Dalit literature Quietly affirmative

by Gowri Ramnarayan 

The Grip of Change is a work of literature, not a manifesto. 

THE first thing that strikes you about The Grip of Change? Author P.Sivakami's translation makes you forget it was written originally in Tamil. More remarkably, in dealing with life in a Dalit community, it deals with life itself. It is a work of literature, not a manifesto. Avoiding shrillness makes the novel more poignant and powerful.

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India district bans cell phones for unmarried women

 

 

NEW DELHI — A local council in northern India has banned unmarried women from carrying mobile telephones to halt a series of illicit romances between partners from different castes, media reports said Wednesday.The Baliyan council in Uttar Pradesh state decided to act after at least 23 young couples ran away and got married over the last year against their parents' wishes.

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Women's commission appeals to Maoists for peace

Kolkata :West Bengal Women’s Commission on Women Victims of Maoist Violence (WBCW) on Wednesday expressed deep concerns over the growing attacks perpetrated by Maoists in West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts on women and appealed to them to abjure violence.

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All hail goddess English?

 

Dennis Baron

Global English may be about to go celestial. A political activist in India wants the country’s poorest caste to improve its status by worshipping the English language, and to start off he’s building a temple to Goddess English in the obscure village of Bankagaon, near Lakhimpur Khiri in Uttar Pradesh.

goddess english

English started on the long path to deification back in the colonial age, and in many former British colonies English has become both an indispensable tool for survival in the modern world and a bitter reminder of the Raj. In 1835, Thomas Babington Macaulay recommended to fellow members of the India Council that the British create a system of English-language schools in the colony to train an elite class of civil servants, “Indian in blood and colour, but English in tastes, in opinions, in morals and in intellect,” who would help the British rule the subcontinent.

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Indian’s fight against child marriage in focus at Abu Dhabi fest

Abu Dhabi :The spotlight was once again on India at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, courtesy a British filmmaker. Kim Longinotto in ‘Pink Saris’ depicted the evils of child marriage and the caste conflict in the interiors of northern India – and a woman’s fight to bring about change.

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Dalit Feminism

 

M. Swathy Margaret

(First published in the March-April 2005 issue of Insight Young Voices magazine)

I am a Dalit-middle-class, University educated, Telugu speaking Dalit-Christian-Woman. All these identities have a role in the way I perceive myself and the worlds I inhabit. I, as a Dalit woman, primarily write for Dalit women to uphold our interests. This statement of mine is necessary because if we do not define ourselves for ourselves, we will be defined by others – for their use and to our detriment. This voice is not representative of all Dalit women. However, I know that my voice is important because it is the voice of a socially denigrated category, suppressed and silenced.

 My own self-perception and understanding as a Dalit woman, as a point of intersection/an overlap between the categories “Dalit” and “woman”, took shape in the University of Hyderabad when I joined there for my M.A. in English. I fell in love with the sprawling campus instantly. Some familiar-looking young men came to my aid in filling the endless forms and challans, saying they are from the Ambedkar Students’ Union. Hearing Ambedkar’s name I knew I belonged there. However, it did not take much time before I realized they refused to see an equal intellectual comrade in me. Like the majority of men, they acknowledge a dalit woman’s presence as only fit for handing over bouquets to the guest speakers they invite for their meetings. At the most, she can give the vote of thanks. They do not consider her in important decisions or in writing papers. Later I learned that excluding women from their committees was a deliberate policy they followed as they believed women’s presence would cause “problems” and come in the way of serious politics. Women inevitably mean “problems”, their sexuality being an uncontrolled wild beast waiting to pounce upon the unassuming dalit men in the movement. It is assumed that they divert the attention from the larger concerns of the movement.

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