Based on the life of the noted Chindu Yakshagana performer, Yellamma, this article presents the lived experience of caste through the lens of India’s Dalits, as narrated by the Chindus, a dependent caste of Madigas of Telangana. This provides a glimpse into the inner world of caste-based relationships through analysis of a satellite caste system that remains inaccessible to the dominant Hindu Brahmanical world and most scholarship on caste. Satellite castes function as preservers of social memory and act as cultural archives, enacting caste histories and origin myths, while critiquing and inverting dominant perceptions and weaving positive stories. The article argues that there may well be much more to this performative protest than merely social subversion.

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Keywords caste, Chindu, Dalits, folk performance, India, Madiga, satellite castes, Telangana, Yakshagana
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Journal South Asia Research
Jangam, C. (2016). Caste from Below: Memory and Subversion of Caste in Chindu Yakshaganam. South Asia Research, 36(3), 343–355. doi:10.1177/0262728016663271