Dalit Visions explores and critiques the sensibility which equates Indian tradition with Hinduism, and Hinduism with Brahmanism; which considers the Vedas as the foundational texts of Indian culture and discovers within the Aryan heritage the essence of Indian civilisation. It shows that even secular minds remain imprisoned within this Brahmanical vision, and the language of secular discourse is often steeped in a Hindu ethos. The tract looks at alternative traditions, nurtured within dalit movements, which have questioned this way of looking at Indian society and its history. While seeking to understand the varied dalit visions that have sought to alter the terms of the dominant order, this tract persuades us to reconsider our ideas, listen to those voices which we often refuse to hear and understand the visions which seek to change the world in which dalits live.
Gail Omvedt (1941-2021) was a scholar-activist who worked with new social movements, especially women's groups and farmers' organisations. A PhD from the University of California, Professor Omvedt held the Dr Ambedkar Chair for Social Change and Development at the Indira Gandhi National Open University. She was a citizen of India from 1982. She was actively involved in anti-caste campaigns from the 1970s onwards. Her academic writings include several books and articles on class, caste and gender issues, and included the books, Reinventing Revolution: New Social Movements in India (1993) and Dalits and the Democratic Revolution (1994). She was a consulting sociologist on gender, environment and rural development and lived in Kasegaon in southern Maharashtra.