Questions of power and competition have figured prominently in the expanding debate about Dalit assertion. This article moves beyond the rhetoric of caste wars to engage with the affective and emotional dimension of caste. The focus is on the urban environment, where caste unity is challenged by the centrifugal forces of urban living. The article demonstrates how Khatiks in Bhopal are reunited through a festival culture that straddles class differentiation, factional politics and generational gaps. The emerging formation signifies the continuing strength of caste sentiments in the city and demonstrates how Dalits create arenas for publicly declaring pride in their heritage both within and beyond the political arena.