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Political Theology: Text and Practice in a Dalit Panther Community

  • Janet A. Contursi

Extract

The bharatiya dalit panthers is an organization of Maharashtrian Dalits (ex-Untouchables) who have converted to Buddhism and adopted as their long-range political goal the establishment of a democratic socialist state. The ideology of the Panthers, embodied in their texts and practices, synthesizes threads of Buddhist and Marxist philosophies. Longstanding debates about the supposed incompatibility of Buddhism and Marxism pose questions regarding the conjunction of religion and politics in popular movements, the role of popular texts in constituting ideologies of resistance, and the ways texts and beliefs become transformed into actions.

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