Rebels from the Mud Houses: Dalits and the Making of the Maoist Revolution in Bihar
George J. Kunnath
140 x 216 mm
Year of Publishing
Territorial Rights
Social Science Press

Out Of Stock

Dalits participate in the Maoist Movement in a variety of ways – as party cadres, guerrilla fighters, loyal suppliers of food and shelter, and as both active and passive members of a host of revolutionary mass organizations.

Why did the Dalits of the Magadh region of South Bihar and, in particular, the district of Jehanabad, infamously termed ‘the killing fields’ join the Maoist Movement? Were they trapped between ‘two fires’ – the revolutionary and counter-revolutionary violence? Did all Dalit castes support the Maoists or was there any particular Dalit caste at the forefront of the struggle? What did they achieve through the Maoist Movement? What reasons do they give for their current state of demobilization? Rebels from the Mud Houses: Dalits and the Making of the Maoist Revolution in Bihar examines Dalit mobilization and the transformation of rural power relations in the context of intense agrarian violence involving Maoist guerrillas and upper caste militias backed by state forces in Bihar in the 1980s. The book investigates why thousands of Dalits took up arms and participated in the Maoist Movement. It explores the dynamic nature of Dalit response which involved a movement from relative quiescence to mobilization and armed resistance, and eventually, to demobilization and alternative assertions based on caste identities.

Rebels from the Mud Houses highlights the specificities of Dalit participation in the Maoist Movement and develops an anthropology of the Maoist Revolution in India.

George J. Kunnath is Research Fellow at Anthropology Department, Goldsmiths College, University of London. His research interests include Marxist and Maoist guerrilla movements, caste and class relations, Dalit and Adivasi identity politics, development-conflict nexus, violence and research ethics. 

  1. Introduction: Maoist Revolution in Perspective
  2. Submerged Violences: Dalits, Landlessness and Subordination in Bihar
  3. From the Mud Houses of Magadh: Revolutionary Murmurings and Dalit Militancy
  4. Bonded Labourer to Maoist Guerrilla: Life Story of a Dalit Revolutionary
  5. Negotiating Powers: Dalits and Shifting Mobilizations
  6. Production and Reproduction of Violence: State, Senas and Maoists
Conclusion: An Anthropology of Revolution
‘This book succeeds in competently presenting the dynamics of Dalit mobilization and demobilization in contemporary Bihar. The distinctive aspect of this book is that it makes a necessary organic connection between the category of Dalit and peasant particularly in the context of caste configuration and class relation as unfolding in Bihar.’  

Professor Gopal Guru
Centre for Political Studies, School of Social Sciences,
Jawaharlal Nehru University

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