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Beef as Anti-Caste Utopia


· Kristina Garalyte Institute of Asian and Transcultural Studies at Vilnius University (Vilnius, Lithuania)


07/28 | 11:40-12:00 UTC+2/CEST


A contentious and highly sensitive topic with regard to the Hindu culture, beef has also been central issue in the debates about the subordination and liberation of former-untouchables. This paper traces the historical evolution and contemporary representation of beef as a symbol of the anti-caste Utopia starting with B. R. Ambedkar and culminating with the ideas of Kancha Ilaiah and the recent beef festival initiatives by the Dalit-Bahujan students on Hyderabad university campuses. The paper will discuss the semantics of beef as constructed by different ideologues and actors of the Dalit-Bahujan movement. It will also seek to evaluate mobilizing potential of the symbol of beef and to highlight emerging challenges within and without the movement while employing beef as a symbol of Dalit-Bahujan emancipation.