Bahujan scholars, take note: Ten more days to apply for ‘The Navayana Dalit History Fellowship 2021’!

On offer are two fellowships worth Rs 1 lakh each for work on a manuscript that tells an untold Dalit history. The submission guidelines say, ‘the ambit of dalit history is wide. We leave it to the applicants to surprise us with their interpretations of the term’

Navayana, the pioneering New Delhi-based publisher of books in English on Bahujan history, anthropology and and related themes, invites applications for the first The Navayana Dalit History Fellowship. The fellowship was formally announced on Babasaheb B.R. Ambedkar’s birth anniversary, 14 April with short online presentations by the jury members – Suraj Yengde, senior fellow at Harvard University and author of ‘Caste Matters’; Thomas Blom Hansen, professor of anthropology at Stanford University and author of ‘The Saffron Wave: Democracy and Hindu Nationalism in Modern India’; Yashica Dutt, journalist and author of ‘Coming out as a Dalit: A Memoir’; Divya Malhari, assistant professor of English at St Joseph’s College of Commerce, Bengaluru, and writer of the widely read blog ‘Dat Lit Writer’; Aman Sethi, former editor of Huffpost India and author of ‘A Free Man: A True Story of Life and Death in Delhi’; Shailaja Paik, professor of history at University of Cincinnati and author of ‘Dalit Women’s Education in Modern India: Double Discrimination’; and S. Anand, publisher, Navayana. On offer are two fellowships of Rs 1 lakh each for work on a manuscript that tells an untold Dalit history. The deadline for applications is 31 May 2021. There is no age limit for applicants but early-career scholars will be given due preference.

The applications must consist of a proposal that is less than 3,000 words long; a CV, up to two pages, with the applicant’s name, email address, contact number and address of residence. The applicants can also include any previously published long-form writings. But those who write in languages other than English will have to get their proposals translated into English and submit both the original proposal and the English translation. All the documents must be in .doc or .docx format and sent to alex@navayana.org, with the subject line reading ‘Navayana Dalit History Fellowship 2021’. Applications can be jointly submitted, too, but upon selection, the grant will be shared equally by the members of the team concerned.  

The submission guidelines says that the proposal “must include a working title, and must summarize the aims, methods and scope of the project. Additional information about style choices and other formalistic details are also welcome … As examples, we welcome histories of movements, campaigns, local struggles, ideological or cultural movements, histories of organisations or periodicals, biographies, or even stories of individual lives. The ambit of dalit history is wide. We leave it to the applicants to surprise us with their interpretations of the term … The proposal must include a tentative timeline for the completion of the manuscript.”

Applicants who write in languages other than English will have to get their proposals translated into English and submit both the original proposal and the English translation.

Ten applicants will be shortlisted for online interview by the jury. The key criteria will be “originality of the proposal; clarity of thought; elegance of writing; the ability to address a cross-section of readers”. The interviews will be held between 14 June to 19 June. The interview schedules will be communicated to each shortlisted applicant. 

The selected candidates for the fellowship will be announced by the end of June 2021. The draft manuscript written by the fellows must be at least 50,000 words long. Again, if a fellow writes the manuscript in a language other than English, they have to get it translated into English. Navayana may help the fellow in finding a translator but won’t bear the cost of translation. “The work has to be nonfictional, have scholarly rigour, but also be suitable for non-specialist adult readers. The work could also be the fruit of research and groundwork that has already been done. Those who are working on translation efforts pertaining to dalit history are also welcome to apply,” says the submission guidelines. 


Forward Press also publishes books on Bahujan issues. Forward Press Books sheds light on the widespread problems as well as the finer aspects of Bahujan (Dalit, OBC, Adivasi, Nomadic, Pasmanda) society, culture, literature and politics. Contact us for a list of FP Books’ titles and to order. Mobile: +917827427311, Email: info@forwardmagazine.in)

The titles from Forward Press Books are also available on Kindle and these e-books cost less than their print versions. Browse and buy:

The Case for Bahujan Literature

Mahishasur: A people’s hero

Dalit Panthers: An Authoritative History

Mahishasur: Mithak wa Paramparayen

The Common Man Speaks Out

Jati ke Prashn Par Kabir

Forward Thinking: Editorials, Essays, Etc (2009-16)

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