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‘Civis Indianus sum’? Ambedkar on democracy and territory during linguistic reorganization (and partition)

  • OLIVER GODSMARK (a1)

Abstract

This article considers Ambedkar's ideas about the implementation of democracy in India, in the context of the linguistic reorganization of provincial administrative boundaries. In doing so, it looks to emphasize the importance of territorial configurations to Dalit politics during this period and, in particular, the consequences of ‘provincialization’, which has received little attention within the existing literature. Rethinking space by redrawing administrative territory provided Ambedkar with one potential avenue through which to escape the strictures of Dalits’ minority status. In this vision, linguistic reorganization (and partition) were harbingers of greater democratization and potential palliatives to the threat of Hindu majority rule at the centre. In turn, however, Ambedkar simultaneously came to perceive the creation of these new administrative spaces as marking a new form of provincial majoritarianism, despite his best efforts to form alliances with those making such demands. In this sense, the article also seeks to address some of the shared processes behind linguistic reorganization and partition as two related forms of territorial redrawing. In the face of these demands, and the failures of both commensuration and coalition politics, Ambedkar turned to the idea of separate settlements for Dalits, whereby they might themselves come to constitute a majority. Whilst such a novel attempt at separation and resettlement was not ultimately realized, its emergence within Ambedkar's thought at this time points towards its significance in any history of caste and untouchability in twentieth-century South Asia.

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The phrase ‘Civis Indianus sum’, an adaptation of the infamous ‘civis romanus sum’, is taken from Ambedkar's Pakistan, or the partition of India (Bombay: Thacker and Company Limited, 1946), in Babasaheb Ambedkar writings and speeches [henceforth BAWS], vol. VIII, (ed.) V. Moon (New Delhi: Dr. Ambedkar Foundation, 2014 [1990]), p. 188. Elements of this article were presented at the ‘Re-centring the “pariah”’ workshop at the University of Leeds in June 2017. The author is appreciative of the audience's observations on that paper, as well as the critical recommendations offered by the two anonymous readers of this article.

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1 Ambedkar, B. R., Maharashtra as a linguistic province: statement submitted to the Linguistic Provinces Commission (Bombay: Thacker and Company Limited, 1948), in BAWS, vol. I, (ed.) V. Moon (2014 [1979]), pp. 99–128.

2 To avoid confusion throughout this article, I shall refer to subnational units of administration within both colonial and post-colonial India as ‘provinces’, despite the fact that the nomenclature was changed to ‘states’ under the Indian Constitution of 1950. Where I have quoted directly from other works that use these phrases, I have retained the terminology used in the original.

3 Dalit, literally meaning ‘ground down’ or ‘broken to pieces’, is used as the preferred designation for India's former ‘untouchable’ community, who are also known, in the parlance of the late-colonial and post-colonial state, as ‘Scheduled Castes’. I generally use Dalit as the preferred term throughout this article, but retain the original terms used in direct quotations.

4 See, for example, Zelliot, E., Ambedkar's world: the making of Babasaheb and the Dalit movement (New Delhi: Navayana Publishing, 2013 [1969]); Omvedt, G., Dalits and the democratic revolution: Dr. Ambedkar and the Dalit movement in colonial India (New Delhi: Sage, 1994); Jaffrelot, C., Dr Ambedkar and untouchability: analysing and fighting caste (New Delhi: Permanent Black, 2005); Rao, A., The caste question: Dalits and the politics of modern India (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2009), Chapter Three; Kumar, A., Radical equality: Ambedkar, Gandhi, and the risk of democracy (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2015).

5 L. Tillin, ‘Caste, territory and federalism’, Seminar, vol. 633, May 2012; see also Tillin, L., Remapping India: new states and their political origins (London: Hurst, 2013), pp. 2123, 44–45.

6 Pai, S. and Kumar, A., Revisiting 1956: B. R. Ambedkar and states reorganisation (Hyderabad: Orient Blackswan, 2014), p. 79; see also pp. 36–39, 60–61, 78–81, 84–85.

7 For example, see Pai and Kumar's book description: ‘And now, as new states are being formed, Ambedkar's works find renewed relevance … Ambedkar showed remarkable vision that administrators can learn from. In laying criteria for reorganisation of states … he has already addressed concerns that the contemporary common man now asks.’ ‘Revisiting 1956: B. R. Ambedkar and states reorganisation’, available at http://www.orientblackswan.com/BookDescription?isbn=978-81-250-5514-3&t=e [accessed 15 March 2018].

8 Gallagher, J., Johnson, G., and Seal, A. (eds), Locality, province, and nation: essays on Indian politics, 1870 to 1940 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973); Johnson, G., Provincial politics and Indian nationalism: Bombay and the Indian National Congress, 1880 to 1915 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973); Baker, C. J., The politics of South India, 1920–1937 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976); Washbrook, D. A., The emergence of provincial politics: the Madras Presidency, 1870–1920 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976).

9 Raychaudhuri, T., ‘Indian nationalism as animal politics’, The Historical Journal, vol. 22, no. 3, 1979, pp. 747763.

10 Bandyopadhyay, S., ‘From alienation to integration: changes in the politics of caste in Bengal, 1937–47’, Indian Economic and Social History Review [henceforth IESHR], vol. 31, no. 3, 1994, pp. 349391; Bandyopadhyay, S., Caste, protest and identity in colonial India: the Namasudras of Bengal, 1872–1947 (London: Curzon Press, 1997); Bandyopadhyay, S., ‘Transfer of power and the crisis of Dalit politics in India’, Modern Asian Studies [henceforth MAS], vol. 34, no. 4, 2000, pp. 893942; Sen, D., ‘Caste politics and partition in South Asian history’, History Compass, vol. 10, no. 7, 2012, pp. 512522; Sen, D., ‘“No matter how, Jogendranath had to be defeated”: the Scheduled Castes Federation and the making of partition in Bengal, 1945–1947’, IESHR, vol. 49, no. 3, 2012, pp. 321364.

11 Pai and Kumar, Revisiting 1956, pp. 39–42.

12 Bharadwaj, V., ‘Ambedkar's paradox of differentiation: language, nation and recognition of states in post-colonial India’, IESHR, vol. 52, no. 1, 2015, pp. 79108 (particularly pp. 93, 98).

13 Bose, N., ‘Purba Pakistan zindabad: Bengali visions of Pakistan, 1940–1947’, MAS, vol. 48, no. 1, 2014, p. 8.

14 Rawat, R. S., ‘Occupation, dignity, and space: the rise of Dalit studies’, History Compass, vol. 11, no. 12, 2013, pp. 10591067 (pp. 1063–1065).

15 Cháirez-Garza, J. F., ‘Touching space: Ambedkar on the spatial features of untouchability’, Contemporary South Asia, vol. 22, no. 1, 2014, pp. 3750; Viswanath, R., The Pariah problem: caste, religion and the social in modern India (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2014), p. 31; Guru, G., ‘The Indian nation in its egalitarian conception’, in Rawat, R. S. and Satyanarayana, K. (eds), Dalit Studies(Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2016), pp. 3149; Rawat, ‘Occupation, dignity, and space’, pp. 1064–1065; see also, R. S. Rawat and K. Satyanarayana, ‘Introduction: Dalit Studies: new perspectives on Indian history and society’, in Dalit Studies, pp. 1–30 (p. 19); R. K. Hans, ‘Making sense of Dalit Sikh history’, in Dalit Studies, pp. 131–151 (p. 145).

16 Viswanath, The Pariah problem, p. 16.

17 Rawat, ‘Occupation, dignity, and space’, pp. 1059–1060.

18 Ambedkar, Pakistan, or the partition of India, Chapter IX. For more on these comparisons, see the conclusion to this article.

19 Diner, D., ‘Between empire and nation state: outline for a European contemporary history of the Jews, 1750–1950’, in Bartov, O. and Weitz, E. D. (eds), Shatterzone of empires: ethnicity, identity, and violence in the German, Habsburg, Russian, and Ottoman borderlands (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2013), pp. 6179 (p. 67); cf. Brubaker, R., ‘Aftermath of empire and the unmixing of peoples: historical and comparative perspectives’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, vol. 18, no. 2, 1995, pp. 189218.

20 Diner, ‘Between empire and nation state’, p. 68.

21 Zahra, T., Kidnapped souls: national indifference and the battle for children in the Bohemian lands (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2008), p. 110.

22 Wingfield, N. M., Flag wars and stone saints: how the Bohemian lands became Czech (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007); Glassheim, E., ‘National mythologies and ethnic cleansing: the expulsion of Czechoslovak Germans in 1945’, Central European History, vol. 33, no. 4, 2000, pp. 463475.

23 Miller, D., ‘Colonizing the German and Hungarian border areas during the Czechoslovak land reform, 1918–1938’, Austrian History Yearbook, vol. 34, 2003, pp. 303319.

24 Zahra, Kidnapped souls, pp. 112–115.

25 For a more complete overview of this literature, see Sen, ‘Caste politics and partition’.

26 Bandyopadhyay, Caste, protest and identity, p. 173.

27 Bandyopadhyay, ‘Transfer of power’, p. 895; see also Bandyopadhyay, ‘From alienation to integration’, pp. 373–374; Bandyopadhyay, Caste, protest and identity, pp. 203–204.

28 The Poona Pact established a two-tiered electoral arrangement, with Scheduled Caste constituents voting for Scheduled Caste candidates in a primary election. The four Scheduled Caste candidates that received the most votes then went forwards into a second election involving the entire ‘general’ (i.e. Hindu) constituency, including Scheduled Caste voters, who voted for their favoured Scheduled Caste candidate out of the four remaining nominees. The vexed relations between M. K. Gandhi and Ambedkar that led to the pact, including Gandhi's ‘fast unto death’, have been described in detail numerous times elsewhere, and hence are not examined here.

29 Sen, ‘“No matter how”’, pp. 327–335; Rawat, R. S., ‘Making claims for power: a new agenda in Dalit politics of Uttar Pradesh, 1946–48’, MAS, vol. 37, no. 3, 2003, pp. 585612.

30 Mumbai, Maharashtra State Archives [henceforth MSA], Government of Bombay [henceforth GOB], Reforms Office File 249, ‘Reforms Office Note on Dr. Ambedkar's Scheme of Constituencies for the Scheduled Castes’, n.d. [circa May 1934].

31 Ibid., B. R. Ambedkar, ‘A scheme for the assignment of seats reserved for the Scheduled Classes by the Poona Pact to the constituencies to be formed under the new Constitution’, 2 May 1934.

32 Bandyopadhyay, Caste, protest and identity, pp. 65, 70; C. Jangam, ‘Dilemmas of Dalit agendas: political subjugation and self-emancipation in Telugu country, 1910–50’, in Dalit Studies, pp. 104–130 (p. 116); Rawat, R. S., Reconsidering untouchability: Chamars and Dalit history in North India (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2011), pp. 160161, 173–174; Sen, D., ‘Representation, education and agrarian reform: Jogendranath Mandal and the nature of Scheduled Caste politics, 1937–1943’, MAS, vol. 48, no. 1, 2014, pp. 77119 (p. 113); Rawat, ‘Making claims for power’, pp. 596, 600–601; Sen, ‘“No matter how”’, pp. 336–337.

33 Rao, The caste question, pp. 134–135.

34 For more on these different conceptions of democracy in late-colonial and early post-colonial India, see Godsmark, O., Citizenship, community and democracy in India: from Bombay to Maharashtra, c. 1930–1960 (London: Routledge, 2018); Sherman, T., Muslim belonging in secular India: negotiating citizenship in postcolonial Hyderabad (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015).

35 Newbigin, E., The Hindu family and the emergence of modern India: law, citizenship and community (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), pp. 89; see also Sinha, M., Specters of Mother India: the global restructuring of an empire (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006), p. 14; Tejani, S., Indian secularism: a social and intellectual history, 1890–1950 (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press), Chapters Five and Six; Rao, The caste question, p. 132.

36 Devji, F., Muslim Zion: Pakistan as a political idea (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013), p. 170.

37 Ibid., p. 175.

38 Sen, ‘“No matter how”’, p. 353; for more on how partition was considered to work in favour of caste Hindus, see Chatterji, J., Bengal divided: Hindu communalism and partition, 1932–47 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994).

39 Omvedt, G., Dalit visions: tracts for the Times/8 (Hyderabad: Orient Longman, 1995), Chapter Six; Omvedt, Dalits and the democratic revolution, Chapter Six.

40 MSA, GOB, Home (Special) Department File 800(40) 4-A, IV B. Pt. I.

41 Omvedt, G., Cultural revolt in a colonial society: the non-Brahman movement in western India, 1873 to 1930 (Bombay: Scientific Socialist Education Trust, 1976); O'Hanlon, R., Caste, conflict and ideology: Mahatma Jotirao Phule and low caste protest in nineteenth-century western India (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002 [1985]).

42 London, British Library, India Office Records, V/26/313/2 (1876), ‘Deccan Riots Commission, Appendix A: Papers relating to the indebtedness of the agricultural classes in Bombay and other parts of India’.

43 Kumar, R., Western India in the nineteenth century: a study in the social history of Maharashtra (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1968), p. 34; see also Hardiman, D., Feeding the baniya: peasants and usurers in western India (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1996).

44 For a more detailed explanation of the reasons behind non-Brahman integration into the Congress in interwar western India, see Godsmark, Citizenship, community and democracy, Chapters Two and Four.

45 MSA, GOB, Revenue Department File 7437/33-I, ‘Khoti system: bill by Dr. Ambedkar for abolition of…’, n.d. [1937].

46 Report of the Peasant Enquiry Committee of the Maharashtra Provincial Congress Committee (Poona: Maharashtra Provincial Congress Committee, 1936), pp. 5560.

47 MSA, GOB, Home (Special) Department File 927-A, ‘Full translation of the speech made by Dr. Ambedkar at Islampur, District Satara, as reported by the Bharat Mata’, 27 April 1938.

48 Ibid., File 927-A/I, ‘Extracts from Vividh Vritta and Nava Kal’, 10 January 1939.

49 New Delhi, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library [henceforth NMML], K. M. Munshi Papers, Roll 31, File 47 (1939), ‘C. C. Shah (Gujarati President of Praja Mandal), Baroda Disturbances Enquiry’, 20 August 1939.

50 Ibid., File 49 (1939), ‘Causes which led to incidents of 20th, 21st and 22nd January 1939 (Statement submitted by Commissioner of Police, Major Acquino)’; ibid., Roll 30, File 47 (1939), ‘In the Court of Judicial Inquiry, Vallabhbhai Disturbance Committee: Application. The loyalists of Baroda’, 16 April 1939.

51 MSA, GOB, Home (Special) Department File 927-A/I, ‘Extract from the weekly confidential report of the District Magistrate, Kolaba’, 11 February 1939.

52 Singh, P., How solidarity works for welfare: subnationalism and social development in India (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), p. 5.

53 Ibid., pp. 6–7.

54 Ambedkar, B. R., ‘Report on the Constitution of the Government of Bombay Presidency’, 1928, in BAWS, vol. II, Moon, V. (ed.), 2014 [1982], p. 366.

56 Ibid., p. 367.

57 Ambedkar, Maharashtra as a linguistic province, pp. 102–103.

58 Ibid., p. 104.

59 Ibid., p. 124.

60 Ibid., p. 101.

61 Ambedkar, Pakistan, or the partition of India, p. 42.

62 Ibid., p. 110, underlined emphasis in original.

63 Ibid., p. 119.

64 Ibid., p. 121.

65 Bandyopadhyay, ‘Transfer of power’, p. 936.

66 Ambedkar, Maharashtra as a linguistic province, p. 120.

67 Ambedkar, ‘Report on the Constitution’, p. 318; see also Ansari, S., ‘Political legacies of pre-1947 Sind’, in Low, D. A. (ed.), The political inheritance of Pakistan (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 1991), pp. 173193.

68 Hasan, M., ‘The Delhi proposals: a study in communal politics’, IESHR, vol. 17, no. 4, 1980, pp. 381396.

69 Ambedkar, ‘Report on the Constitution’, p. 319.

70 Ibid., pp. 320–321; see also Ambedkar, Pakistan, or the partition of India, pp. 109–110, 122–123.

71 Ambedkar, Pakistan, or the partition of India, p. 362.

72 Ibid., pp. 358, 359.

73 Chatterjee, P., ‘Partition and the mysterious disappearance of caste in Bengal’, in Chandra, U., Heierstad, G., and Neilsen, K. B. (eds), The politics of caste in West Bengal (London: Routledge, 2016), pp. 83102 (pp. 85, 90, 91).

74 South Asian American Digital Archive, ‘B. R. Ambedkar to W. E. B. Du Bois’, n.d. [July 1946]; and ‘Du Bois to Ambedkar’, 31 July 1946, http://www.saada.org/search/ambedkar [accessed 12 July 2019]; cf. S. D. Kapoor, ‘B. R. Ambedkar, W. E. B. Du Bois and the process of liberation’, EPW, vol. 38, no. 51–52, 2003, pp. 5344–5349; D. Immerwahr, ‘Caste or colony? Indianizing race in the United States’, Modern Intellectual History, vol. 4, no. 2, 2007, pp. 275–301.

75 ‘Ambedkar finds champion in Churchill’, The Bombay Chronicle (Bombay), 31 May 1946, in BAWS, vol. XVII, part II, H. Narake, M. L. Kasare, N. G. Kamble, and A. Godghate (eds) (2014 [2003]), p. 210.

76 Ambedkar, ‘Resolution regarding aims and objectives’, Constituent Assembly Debates, 15 December 1946, in BAWS, vol. XIII, V. Moon (ed.) (2014 [1994]), p. 9.

77 Zelliot, Ambedkar's world, pp. 190–191; Zelliot, E., ‘Congress and the untouchables, 1917–1950’, in Sisson, R. and Wolpert, S. (eds), Congress and Indian nationalism: the pre-independence phase (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1988), pp. 182197 (p. 193); Bandyopadhyay, ‘Transfer of power’, pp. 934–936; Cháirez-Garza, J. F., ‘“Bound hand and foot and handed over to the caste Hindus”: Ambedkar, untouchability, and the politics of partition’, IESHR, vol. 55, no. 1, 2018, pp. 128 (pp. 24–26); Rawat, Reconsidering untouchability, p. 179.

78 Quoted in Keer, D., Dr Ambedkar: life and mission (Bombay: Popular Prakashan, 1981), p. 399; see also Bandyopadhyay, S., Caste, culture and hegemony: social dominance in colonial Bengal (New Delhi: Sage, 2004), pp. 236237.

79 S. Bandyopadhyay and A. B. R. Chaudhury, ‘Partition, displacement, and the decline of the Scheduled Caste movement in West Bengal’, in The politics of caste in West Bengal, pp. 60–82 (pp. 63–68).

80 Ambedkar, ‘Report on the Constitution’, pp. 316–317.

81 B. R. Ambedkar (Bombay City), ‘Resolution re: creation of a separate Karnatak province’, 4 April 1938, Bombay Legislative Assembly [henceforth BLA] debates, vol. III, part 18–34, March–April 1938, p. 1722.

83 B. R. Ambedkar, ‘Need for checks and balances’, Times of India, 23 April 1953, in BAWS, vol. I, p. 134; see also Ambedkar, B. R., ‘Andhra State Bill, 1953’, 2 September 1953, in BAWS, vol. XV, Moon, V. (ed.), 2014 [1997], p. 856.

84 Ambedkar, B. R., Thoughts on linguistic states (Delhi: Anand Sahitya Sadan, 1955), in BAWS, vol. I, p. 167.

85 Ibid., p. 168.

86 MSA, GOB, Home (Special) Department File 355/64 III, ‘Extract from the confidential diary of the District Superintendent of Police, Ratnagiri’, 23 June 1928. Quoted in Godsmark, Citizenship, community and democracy, p. 42.

87 Ibid., Reforms Department File 172, ‘Collector, Ahmadnagar’, 10 October 1932. Quoted in Godsmark, Citizenship, community and democracy, p. 45.

88 Ambedkar, Thoughts on linguistic states, p. 168.

90 Ambedkar, ‘Need for checks and balances’, p. 134.

91 Ambedkar, ‘Report on the Constitution’, p. 317.

92 Ambedkar, ‘Resolution re: creation of a separate Karnatak province’, p. 1723.

93 Ambedkar, Pakistan, or the partition of India, pp. 187–188, 194, 339, 341.

94 Bandyopadhyay, ‘Transfer of power’, p. 937.

95 Ambedkar, Thoughts on linguistic states, p. 146.

96 Ambedkar, Pakistan, or the partition of India, pp. 99, 111, 117–120, 125–126.

97 Ibid., p. 359.

98 Ambedkar, Maharashtra as a linguistic province, p. 103.

99 Ambedkar, Thoughts on linguistic states, p. 146.

100 Rao, The caste question, p. 185.

101 Ambedkar, Maharashtra as a linguistic province, p. 102.

102 Ambedkar, Thoughts on linguistic states, p. 145; see also Maharashtra as a linguistic province, pp. 104–105.

103 K. G. Gokhale (Belgaum South), ‘Resolution re: creation of a separate Karnatak province’, BLA debates, p. 1726.

104 Ibid., p. 1728.

105 Rao, The caste question, p. 159, emphasis in original; see also pp. 148–149.

106 AISCF, ‘Memorandum Submitted by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar to the Cabinet Mission’, 5 April 1946, in BAWS, vol. XVII, part II, p. 176.

107 Ibid., p. 177.

108 Ambedkar, B. R., The untouchables: who were they and why they became untouchables? (New Delhi: Amrit Book Company, 1948), in BAWS, vol. VII, V. Moon (ed.) (2014 [1989]), pp. 275, 276.

109 Ibid., p. 276.

110 Ibid., p. 285.

111 Ibid., p. 266.

112 Rawat, Reconsidering untouchability, p. 171.

113 Butalia, U., The other side of silence: voices from the partition of India (New Delhi: Viking, 1998), pp. 238241.

114 Bandyopadhyay, ‘From alienation to integration’, pp. 380–381.

115 Viswanath, The Pariah problem, Chapter Six.

116 Zelliot, Ambedkar's world, pp. 187, 255.

117 Bombay Depressed Classes and Aboriginal Tribes Committee, Report of the Depressed Classes and Aboriginal Tribes Committee, Bombay Presidency (Bombay: Government Central Press, 1930), p. 42.

118 Rawat, Reconsidering untouchability, p. 5.

119 ‘Memorandum Submitted by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar to the Cabinet Mission’, p. 177.

120 Ambedkar, B. R., ‘Untouchables or the children of India's ghetto’ (unpublished manuscript), in BAWS, vol. V, Moon, V. (ed.) (2014 [1989]), p. 26.

121 B. R. Ambedkar, ‘Held at bay’, in ibid., p. 265.

122 Ambedkar, B. R., ‘We are a separate element in the national life’, in BAWS, vol. XVII, part I, Narake, H., Kasare, M. L., Kamble, N. G., and Godghate, A. (eds) (2014 [2003]), p. 350.

123 Ibid.

124 Ambedkar, B. R., ‘Mr. Gandhi and the emancipation of the untouchables’, in BAWS, vol. IX, Moon, V. (ed.) (2014 [1991]), p. 422.

125 B. R. Ambedkar, ‘Scheduled castes settlement be made at par with Bantus’, Times of India (Bombay), 23 April 1946, in BAWS, vol. XVII, part I, p. 351.

126 ‘Memorandum submitted by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar to the Cabinet Mission’, pp. 178–179.

127 Butalia, The other side of silence, pp. 227–228; Kaur, R., Since 1947: partition narratives among Punjabi migrants of Delhi (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2007).

128 Chatterji, J., ‘Dispersal and the failure of rehabilitation: refugee camp-dwellers and squatters in West Bengal’, MAS, vol. 41, no. 5, 2007, pp. 9551032; Sen, U., ‘The myths refugees live by: memory and history in the making of Bengali refugee identity’, MAS, vol. 48, no. 1, 2014, pp. 3776 (pp. 69–72); Bandyopadhyay and Chaudhury, ‘Partition, displacement, and the decline’, pp. 68–69.

129 Bandyopadhyay and Chaudhury, ‘Partition, displacement, and the decline’, pp. 69–75.

130 Chatterji, J., The spoils of partition: Bengal and India, 1947–1967 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), p. 123.

131 Ibid., pp. 124–126.

132 Ibid., p. 127.

133 More research into the question of migration, resettlement, and voting patterns amongst Dalits in post-colonial India is required, particularly in the context of increasing Dalit migration from India's villages to urban and semi-urban settings after independence. Whilst this ultimately goes beyond the remit of this article, explorations of this nature certainly provide potentially profitable avenues for future scholarship.

134 P. Sinharay, ‘Building up the Harichand-Guruchand movement: the politics of the Matua Mahasangha’, in The politics of caste in West Bengal, pp. 147–168 (p. 161); cf. Bandyopadhyay and Chaudhury, ‘Partition, displacement, and the decline’, pp. 75–79.

135 Sinharay, ‘Building up the Harichard-Guruchand movement’, p. 163.

136 Ambedkar, Pakistan, or the partition of India, pp. 114–115.

137 Ibid., p. 382.

138 Ibid., pp. 380, 382.

139 Ibid., p. 384.

140 Ibid., p. 379.

141 ‘Election manifesto of the AISCF, by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar’, n.d., in BAWS, vol. XVII, part II, pp. 393–394.

142 Ambedkar, Maharashtra as a linguistic province, pp. 109–110.

143 Ambedkar, Thoughts on linguistic states, p. 146.

144 Ibid., p. 161.

145 Ibid., p. 165.

146 Ibid., pp. 157–158.

147 Rao, The caste question, pp. 68–69; Cháirez-Garza, ‘Touching space’.

148 Zelliot, Ambedkar's world, pp. 208–209; Rawat, Reconsidering untouchability, p. 182.

149 Ambedkar, ‘Scheduled castes settlement be made at par with Bantus’, p. 351.

150 On the further interactions between South Africa and India at the United Nations in the context of the post-colonial transition, as well as their implications upon Dalit politics, see Cháirez-Garza, ‘Bound hand and foot’, pp 20–22.

151 Cháirez-Garza, ‘Bound hand and foot’, p. 14.

152 Ambedkar, Pakistan, or the partition of India, p. 115.

153 Ibid., p. 205.

154 Mann, M., ‘The dark side of democracy: the modern tradition of ethnic and political cleansing’, New Left Review, vol. 235, 1999, pp. 1845 (p. 33).

155 Ibid., p. 44.

The phrase ‘Civis Indianus sum’, an adaptation of the infamous ‘civis romanus sum’, is taken from Ambedkar's Pakistan, or the partition of India (Bombay: Thacker and Company Limited, 1946), in Babasaheb Ambedkar writings and speeches [henceforth BAWS], vol. VIII, (ed.) V. Moon (New Delhi: Dr. Ambedkar Foundation, 2014 [1990]), p. 188. Elements of this article were presented at the ‘Re-centring the “pariah”’ workshop at the University of Leeds in June 2017. The author is appreciative of the audience's observations on that paper, as well as the critical recommendations offered by the two anonymous readers of this article.

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