Mother’s Story: The ‘Third Space’ for Emancipation in Dalit Women’s Life Narratives
In India, Dalit women wrestle not only with gender and economic deprivation, but also discrimination associated with caste and untouchability, which results in the denial of their social, economic, and political rights. Today, Dalit women’s life narratives form an important segment of not only Dalit literature but also world literature. The narration of their sufferings due to gender and caste forms the basis of these narratives. The articulation of the past, which is a "narrative strategy of reminiscence", is the most crucial aspect of Dalit women's life narratives. While narrating the past, Dalit women try to negotiate direction for the future, and their mother's story is the pedestal on which their life story depends: "...a woman writing thinks back through her mothers’” (Woolf 1929: 81). The oppression of caste, class, and gender pushes Dalit women to understand the construction of power structures. In their life narratives, Dalit women narrate their oppressive lived experiences, but simultaneously acknowledge the resilience of their mothers. They see their mothers as a source of strength as they display “tremendous strength in adverse conditions” (Collins 2000: 75). Against this background, this paper analyses the select life narratives of Dalit women: Urmila Pawar’s The Weave of My Life (2008), Baby Halder’s A Life Less Ordinary (2006), and Sujatha Gidla’s Ants Among Elephants (2017). The study underlines the mother's story as a past which becomes the 'Third Space' in Dalit women's life narratives that acts as a space of emancipation for the future generation, thus giving the marginalized voices a space to articulate and redefine the center.
Kumari, Parveen and Vohra, Anupama
"Mother’s Story: The ‘Third Space’ for Emancipation in Dalit Women’s Life Narratives,"
Journal of International Women's Studies: Vol. 22:
10, Article 7.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol22/iss10/7