The history of feminist criticism has undergone a long trajectory where it gets written in terms of difference and sameness. Such anxieties get written in the Indian scenario with reference to the “caste” question. The predominant constructions of “woman” and “Dalit” give prominence to savarna women and Dalit men. As such, the mutuality of caste and gender is unaddressed. The intersectional identity of Dalit women, simultaneously affected by caste and patriarchy, has challenged this homogeneity claimed by mainstream Indian feminism and Dalit politics. Dalit feminism provides a critique of Brahmanism implicit in mainstream feminism, and the reproduction of patriarchal norms in Dalit communities. One of the major contributions of Dalit feminism in feminist discourse has been to identify Brahmanical patriarchy as the source of their oppression. Coded in the brahmanical prescriptive texts such as the Manusmriti, the ideologies of brahmanical patriarchy are structurally integrated into the caste system, setting different sets of rules for upper-caste and Dalit women in terms of sexuality, marriage, and labour. Dalit politics has tried to bypass every claim of such an occurrence on the grounds that there is no notion called Dalit patriarchy because all Dalits are oppressed. Even if there are traces of patriarchal tyranny, Dalit men claim that it is brahmanical patriarchy which should be blamed for suggesting models of domination to Dalit men. However, as Dalit feminists such as Challapalli Swaroopa Rani have noted, “it is not true that democracy is present in that patriarchal system.” women are “cruelly humiliated in public places” and they “face domestic violence and physical problems at home.” This article analyses the complexities of dual patriarchies in causing specific kinds of violence on Dalit women resulting from the interlocking structures of gender and caste, through Bama’s Sangati and P. Sivakami’s The Grip of Change. Using feminist intersectionality as my methodology, I argue that violence, in the case of Dalit women, creates opportunities for resistance as well.
"After Violence: Dalit Women’s Narratives and the Possibilities of Resistance,"
Journal of International Women's Studies: Vol. 24:
6, Article 4.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol24/iss6/4