The colonial period is often oversimplified but Dalit intellectuals like Iyothee Thass have argued that the colonial period brought some freedom from the tyranny of upper castes.
While Mohammad Ali Jinnah and the Muslim League were campaigning for partition, the Momins of Bihar opposed the idea of Pakistan, arguing that it was a creation of the same upper caste Muslims who were their oppressors.
There is a constant debate about reservations in upper caste circles. People keep talking about if they work, when they will be stopped, etc.
But the framing of reservations as something that the “casteless” majority give to those who suffered because of their caste hides the truth.
How the Dravidian movement was first born as a project by the powerful Vellala community and how Periyar and the Self Respect Movement transformed it into a radical and popular political project.
When the use of coffee first spread across India under British rule, many Tamil Brahmins strongly opposed it. But by the time India became independent, they had wholeheartedly embraced coffee, infused it with their own characteristics, and had begun to wield it as a marker of their social superiority.
In the early decades of the 19th century, British India witnessed a heated debate over the question of whether the practice of sati should be legally permitted. The debate had little to do with modern concepts such as human rights. Its real point was discovering and restoring “true Hindu tradition.”
When the British legalized widow remarriage, it caused chaos in communities where it was already practiced. The major courts of India added to the confusion with contradictory judgements.