The Dalapathi Tradition of Bidar, Karnataka

in Module
Published on: 07 December 2018

Eeshita Kapadiya

Having received a Bachelor's degree in Fashion Design from London and a PG diploma in Design, Eeshita's interests lie in explorations around domestic and gendered spaces, patriarchy and the ethics of care, fuelled by feminist discourse and feminist research methods. At present, Eeshita moonlights as a freelance graphic designer, volunteers as a coordinator with a Bangalore-based feminist NGO and works as a research assistant with the UNESCO chair at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology.

The Dalapathi system, or the village police, is currently an informal system of law and security in rural South India. Although previously a formal system, recognised by the Karnataka Village Defense Parties Act, 1964, the recent repeal of the act (2004) has changed its status once again. It is important to note that, despite these institutional changes, forms of the village police system have existed since ancient times, survived the colonial rule and continue to organically exist today. The module explores the evolution of this village police system, the overlapping of its democratic and hereditary nature, and its relationship with the urban police system.