The Rise of Dalit Peasants: Kolhi Activism in Lower Sindh
(Original Thesis Title) Kolhi-peasant Activism in Naon Dumbālo, Lower Sindh:Creating Space for Marginalised through Multiple Channels Submitted to Quaid-i-Azam University, Department of Anthropology as partial requirment for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Anthropollgy (M.Phil-Anthropology). ABSTRACT This study is based on ethnography of Kolhi peasant community of Lār (lower Sindh) followed by extensive ethnological account of the history, origin and identity reconstruction efforts of Kolhi-Dalit community. This study is to explain, ‘how Kolhi-Dalit peasant identities are being transformed under the impact of social forces, such as Kolhi peasant activists, NGOs, leftist and Marxist activists, civil society activists, and under the influence of mass media and social media networks? The prime focus of is the identification of the ‘processes of socio-political change that are involved in the transformation of Kolhi-Dalit ethnic peasant identities. Major Findings of the research are that the dependence of almost entire Kolhi community on sharecropping as landless peasants under debt bondage of landlords in barrage-area of south-eastern lower Sindh has been so overwhelming that it is difficult to conceive of their ethnic marginality independent of peasant related issues. In recent past, since 2006, peasants in the barrage area of lower Sindh, particularly sharecroppers and peasant activists of Kolhi community of Dumbālo, have been highly dynamic. Kolhi peasant activism is not just for land reforms, or against debt bondage, it is also the struggle for ethnic and communal rights and equal social status for the marginalized Dalit communities of lower Sindh. The phenomenal multiplicity of Kolhi ethnic maneuverability can be evidenced from their participation in political protests and rallies for their ethnic and peasant rights. Kolhi community has become conscious of the relationship between ethnic discrimination, landlessness, debt bondage and economic exploitation, the evidence of which can be had from the emerging trend to establish community-initiated self-funded Kolhi colonies at Naon Dumbālo, District Badin Sindh. Kolhi peasant activism provides a unique opportunity to understand peasant activism from the perspective of the sharecroppers of lower caste, the ethnically discriminated and marginalized minority community. Systematic effort has been made to look for ideological and political space for Kolhi-Dalit peasant-village community to coexist peacefully with other ethnic identities at local, provincial, national and international levels. Ethnically motivated Peasants’ willingness or reluctance to accommodate with the dominant discourses at national level and capacity of Civil Society Organizations to transform ethnic-peasant identities has been assessed in relation to one another.
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