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Caste in Modern India - A Postal History (1905-2024)


May 31 2024 to Jun 02 2024 11 a.m.


Bangalore International Centre

7 4th Main Rd, Stage 2, Domlur 560071

Event Description

Exhibition Opening: Friday, 31 May
Timings: 11:00 am – 8:00 pm
Exhibition on show until Sunday, 2 June

Friday, 31 May | 6:00 pm
Saturday, 1 June | 11:30 am & 5:30 pm
Sunday, 2 June | 10:45 am

Inaugural Address – Friday, 31 May | 6:45 pm
Panel Discussion – Sunday, 2 June | 11:30 am

Railways and postal services were introduced in colonial India in the early 1850s. In due course, these new technologies made long-distance travel and communication widely accessible and affordable. In a parallel development, the introduction of limited representation in legislatures in the 1890s added urgency to tap the potential trans-local identities enumerated in the decennial censuses beginning in 1871-72.

Given these developments, local communities, in particular, castes, tapped new technologies to connect with kindred groups across the country and combine to form pan-Indian communities. Post offices allowed members of these aggregate groupings to correspond with each other, while railways enabled them to meet periodically and devise strategies to capture a share in legislatures, educational institutions, and public employment proportionate to their census population. Drawing upon philatelic material covering a century, the exhibition highlights the role of the postal system in this new politics.

The exhibition is divided into two broad parts that bring together correspondence and publications of several caste-based community organisations and individuals from across the country and the philatelic output of the post-colonial state.

Prof Gopal Guru will inaugurate the exhibition and deliver the inaugural address on May 31, 6:45 pm. He will offer his comments on the exhibition and locate the images in the larger politics of visual culture.

A Panel Discussion with Prof. Satish Deshapnde, a distinguished social scientist who has made seminal contributions to our understanding of caste in independent India, Vaishna Roy, Editor-in-Chief, Frontline magazine and Vikas Kumar, Curator of the exhibit, will take place on 2 June, 11:30 am.

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