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Can We Shift from Dalit to Bahujan?: Some Considerations



Can We Shift from Dalit to Bahujan?: Some Considerations

Jyoti Biswas

Ph.D. Research Scholar

Department of English Studies

Central University of Jharkhand

Ranchi, Jharkhand, India


Despite having wider use of ‘Dalit’ in academic and political discourse, including its entry in Wikipedia, this nomenclature has historically been applied for those castes that were regarded as Untouchables in Brahminical culture. Given the fact that, like Untouchable, Dalit is also an attribution upon a large number of people, its application for majority of marginalized people is quite objectionable. Can Dalit be applied to many tribal communities? Do Other Backward Classes acknowledge Dalit identity for them? These questions not only serve as indicators of the limitations of a presumed generalized usage of the word, but also lead us to search for another alternative nomenclature with more inclusive and holistic features to accommodate those people who are not only majority in population, but also socially and culturally marginalized. In this respect, the present paper evaluates the characteristics of the word ‘Bahujan’ and tries to provide a theoretical outline of Bahujan Literature. It is followed by a systematic review of Dalit and Dalit Literature and its theoretical establishment, and proposes the replacement of Dalit with Bahujan in academic discourse in colleges and universities. To widen the social and cultural vision, the replacement of Dalit with Bahujan and the subsequent theorization of the latter have been considered to be a new discursive practice among scholars of Bahujan society at large. 

Keywords: Dalit; Dalit Literature; Bahujan; Bahujan Literature; Identity; Discursive practice

In cognitive sense, Bahujan literature is a vast domain of literary works including all literary genres by Bahujans. Whether used in singular or plural sense, the word Bahujan not only in Romanized spelling, but also in almost all Indian vernaculars initially suggests Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), an Indian political party primarily active in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Founded in the year 1984 by a great Indian politician Kanshi Ram (1936-2006), BSP has been able to secure the trust of Scheduled Caste (Untouchables in pre-Constitution era) population in Uttar Pradesh in particular. Therefore it is quite usual that anyone, just by hearing the word Bahujan will think that it implies BSP. But the paper attempts to belie this popular perception by claiming that both in its literal and literary implications, the noun Bahujan not only surpasses the mere political connotation, but makes any sort of political stereotype look cliché and insignificant. On the other hand, the paper focuses on in what sense Bahujan is more inclusive nomenclature rather than some other popular one, such as Dalit or Tribal or Sudra. If literature is the reflection of entire society and its life style, Bahujan Literature can be understood as an umbrella term to not only accommodate the cultural aspects of Scheduled Caste communities, but also of many others, such as Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, religious minorities, women, transgendered people, nomadic groups, unidentified tribes and castes as well as those who have been the victims of any sort of oppressive systems, whether Brahminism or Capitalism or Brahminical Socialism1 especially in Indian context.

            The word ‘Bahujan’ or ‘Bahujana’ has been recorded in both Sanskrit and Pali dictionaries. In The Practical Sanskrit-English Dictionary (1890) originally prepared by Vaman Shivram Apte (1858-1892), an Indian lexicographer and Sanskrit scholar, Sanskrit ‘Bahu’ means “much, plentiful, abundant, great” as well as “Many, numerous.” The compound word ‘Bahu-jan’ or ‘Bahu-jana’ means “a great multitude of people” (1158). The Pali Text Society’s Pali-English Dictionary (1921-25) prepared by T. W. William Rhys Davids gives the following account of Bahujan. Bahu (adj.) means “much, many, large, abundant, plenty. There were many compound words such as Bahujana, Bahukara. Bahujana means “a mass of people, a great multitude, a crowd, a great many people” (538). Dr. Ambedkar prepared a Pali-English Dictionary (1998) which has been placed in volume 16 of BAWS.2 In this dictionary Bahujan   means “most people, the multitude, the world” (68). The range of meanings as examined literally suggests that Bahujan originally refers to that body of people in Indian society who are majority not only by mere demographic statistics, but also by output of works, of productive contributions in almost all fields of social life, but not properly been recognized in Brahmin-ruled Indian culture. For example, Indian students read a vivid and to a great extent hyperbolic description of   Manikarnika Tambe better known as Rani of Jhanshi (1828-1858) in their history text books, but any account of Savitribai Phule (1831-1897) is quite missing. In the history of Indian religious reform in British period students read a passionate and nationalistic narrative of Rammohan Roy and Brahmo Samaj, Dayananda Saraswati and Arya Samaj, Swami Vivekananda and Ramakrishna Mission; but there is no single entry of Harichand Thakur (1812-1878) and his Matua movement3 that emerged among millions of Chandals and other marginalized communities in the vast swamp of erstwhile East Bengal right from 1840s and laid down the foundation of a distinct protestant religious identity called Matua. A close look at university syllabi of sociology, political science, history will expose that there is no writing of Ambedkar included and a close scrutiny of Bangla literature syllabus shows us that the literary outputs of writers and poets, like Raicharan Biswas (1874-1935), Oneil Ranjan Biswas (1916-2005) are simply unknown. With all this sort of institutionalized ignorance to contributions of Indians who have been categorized as Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes put together, it leads us to formulate a separate literary and cultural canon that can accommodate the entire oeuvre of cultural expressions of those communities that have been the victims of Brahminical oppressive system and other allied systems in India.  

            In social and political context the word Dalit has already been acknowledged as a fitted nomenclature to identify those Indians who are oppressed and marginalized. Dalit has its own etymological history as well. With Sanskrit root दल/दल् (Dala/ Dal) meaning burst, cause to burst, disperse, grind, crushed, shattered, pierced, breaking, crushing and shattering as Arthur Macdonell’s A Sanskrit-English Dictionary (1893) recorded (117), Sanskrit दलित (Dalit) is found its entry in V. S. Apte’s The practical Sanskrit-English Dictionary (1890) with the following meanings: 1. Broken, torn, ground; 2. opened, expanded; 3. bisected; 4. driven asunder, dispelled; 5. Trodden down, crushed, destroyed (804). In Marathi-English dictionary, Dalit is first used in T. J. Molesworth’s Marathi-English Dictionary first published in 1831, reprinted in 1975 (qtd. in Zelliot 267). The Aryabhushan School Dictionary: Marathi-English (1958) contains an entry of दलित (Dalit) with the meaning of ground, broken or reduced to pieces (278). It is to be noted that right from 1970s the word Dalit has gained a political significance in the historic Dalit Panther movement in Maharastra with protest and militancy as its preoccupation to fight the caste-based social and financial discrimination inflicted upon Scheduled Castes. The Manifesto of Dalit Panthers was published in Economic and Political Weekly on 14th August, 1973. On the same day, the first protest march was organized by activists, such as Raja Dhale, J. V. Power, Vithalrao Sathe, Bhai Sangmore, Machhindra Kamble and others. The slogans they uttered that day will help us understand the ideological set-up of their protest: 1. Dalit Panther Zindabad (Victory to the Dalit Panther); 2. Krantiba Phulyanche Vijay Aso (Victory to Phule, the father of revolution); 3. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkaranche Vijay Aso (Victory to Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar); 4. Dalitanchi Satta, Janatechi Satta (Power to Dalits is power to the people), among many others (Pawar 94).  Besides, the publication of Mandal Commission Report4 in 1980, rise of Kanshi Ram in 1980s and the foundation of BSP in 1984, V. P. Singh government’s recommendation of Commission’s report in 1990, Ambedkar Birth Centenary in 1991―all these social and political turning events paved the way for a consolidated, organized Dalit emergence from around 1990s in India.

Consequently, since 1990s public use of Dalit and Dalit literature has become quite an established canon in political and academic spheres. The scholar who has done first systematic research on Dalit and Dalit literature, especially of Maharastra from around 1970s is Eleanor Zelliot. Some of her early articles on the history of Dalit movement and Dalit writings in Maharastra are “Dalit Sahitya—The Historical Background” (1976); “Introduction to Dalit Poems” (1978); some useful entries in Encyclopaedia of Asian History such as “Untouchability”, “Dr. B. R. Ambedkar”, and  “Republican Party” (1988); “Dalit—New Perspectives on India’s Ex-Untouchables” (1991); and more inclusively “DALIT LITERATURE - TWENTY-FIVE YEARS OF PROTEST? OR PROGRESS?” (1994). Zelliot authored the first authentic book on Dalit and their political, social and cultural phenomena, From Untouchable to Dalit: Essays on Ambedkar Movement (1992). Publication of An Anthology of Dalit Literature: Poems in 1992, edited by Mulk Raj Anand and Eleanor Zelliot can be seen as the beginning of Dalit literary publications, formation of readership, academic research and conferences across Universities, and through English translation of vernacular Dalit writings, a global acknowledgement, not only of Dalit literature, but also of sufferings and oppressions of Dalit world in India. 1990s also witnessed the publications of many other English translations of Dalit vernacular writings, such as The Poisoned Bread (1992); Karukku (1992) and Sangati (1994) by Bama; Corpse in the Well: A Translation from Modern Marathi Dalit Autobiographies (1994) among others. All these pioneered the volume of writings, translations, publications, seminars and conferences, literary awards and government recognition, media attention, and more significantly UGC funding on Dalit Studies in different Indian universities. Oxford Indian Anthology of Malayalam Dalit Writing (2011), edited by M. Dasan and others; The Oxford India Anthology of Tamil Dalit Writing (2012), edited by Ravikumar and R. Azhagarasan; The Oxford India Anthology of Telugu Dalit Writing (2016), edited by K. Purushotham and others represent the rich heritage of Dalit writings of south India. Two more English anthologies have to be mentioned, No Alphabet in Sight (2011) and Steel Nibs Are Sprouting (2013), both of them edited by K. Satyanarayana and Sushi Tharu. The first one covers up new Dalit writings of Tamil and Malayalam, and the second of Kannada and Telugu. The following publications, such as Writing Caste, Writing Gender: Reading Dalit Women’s Testimonios (2006), The Exercise of Freedom: An Introduction to Dalit Writing (2013), Dalit Literatures in India (2016), Hindi Dalit Literature and Politics of Representation (2016) and many other seminal publications. Although begun late, Dalit writings in Bangla are also quite visible. Sotoborsher Bangla Dalit Sahitya (Hundred Years’ of Bangla Dalit Literature) published in 2011 and Dalit Poems, Songs and Dialogues from Bengal in English Translation (2019) are two landmark anthologies of rich Dalit writings of Bengal.

            But all these writings of almost all genres, such as autobiographies, poems, short stories, novels, plays, essays have predominantly been contributed by writers and intellectuals who belonged to previous Untouchables, now known as Scheduled Castes. It has predominantly been a Scheduled Caste literature without significant contribution of writers from OBC communities and from Tribal writers who very often feel at home with their ethnically distinct Tribal identity and culture: both oral and written. In other words, Dalit does not inclusively mean OBCs and Tribals, although some of the definitions of Dalit include almost all oppressed groups of people in India. The two noted books evaluating the definition, characteristics, historical and cultural backgrounds and more significantly aesthetic function of Dalit literature are Towards an Aesthetic of Dalit Literature: History, Controversies and Considerations (2004) by Marathi Dalit writer and critic Sharankumar Limbale and Dalit Literature and Criticism (2019) by Raj Kumar. Limbale’s definition of Dalit literature is the first such attempt to locate this body of writing and its writers within a chosen cultural boundary. He gives the following definition of Dalit literature: “By Dalit literature, I mean writing about Dalits by Dalit writers with a Dalit consciousness. The form of Dalit literature is inherent in its Dalitness, and its purpose is obvious: to infirm Dalit society of its slavery, and narrate its pain and suffering to upper caste Hindus” (19). Writing in 2019, Raj Kumar defines the term Dalit in the following way: “Broadly speaking, the word ‘Dalit’ is a political term which symbolizes the relatively new political identity of a group of people who were earlier known as ‘untouchables’” (1). Echoing this political self, he explains its inclusivity: “Thus the various meanings of the term clearly delineate all the characteristics of caste hierarchies which subjugate Dalits, women and lower castes to the utmost” (4). Between Limbale’s text published as Dalit Sahityache Saundaryashastra (1996) in original Marathi and Raj Kumar’s in 2019, many a noted literary critics, scholars and translators have defined the word Dalit. Lakshmi Holmström, the translator of Bama’s Karukku (1992) writes, “Who are Dalits? All those who are oppressed: all hill peoples, neo-Buddhists, labourers, destitute farmers, women, and all those who have been exploited politically, economically or in the name of the religion are Dalits” (Introduction xviii).  

Over the years this definition did not expand too much; rather the consistent overuse of   Dalit not only in literary and academic field, but also in politics, that too around the personality of Mayawati, the unanimous leader of BSP in Uttar Pradesh, has damaged its inclusivity. In other words, rather than becoming an identical nomenclature for all oppressed groups of people in India, Dalit gets narrowed and confined within the domain of anti-caste analysis with Brahminical caste system to be the only visible and cognitive enemy. But caste-based system and its discriminatory expansionism do not seem to be a preoccupation to thousands of Sudra castes who are now known as OBCs. The anti-caste protest and agitation in political and literary spheres has primarily been performed by Scheduled Castes; in other words, OBCs seem to have not worried about the Brahminical caste system and its discriminations as Scheduled Castes do. Anti-caste thoughts and activism also seem not to be a great internal matter to Tribal communities, the Santals, Kols, Bhils and others of West Bengal, Jhrakhand, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Orisha; Lepcha, Garo, Khasi and others in and around North-Eastern Himalayan hills; it does not appear to be a concern at all to the prostitutes of Sonagachhi in Kolkata, to thousands of nomadic groups who even today put their tent on footpath and in the outskirt of rail station; thousands of beggars, vagabonds and lunatics who live in and around railway track and rail station. In other words, if it is all about caste-centric critical discourse, many oppressed Indians do not relate it with themselves.

Now, if we turn our attention from Dalit to the concept of Bahujan, we come across seminal critical writings of Kancha Ilaiah, a celebrated social scientist and public intellectual who has been academically active since 1996, the year of publication of his seminal book Why I Am Not A Hindu: A Sudra Critique of Hindutva Philosophy, Culture and Political Economy (1996). He carefully studies the language, food, family and community rituals, man-woman relation, marriage system, professions and economic structure including private property system, religious beliefs and practices, myths and legends, social and political institutions of different castes categorized as Scheduled Castes and Other Backward Classes in The Constitution of India. In his study he uses the lived experiences of marginalized castes as his framework. He writes, “Narratives of personal experiences are the best contexts in which to compare and contrast these social forms... Indian Dalitbahujan thinkers like Mahatma Phule, Ambedkar and Periyar Ramasamy Naicker have also used this method. Instead of depending on Western methods, Phule, Ambedkar and Periyar spoke and wrote on [day-to-day] experiences of the Dalitbahujan castes” (Introduction xii). His Dalitbahujan castes narrate their lived experiences while living in their respective geographical, social and political contexts. And their lived experiences form the most authentic sources of deciphering their Bahujan identity in Hindu-dominated (if not Hindu society) society in India. His systematic study has brought forth a contradictory world between Dalitbahujan castes and what he calls “Hindu castes”, namely Brahmins, Baniyas, Kshatriyas and neo-Kshatriyas. To summarize Kancha Ilaiah’s theoretical framework in differentiating Dalitbahujan castes from Hindu castes, the following points can be furnished: 1. Gods and goddesses are different; 2. Family and caste-specific rituals are different; 3. Sports are different; 4. Food habit is different; 5. Caste language is different; 6. Man-woman relation is comparatively less conservative; 7. Sex is quite open; 8. Professions are varied and productive based on both physical and intellectual labor. Although his case study is restricted within the Dalitbahujan castes of Andhra Pradesh and Telengana, the framework of lived experiences as used here can be applied in the case of Bengal and other provinces as well. What is central in his theoretical discussion is:

The Dalitbahujans live together with the Hindus in the civil society of Indian villages and urban centres, but the two cultural worlds are not merely different, they are opposed to each other. Hindu thinking is set against the interests of Dalitbahujan cultural ethos. Dalitbahujan castes were never allowed to develop into modernity and equality. The violent, hegemonic, [Brahminical] culture sought to destroy Dalitbahujan productive structures, cultures, economy and its positive political institutions. (114)

            Kancha Ilaiah’s subsequent seminal books, such as Post-Hindu India: A Discourse on Dalit-Bahujan, Socio-Spiritual and Scientific Revolution (2009) and The Weapon of the Other: Dalitbahujan Writings and the Remaking of Indian Nationalist Thought (2010) continues using either ‘Dalit-Bahujan’ or ‘Dalitbahuhujan’ and puts a considerable weight in his 1996 polemic. A very interesting finding is the dedication page in The Weapon of the Other that perhaps enlarges the political, social and literary spectrum of how inclusive the concept of Bahujan in this present context is. The dedication page includes within its vast horizon Dalits, Adivasis, women, laborers, neglected freedom fighters, unknown workers and farmers and others who have been neglected in Brahminical annals. Kancha Ilaiah as it is quite evidential, does not just confine the study within caste-centric discourse to identify the oppressed. In other words, it is a noble intellectual attempt to revise the history of oppressed groups of people in India and bring them within a wider social category. But Ilaiah reminds us that the history of those marginalized sections is not simply full of oppressive narratives. Rather, their respective rituals, oral tradition as well as local legends and myths are as glorious as others.

            Although Kancha Ilaiah uses ‘Dalitbahujan’ to incorporate those castes which have been historically marginalized in Hindu-dominated society with the ideology of Brahminism, a group of writers and activists associated with FORWARD Press, New Delhi have revised the term ‘Dalit’, ‘OBC’, ‘Adivasi or Tribal’, ‘Ati-Sudra’ and ‘Sudra’, and proposed to replace them  with ‘Bahujan.’ The Case for Bahujan Literature (2016), edited by Ivan Kostka and Pramod Ranjan is a path-breaking collection of some important literary essays by various experts, that thoroughly examines social and political implications of ‘Bahujan’ which according to them, is an umbrella term to include not only those castes who were untouchables and those castes who were tagged as Sudras, but also to include all tribes who have historically been marginalized within their forests and hills without having fundamental rights including rights to forest and land. In his essay “One big umbrella term”, Pramod Ranjan discusses how the germination of the inclusive term ‘Bahujan’ has been borne in the editorial department of FORWARD Press around 2011 and after. His concern is that Dalit exclusively refers to those castes which have been left outside the four-fold structure of Hindu society and made untouchables that later on categorized as Scheduled Castes; whereas OBC refers to those castes which have been categorized as Sudras in the Hindu society. But Tribal identity of hundreds of indigenous tribes in the forests of Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Odissa and other forest and hills remain untouched by using both Dalit and OBC (10-11). But Bahujan is an inclusive designation for those castes in India that despite being majority in population have been marginalized by Brahminical caste system and Hindu religion; for those tribes that have been marginalized and exploited in the gradual process of deforestation and displacement from their native place; for those religious minorities (Pasmanda Muslims); for those Dalits who got converted to Buddhism, Christianity and Islam; and for those groups of people who have been socially and economically exploited in India. For a better explanation, “The similarity between Atishudras, Shudras, Tribals and women is that they all were victims of the [Brahminical] system and they all struggled against it. This similarity, in Indian context, places their literature in the category of Bahujan literature” (Ranjan 11). Some important essays in The Case for Bahujan Literature offer us with insightful commentaries on the justification of the use of Bahujan, in the place of Dalit or OBC. Ashwini Kumar Pankaj in his essay “Literature of the most oppressed” raises the concern that “The difference between Dalits-OBCs and Tribals is not merely geographical, but cultural and political. Without reflecting on this, any conception of Bahujan literature or Bahujan politics will remain incomplete” (87). Kanwal Bharti in his easy “Bahujan Literature and Adivasi” observes that “the Adivasi intellectuals failed to realize that more than the British government it was feudalism and Brahminism that was responsible for their social and economic backwardness” (88).  Devendra Chaubey in his essay “Will only caste be the basis of ‘Bahujan” proposes the concept of Bahujan literature can emerge as one inclusive literary branch as well as for similar cultural, social and political identity formation; but he interrogates whether caste-based identification is the only criteria for categorizing someone as Bahujan and someone as non-Bahujan (103). Amrendra Kumar Sharma in his essay “Bahujan literature: Some notes” puts some methodological notes, such as this type of literature should be judged based on its literary output, and not based on the caste of writers. He gives a precaution that Bahujan literature should not be trapped in an impasse of caste issue only (106-07). As an invited guest speaker on the sixth anniversary of FORWARD Press on 29th April, 2015, Arundhati Roy, the Booker Prize winning author perhaps gives a broad methodological and ideological shape of what can emerge as Bahujan Literature and based on it a Bahujan social identity. Roy speaks:

I believe [in] the idea of a literature, of a Bahujan literature, a literature [which looks at] every kind of oppression, and it doesn’t have to be just caste oppression ‒ there are so many different kinds of oppression ‒ but we cannot even look away from what is the structure of society, which is a society whose engine is based on caste, a society whose politics, whose idea of everything runs on the basis of caste. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t run on the basis of class, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t run on the basis of this extreme form of capitalism. All of those things have to be taken into account to understand how society works. (120)

            So far it has been written down the society at large as enumerated by the aforementioned social crusaders and activists as well as the scholars and intellectuals including Arundhati Roy, is an oppressed society, whether it be caste-based oppression or class-based oppression, gender-based oppression or religion-based oppression. And it can easily be exemplified in above discussions that the term Bahujan emerges as an umbrella term, an inclusive identity for the oppressed groups of people in Indian social context. Bahujan therefore can become an inclusive, distributive as well as very much cognitive social, political and cultural identity that not only provides shelter to all oppressed groups of people under its shade, but also tie them up within an amalgamated, compressed and commonly shared cultural narrative. In this respect, the literary oeuvre of writers, poets, intellectuals and scholars of Bahujan communities through different genres, such as autobiography, poetry, short story, novel, drama, and essay collectively weave the rich decorated tapestry of Bahujan literature. Following Sharankumar Limbale’s style of commentary, it can be said that Bahujan literature is a vast panorama of literary texts written by writers of Bhaujan communities with a shared Bahujan cultural sensibility and social, aesthetic and moral responsibilities towards each-other’s community irrespective of linguistic and ethnic differentiation. Its primary concern is to provide a moral orientation towards humanity based on the tripartite conceptual framework of ‘Equality, Liberty and Fraternity’ and to uphold collective ethical values and socio-economic justice. In this respect, the pedagogy and discourse of Bahujan literature are closely attached to the adequate literary representation of majority-but-unrepresented Bahujan communities through their creative strokes.


1.      Socialist political ideologies including Marxism in India usually turn into a Brahminical system in the hand of Brahmins who secretly adopt caste-based hierarchy as its only political agenda. Swapan Kumar Biswas has done a critical study of this political phenomenon. See Biswas, S. K. Nine Decades of Marxism in the Land of Brahminism. Calicut, Other Books, 2008.

2.      BAWS stands for Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar: Writings and Speeches.

3.      Matua religious movement was a great cultural phenomenon occurred among non-Hindu Chandal community in erstwhile East Bengal around 1840s under the leadership of Harichand Thakur née Biswas (1812-1878). It was an anti-Brahminical, Anti-Caste and anti-Hindu religious, social and political movement. See Biswas, Manosanta. Caste Dynamics in India: Social Mobility and Cultural Otherness of the Namasudra in Bengal. Kolkata, Colombia International, 2018.

4.      Mandal Commission is originally an enquiry commission undertaken by the Backward Classes Commission, Government of India in 1979 under the chairmanship of Bindeshwari Prasad Mandal (1918-1982) to identify the socially or educationally backward classes in India. After the publication of the Commission’s report in 1980 and its official implementation in 1990, Indian politics officially and publicly entered into “Reserved vs. Unreserved Category” battle in education and jobs in government and government-aided institutes in India.

Works Cited

Gode, P. L. and C. G. Karve, editors. V. S. Apte’s The Practical Sanskrit English Dictionary. 1890, Vol. II, Poona, Prasad Prakashan, 1958, p. 1158. 

Davids, T. W. Rhys and William Stede, editors. The Pali Text Society’s Pali English Dictionary. 1921-1925, p. 538.

Moon, Vasant, editor. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar: Writings and Speeches. Vol. 16, Mumbai, Govt. of Maharastra, 1988, p. 68.

Macdenell, Arthur A. A Sanskrit-English Dictionary. London, Longmans, Green, and Co., 1893, p. 117.

Gode, P. L. and C. G. Karve, editors. V. S. Apte’s The Practical Sanskrit English Dictionary. Vol. II, Poona, Prasad Prakashan, 1958, p. 804.

Zelliot, Eleanor. From Untouchable to Dalit: Essays on Ambedkar Movement. New Delhi, Mahohar Publications, 1992, p. 267.

Vaze, Shridhar Ganesh. The Aryabhushan School Dictionary: Marathi-English. 1911, 7th reprint, Poona, Aryabhushan Press, 1955, p. 278.

Power, J. V. Dalit Panthers: An Authoritative History. 2nd ed., New Delhi, Forward Press, 2019, p. 94.

Limbale, Sharankumar. Towards an Aesthetic of Dalit Literature: History, Controversies and Considerations. Translated by Alok Mukherjee, Hyderabad, Orient BlackSwan, 2004, p. 19. Originally published in Marathi, 1996.

Kumar, Raj. Dalit Literature and Criticism. Hyderabad, Orient BlackSwan, 2019, p. 1.

ibid., p. 4.

Bama. Karukku. Translated by Lakshmi Holmström, 1992, New Delhi, Oxford UP, 2012, p. Introduction xviii.

Ilaiah, Kancha. Why I Am Not A Hindu: A Sudra Critique of Hindutva Philosophy, Culture and Political Economy. Kolkata, Samya, 1996, p. xii.

Ibid., p. 114.

Ranjan, Pramod. “One big umbrella term.” The Case for Bahujan Literature, edited by Ivan Kostka and Pramod Ranjan, New Delhi, Marginalized, 2016, pp. 10-11.

Ibid., p. 11.

Pankaj, Ashwani Kumar. “Literature of the most oppressed.” The Case for Bahujan Literature, edited by Ivan Kostka and Pramod Ranjan, New Delhi, Marginalized, 2016, p. 87.

Bharti, Kanwal. “Bahujan Literature and Adivadi.” The Case for Bahujan Literature, edited by Ivan Kostka and Pramod Ranjan, New Delhi, Marginalized, 2016, p. 88.

Chaube, Devendra. “Will only caste be the basis of ‘Bahujan’” The Case for Bahujan Literature, edited by Ivan Kostka and Pramod Ranjan, New Delhi, Marginalized, 2016, p. 103.

Sharma, Amrendra Kumar. “Bahujan Literature: Some notes.” The Case for Bahujan Literature, edited by Ivan Kostka and Pramod Ranjan, New Delhi, Marginalized, 2016,  pp. 106-07.

Roy, Arundhati. “I Believe in the idea of a Bahujan literature.” The Case for Bahujan Literature, edited by Ivan Kostka and Pramod Ranjan, New Delhi, Marginalized, 2016, p. 120.