This paper uses recent field research to challenge the widely held view that a “Dalit revolution” is occurring in North India. Drawing on two years' ethnographic research in a village in western Uttar Pradesh, the authors uncover the growing importance of a generation of local political activists among Dalits (former untouchables) while also showing that these young men have not been able to effect a broad structural transformation at the local level. The authors use this case to identify a need for further research on South Asian political change that links party political transformation to questions of local level social practice and subaltern consciousness.

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