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‘Strong in culture, not weak in pain’
The Persistence of Caste
The Khairlanji Murders & India's Hidden Apartheid

While the caste system has been formally abolished under the Indian Constitution, according to official statistics every eighteen minutes a crime is committed on a dalit. The gouging out of eyes, the hacking off of limbs and being burned alive or stoned to death are routine in the atrocities perpetrated against India’s 170 million dalits. What drives people to commit such inhuman crimes?


The Persistence of Caste uses the shocking case of Khairlanji, the brutal murder of four members of a dalit family in 2006, to explode the myth that caste no longer matters. Analysing context and crime, it seeks to locate this event in the political economy of the development process India has followed after  Independence. Teltumbde demonstrates how caste has shown amazing resilience—surviving feudalism, capitalist industrialisation and a republican Constitution—to still be alive and well today, despite all denial,  under neoliberal globalisation


Anand Teltumbde is a civil rights activist. He teaches at the Indian Institute of Management, Kharagpur, and is a columnist with the Economic & Political Weekly.


‘Anand Teltumbde’s analysis of the public, ritualistic massacre of a dalit family in 21st century India exposes the gangrenous heart of our society’Arundhati Roy


‘I would hope to see it read by every Indian activist and also foreigners who do not see how odious the caste system is’—Samir Amin


‘Teltumbde bears witness to the degradation of Indian democracy’—Vijay Prashad, Himal

ISBN 9788189059286 | Rs 200 |
Paperback | 192 pages |  5.5 x 8.5” | World English rights: Zed Books |
Published in Kannada and Telugu | All other rights available
Reprint available from 14 April 2014


In the Media

Anand Teltumbde has now written a book that will never allow this massacre to be forgotten. Nor will it allow us to think of Khairlanji as an aberration.—Vijay Prasad, Himal


This book is an expression of the will to remember Khairlanji and turn it into a symbol, both of caste oppression and Dalit revolt against it in the 21st century.—Nicholas Jaoul, EHESS, Samaj


Teltumbde's contribution is a graphic account of the equally brutal oppression of the agitators by the state.—Mail Today


Read an Excerpt