Echoing bell hooks’s discussions on “black rage,” this article explores the politics of “Dalit rage” by juxtaposing some instances of projections of Dalits as an “angry,” “illiberal,” and “intolerant” constituency with examples of anger from Dalit literature. While these projections in “mainstream” media and caste Hindu–dominated civil society narratives often represent them as engulfed in the emotive states marked by anger, intolerance, and impatience, the instances from Dalit literature archive a “Dalit rage” that demands to be dissociated from the Nietzschean category of ressentiment. Through B. R. Ambedkar’s readings of Nietzsche in Philosophy of Hinduism and Nietzsche’s readings of Manu’s Manavadharmashastra in Twilight of the Idols, this article draws a fine line of differentiation between Nietzsche’s contempt for ressentiment and Manu’s disdain for anger. “Dalit rage” occupies a distinctly different thymotic space and articulates a Dalit predicament that exploits rage as a marker of protest, resistance, and caste-ridden social conflicts. This article shows why we cannot bracket Nietzsche’s contempt for ressentiment with Manu’s demands of the sudras (and, in extension, other “lower castes”/Dalits) to be “meek” by exploring Manu’s perpetuation and legitimization of the varna order through a “morality of breeding” and Nietzsche’s more wholesale rejection of morality as he deems it a pia fraus (moral fraud). Thus this “Dalit rage” offers us a repository of the limits of a liberal democracy and enables an Ambedkarite reading of Nietzsche whose project of constructing ubermensch is markedly different from Manu’s “morality of taming” through a “morality of breeding.”

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