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Theology for Subaltern's Emancipation

Archana Singh

Edited by Rowena Robinson and Joseph Marianus Kujur
Sage Publications, New Delhi, 2010, pp. 320, price not stated


This remarkable work is an intellectual attempt to analyse the experience of socially, culturally, economically and politically dominated and marginalized dalit and tribal Christians. Dalits and tribal Christians constitute approximately 70% of the Indian Christian population. Christianity is an egalitarian religion, but the caste system has found its way into it in India. Dalit Christians within the church were discriminated against and were denied powers within the religious structure. From 1970s onwards, the dalits began to articulate their social, political and cultural expressions in the form of dalit literature, organizations, and political parties assert their urge for a respectable identity. Dalit theology is one of the expressions of this emerging dalit consciousness. In Arvind P. Nirmals opinion, Christian Dalit theology will be produced by Dalits. It will be based on their own Dalit experiences, their own sufferings, their own aspirations and their own hope. It will narrate the story of their pathos and their protest against the socioeconomic injustices they have been subjugated to throughout history. It will anticipate liberation which is meaningful to them. 1 Margins of Faith: Dalit and Tribal Christianity in India, contains twelve essays written by scholars from all over the world. An excellent introduction by the editors undertakes the task of highlighting that there is no difference between dalits and converted dalits for caste Hindus in India. Indian Christian theology has to reshape itself to reappraise and reimagine Christianity in the cultural context of India. In Tribal Church in the Margins: Oraons of Central India Marianus Kujur encounters the problem that though Christianity emerged as the religion of the deprived people, in spite of the religious conversion these people remain culturally and socially ostracized. Tribal converts face double marginalization. The tribal natives are against them because in their opinion, churches have ruined their native culture and are working to segregate them. These tribal converts are also not accepted by the orthodox Christians within the church. Michaels Dalit Encounter with Christianity: Change and Continuity examines the fivefold discrimination faced by dalit Christians: by the state, by caste Hindus, by fellow Hindu dalits, by upper caste Christian community and by subgroups of dalits and Christian themselves. The churches of India have to make trustworthy efforts and develop policies for dalits, which will make them daring enough to face everyday struggle. Margins of Faith: Dalit and Tribal Christian in Eastern India unravels the different elements in the lived religion of ...

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