Dr. Sushrut Jadhav


Caste, Culture Identity and Well Being

There is a missing link in the logic cementing Caste and Well Being. This is the stigma of being an ‘Untouchable’. To date, this remains curiously unexamined. The proposed clinical ethnographic study, led by two Dalit scholars and a multi-disciplinary team, will examine the impact of conversion on Dalit Caste identity, stigma included.

The study will ask:

  • What is the nature of stigma related to untouchable caste identity?
  • How does it impact on mental Well Being?
  • How does this vary with religious conversion?

An identified unique and rapidly growing religious movement, through appropriation of Hindu Brahmin caste rituals, claims to have de-polluted manual scavengers of North India through the re-birth of Christ in them, and forge a new identity, Dalit Avatar (1). The proposed pilot research will detail the implication of their social, and religious transformation; examine the nature and management of caste stigma, identity any formal mental disorders directly resulting from experiences of caste discrimination; expose the missing link between Caste and Well Being, contribute to theory of caste based religious transformation and towards an indigenous psychology; expand the aesthetics of literary consciousness in India; and examine of goodness of fit with concepts of ‘well-being’(2), ‘double consciousness’ (3), ‘purity’ (4), and ‘learnt helplessness’ (5) amongst Dalit Untouchables.