Perspectives on Dalit Feminism

Topic : Perspectives on Dalit Feminism

Argument :

“The Dalit Standpoint is about historically locating how our identities are not equally powerful, and about reviewing how in different historical practices similarities between women have been ignored in an effort to underline caste-class identities, or other times differences ignored for the feminist cause”, says the Dalit Feminist Critic, Sharmila Rege. In short, Dalit Feminism redefined woman from the socio-political perspective of a Dalit, and examining caste and gender oppressions together. Dalit feminism has been described as a "discourse of discontent," "a politics of difference" from mainstream Indian feminism, which has been critiqued for marginalising Dalit women. Dalit feminist discourse not only questions Indian feminism's hegemony in claiming to speak for all women, but also the hegemony of Dalit men to speak on behalf of Dalit women.

The aim of identity politics like that of the feminists and Dalits is to ultimately dissolve the crippling effects of burdensome identities. Asserting an identity is to lay claim on the universal. This universalistic vision can be realized only with the analytical tools that Dalit feminisms provide with. They aim at actively participating in eradicating all forms of violence, intolerance, hierarchy and discrimination in the society. Dalit women writers are sensitive to the differential treatment meted out to different subcastes and women within Dalit communities. Brutal patriarchy within Dalit communities is one issue which repeatedly appears in Dalit feminist discourses.

A bird’s eye view into the books taken to analysis:

1. Viramma – The life of an Untouchable: The book is an intensely personal and moving self - portrait of Viramma, a Dalit. In this book, she reveals the world of an extra ordinary woman living at the very margins of Indian society. The conversations with Viramma was recorded by the authors over a span of ten long years, and was then later...