Dr. Shashi Bhushan Singh

Consultant & Freelancer


Living together separately

Dalit predicament and the emergence of a new collectivity in a Rajasthan Village

Sociologically the problem can be stated as one of the mismatch between class and status. What happens when a low status social group becomes economically better off, but its social status continues to be low? This type of social process gives birth to a social collectivity where people share geographical space, but their social and cultural space is highly contested. The study throws light on the type of conflict as well as crisis that becomes part of everyday social life in an emerging social collectivity, having implications for the functioning of democratic institutions, implementation of development programmes, genesis of social conflict, ‘honour’ killings, and caste war, etc. In the village under study a section of dalit (scheduled castes) have become economically well off and politically powerful. There is an attempt by the dalits to raise their social status, but they encounter resistance from the upper castes. The result is that different caste groups live together, but in a ‘hostile’ social environment.

Keywords : dalits, social conflict, India, emerging society, democracy and development programmes