2023 | Architects of a Literary Revolution: Unpacking the Dalit Panther & Little Magazine Movements

Architects of a Literary Revolution: Unpacking the Dalit Panther & Little Magazine Movements

Shrujana N. Shridhar | Rahee Punyashloka

Thursday 23 February 2023, 5–7 pm IST (UTC +5.30)

Sher-Gil Sundaram Arts Foundation (SSAF) and Asia Art Archive in India (AAA-I) co-hosted a public presentation by Shrujana N. Shridhar, the 2019 recipient of the SSAF–AAA Research Grant for Histories of Ideas, Art Writing, and Visual Culture on Thursday, 23 February 2023, from 5–7 pm IST (UTC +5.30) via Zoom. Artist, writer and filmmaker Rahee Punyashloka led the discussion.


The SSAF–AAA Research Grant, offered annually since 2018, fosters the development of innovative methodologies to identify, document, research, and annotate print visual materials inaccessible in the public domain due to reasons often political in nature.


For this public presentation, Shridhar shed light on how Dalit writers and leaders of the Dalit Panther movement made use of “unperiodicals” and the little magazine movement to experiment in previously unexplored ways, with the intention of bringing to light the truth of their people.

The presentation was based on research that Shridhar undertook for the SSAF–AAA Research Grant where she explored and documented the intersection between the little magazine movement (1960s–70s) in Maharashtra, and the Dalit Panther movement (1970s–80s) in the same region. This research stems from Shridhar’s work with the Dalit Panther Archive, an independent collective she co-founded in 2016, to document the vibrant history, politics, art, and literature of the Ambedkarite movement in Maharashtra in the 1970s, with a specific focus on the Dalit Panthers. The work of the Dalit Panthers brings together aesthetic and political intent and, though widely recognised as a landmark in radical aesthetics, has been poorly researched and documented. With this grant, Shridhar explored a key intervention into the little magazine movement in Maharashtra—one that saw major political interventions alongside experiments with literary and visual form. These experiments have manifested in diverse print modes including booklets, pamphlets, postcards, inland letters, and posters.

Shrujana N. Shridhar is an illustrator and artist based in Mumbai. Her work, which includes children’s books and editorial illustrations, centres on anti-caste expression from an Ambedkarite and feminist perspective. She belongs to the Ambedkarite-Buddhist community and runs the Dalit Panther Archive, which focuses on digitising and translating “little magazines” and literature published by members of the Dalit Panther movement.


Rahee Punyashloka is a writer, artist, and filmmaker based out of Bhubaneswar and New Delhi. He creates anti-caste art and discourse under the moniker “artedkar.” His work has been exhibited at Jakarta International Documentary and Experimental Film Festival (ARKIPEL), Athens Video Art Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Tribeca Film Festival, Ishara Art Foundation Dubai, The Method Gallery Mumbai, and MAP Bangalore, among others.