudumbam, Samudayam, Sabha: A Sociological Enquiry of Syrian Christian Family Associations

Dr. Swati Mantri, Sharda University
Marwaris of Kolkata and the Rhetoric of the ‘Right’ Identity

Dr. Sanam Roohi, Max Weber Kolleg, Erfurt
Telugu associations in the US: Caste differentiation and diasporic politics in a transregionally connected social field

12:30pm-2pm             Lunch


2pm-3:15pm               Session 2: Caste associations and online mobilization
Chair: Gilles Verniers, Ashoka University

Piyush Kant, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Digital Discourses on Caste: Building Caste solidarities online in the Times of Hashtag

Vishesh Pratap Gurjar, IIT Delhi
In the name of Groundwork: Social media, Proliferating Caste Associations and Efforts of Empowerment among Gurjars

3:15pm            Tea break


3:30pm-4:45pm               Session 3: Caste associations, local politics, and leadership
Chair: Prof. Vivek Kumar, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Vineet Rathee, McGill University
Caste Panchayats as Caste Associations: The Blurring of Boundaries

Marvi Slathia, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Political actors’ selective approach and Marginalized Refugees

October 4th


9:30am-10:45am        Session 4: Caste associations in urban dynamics
Chair: Dr. Marie-Hélène Zérah, CPR

Mukesh Kumar, TISS, Mumbai
Peripheral Urbanisation and dominant caste activism in Patna

Amritha Mohankumar, TISS, Mumbai
Caste Resilience in Cosmopolitan: A Case Study of Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) in Mumbai

10:45am                      Tea break


11am-12:15pm           Session 5: Caste associations as a source of economic support
Chair: Dr. Julien Levesque, Centre de Sciences Humaines

Dr. Suraj Beri, Lady Sri Ram College
Associational Politics of Business Elites: A Field-View from Bikaner

Tarini Manchanda, FRIDA The Young Feminist Fund
Dalit Farmers Grow Autonomously: Dalit Farmers and Caste Associations in Sangrur District, Punjab

12:15pm-2pm             Lunch


2pm-3:30pm               Session 6: Caste associations and political mobilization
Chair: Dr. Jean-Thomas Martelli, Centre de Sciences Humaines

Azeem Ahmed, University of Delhi
Caste Politics among Muslims in India: From Momin to Pasmanda

Dr. R Saravana Raja, Pondicherry University
Association/party dynamics of Vanniyar Politics in Tamil Nadu

Shivan Bhawna, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Identity, Spatial Segregation and Mobilisations of Dhanaks and Balmikis in Haryana

3:30pm                        Tea break

3:45pm-4: 30pm         Concluding discussion: The associational life of caste


More info:

ssjodhka [at] yahoo [dot] com
julien [dot] levesque [at] csh-delhi [dot] com
jt [dot] martelli [at] csh-delhi [dot] com

For registration:

RSVP mentioning your full name to be sent (before Thursday, 3 October, 12 p.m.) to: neeru  {dot}  gohar  {at}  csh-delhi  {dot}  com
(!) Due to security protocols, we request you to please pre-register over email and kindly carry an ID proof to be granted access to the venue.


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