The Caste system in the Indian subcontinent is characterized by hierarchy or gradations according to occupational status. The evaluative standard that places a caste higher than others or lower compared to the rest is rooted in the Hindu Dharmashashtras. The high and the low are opposed to each other because of their associations with notions of purity and impurity in terms of the nature of their occupations. Since each caste is regarded as a closed group, special emphasis is placed on eating, physical contact, and marriage. Out of these three, the institution of marriage plays a significant role in the preservation of caste order and hierarchy. This paper explores the inextricable link between caste and gender in Indian society and analyses plays of a Bengali Dalit playwright, Raju Das. The paper examines his two plays, Surjo Tonoy (Son of Sun) and Neel Selam (Blue Salute), and explores the nature of marriages that are considered acceptable in a caste stratified Hindu society and how endogamy is endorsed to maintain the caste order. It also evaluates the consequences of any marriage that fails to comply with the rules of Brahmanical patriarchy, the emotional and physical torture that women in such marriages are subjected to, the ultimate position to which they are reduced, and the social acceptance of the children born out of such marriages. Thereby, the exploration concludes that women in the caste stratified patriarchal society are perceived as gateways to caste order and purity, any step towards flouting the system of endogamy would reduce them to a social position and condition that is morally and emotionally humiliating. Thus, the plays of Raju Das are a clarion call for Dalit women, the unprivileged section, to wake up and resist the oppressive social structures and practices that subjugate them
"Insidious Interlocking of Gender and Caste: Consequences of Challenging Endogamy,"
Journal of International Women's Studies: Vol. 22:
10, Article 5.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol22/iss10/5