ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Varsha AyyarSubscribe to Varsha Ayyar

Caste-Gender Matrix and the Promise and Practice of Academia

The dilemmas arising from the “list” and the “statement” have compelled us to reflect on contemporary feminist politics and concede that cultures of sexual violence are pervasive in academia. This article attempts to contextualise the dilemma from a (Dalit/ex-untouchable) feminist perspective. It underlines the unresolved caste question in the academy and the Indian feminist movement. Brahminical patriarchal violence, misogynistic caste cultures, the social composition of committees that adjudicate “due process,” lack of faculty diversity, as endemic features that affect women and vulnerable communities. The article underscores that women from Dalit backgrounds are specifically vulnerable, and the existence of such a list is a result and response to institutional failure. Yet the possibilities of misuse of such lists show vulnerabilities of both, victims of sexual violence and the alleged perpetrators in a charged political climate where such tools can be used against “progressive” and anti-caste Dalit voices.

Caste and Gender in a Mumbai Resettlement Site

This paper foregrounds specific experiences of urban dalit women affected by displacement, thereby underpinning the significance of caste, religion, identity and gender. Based on socio-anthropological research methods and extensive fieldwork carried out at a resettlement site in Mumbai it argues that "social factors" continue to play a significant role in cities. They play a pivotal role in experiences and negotiations of the traumatic processes of displacement and resettlement, often involving uprooting, erasure of memory, loss of livelihoods and kinship, and coming to terms with a compromised and limited social life. While this may be true of all affected populations equally, nevertheless, it is significant to recover nuanced voices of these experiences from the caste and gender perspective to understand the emerging complex spaces on the city's periphery and new forms of urban exclusion. A large number of women who are not networked to non-governmental organisations and/or civic authorities end up becoming the most marginalised and excluded category, deprived of rights and citizenry.
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