The voice of Neo-Buddhist young generation: Buddhism as a part of strategies of resistance against Brahmanism and Indian nationalism



Year of publication 2019
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description Since the first mass conversion of Dalits to Buddhism on 14 October 1956 in Nagpur, the Dalit Buddhist movement has been growing and forming diverse activists group across the state of Maharashtra. My research focuses on a today’s young generation of Dalit Neo-Buddhists, university students in Mumbai and surrounding areas, and on the communication strategies of their struggle against ascribed caste identity and social status to the major society. I analyze the role of Buddhism in Neo-Buddhist communication, their mobilisation strategies, and point to the importance of media such as music, documentaries, and theatre containing Buddhist themes through which they send a message of socio-political protest. I refer to the Navayana Buddhism as a product of cultural representation of socio-political activism grounded in the works of B. R. Ambedkar. Such activism challenges power relations in Indian society and forms resistance against the ideology of Brahmanism and Hindutva. I argue, that Neo-Buddhist strategies are creating a large amount of cultural material which amplifies the voice of Dalits in society and it is also a part of counter-culture based on a critique of national tendencies and social behaviour.
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