The two-day national seminar on Patterns of Dalits Social Mobility in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab,being organised by the Department of Political Science,Panjab University,kicked off on Friday. It was inaugurated by PU Vice-Chancellor Prof R C Sobti.
In his key note address,Prof P S Verma laid out the historical backdrop to the contemporary Dalit movement drawing examples from across the country.
In the first session,chaired by Prof Harish K Puri,Dalit Rights advocate,Chandra Bhan Prasad,presented findings from his study of Uttar Pradesh. His interestingly titled presentation,Sab kuch ulta ho gaya Sahib,showed how Dalit assertion in UP has dramatically changed social,political and economic relations in the last two decades.
Akshay Kumars finely nuanced study of Dalit poetry not only brought its changing tone and tenor but also the different variations with this genre. RGF Shyam Babus theoretical intervention focused on interrelated issues of Dalit mobility,identity and integration.
In the second session,Jagpal Singh of IGNOU noted that despite the popular notions that ideology is dead,ideology is still relevant. The Dalit movement has always been influenced by some ideology and therefore the ideological positions have been considered for a through understanding of contemporary Dalit politics,he maintained.
Darshan Tatla,while comparing social mobility of Dalits in Punjab and UP pointed out that the role of the Dalit diaspora should not be ignored.
In the final session which focused on religion and social mobility,Prof Raj K Hans of MSU,Baroda and Dr Kuldip Singh of GNDU focused the relationship between Sikh religion and Dalits in Punjab. All panels were followed by intense discussion session.
The seminar is being attended by scholars,intellectuals and activists who have been engaged with the issue of Dalit politics. Students,researchers and teachers from the university and many colleges in Punjab are also attending the seminar.