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

A+| A| A-

Dominant Bodies and Their Ethical Performances

Violence of Caste Embodiment in Higher Educational Institutions

The everyday normalised brutality that dominant upper-caste bodies seem to inflict on Dalit Bahujans in elite higher educational institutions is addressed in this article. The reproduction of everyday institutional embodiment displays a direction and an intensity that allow dominant bodies to realise their undiminished being. This direction and intensity are supposedly expressed through the arts of living of the upper castes, namely the domains of cellular, intellectual, and social reproduction.

The case of Payal Tadvi,1 a Muslim tribal postgraduate medical student, who committed suicide in May 2019 allegedly due to caste harassment by upper-caste colleagues, joins the long series of complaints against institutional indifference of elite higher educational institutions (HEIs). The conscious hatred of the upper castes and their resentment towards affirmative policies that allowed marginalised students to access the sacred portal of HEIs cannot adequately explain their normalised brutality towards Dalit Bahujans.

The normal escapes attention and the lack of institutional care remains unaddressed. Paradoxically, this lack of institutional care towards Dalit Bahujans means that institutions are fine-tuned to the hegemonic needs of the cultural elite and do not act neutrally towards its various constituents. This purportedly appears to be the hostile structure of HEIs and this structure has to be reproduced on a day-to-day basis. From being slighted for their awkwardness of being and sloppiness of thinking, to being constantly reminded that they lack proficiency in the imperial cultural possessionthe (English) language of propriety and legitimate material acquisitionthe structure of HEIs is exclusionary to the core. The testimonies of fellow Dalit Bahujans in other professional fields, which followed Payal Tadvis incident in the popular media, express the internalisation of this corrosive structurean internalisation that eats into the vitals of a decent and dignified existence.

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here

Or

To gain instant access to this article (download).


Pay
INR 59

(Readers in India)


Pay
$ 6

(Readers outside India)

Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

Support Us

Your Support will ensure EPW’s financial viability and sustainability.

The EPW produces independent and public-spirited scholarship and analyses of contemporary affairs every week. EPW is one of the few publications that keep alive the spirit of intellectual inquiry in the Indian media.

Often described as a publication with a “social conscience,” EPW has never shied away from taking strong editorial positions. Our publication is free from political pressure, or commercial interests. Our editorial independence is our pride.

We rely on your support to continue the endeavour of highlighting the challenges faced by the disadvantaged, writings from the margins, and scholarship on the most pertinent issues that concern contemporary Indian society.

Every contribution is valuable for our future.