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"Towards the Signifying Buffalo: A Deconstructive Study of Casteism through the Dalit Lens in Bhimayana: Experiences of Untouchability

Mr Sahin Reja Mondal

State Aided College Teacher, Domkal Girls’ College, Murshidabad, West Bengal, India

From the ancient times, Varna System (Caste System) is a pernicious feature of the Indian society in which a group of economically, socially and culturally low graded people have been oppressed, suppressed and exploited in the Brahminical society. Casteism is an internalised hegemonic power structure that determines the sense of belonging, recognition and identity of the underprivileged and marginalised community of the people in the caste-based identity politics of the Indian society. It makes them feel that they are metaphorically imagined to be the signifying buffalo in the signification of the cow worshipping Brahminical society because the brahmins favourably worship the cow than the buffalo in spite of belonging likely to the same group of community. The term, “Dalit literature” was first deployed to indicate a body of writing by a group of Marathi writers who introduced themselves as the “Dalit Panthers” in the “Dalit Literature Conference” in Bombay of Maharashtra in 1958. Since then, it aesthetically has emerged out to shape the collective voice of the socially exploited people who desire to set the platform of Dalit revolution to register a strong protest against the stereotyped frames of caste, race and class to foreground Dalit’s values, rights and liberty. Besides that, it raises questions about the status and situation of the Dalits who struggle for freedom and recognition to attain the social, cultural, political and national identity in the society. It stimulates the revolutionary spirit of the Dalit’s “collective consciousness” in the power structure of the Brahminical society. However, Bhimayana: Experiences of Untouchability (2011) is a frame narrative that graphically interweaves and incorporates Ambedkar's experiences of untouchability, caste discrimination and resistance with the critical observation of a Dalit woman and a Hindu brahmin about the caste discrimination and violence in the contemporary discourse of the Indian society. This research paper aims to examine the deconstructive approach to the logocentric mythology of casteism to poignantly interpret its hollowness and meaninglessness on account of the caste discrimination, violence, oppression and resistance in the graphic fiction, Bhimayana. Here it also attempts to introduce the identity politics of the Dalits to make resistance to the caste stratification, inequality, dehumanization and violence, and to enlighten the social codification of the signifying buffalos, the Dalits in the signification of the cows, the brahmins of the Hindu community at the crossroad of the Hindutva ideology.

Keywords: Varna System, Marginalized Community, Brahminical Society, Casteism, Hegemony, Dalit Panthers, Signifying Buffalo, Signification of Cow, Social Discourse, Deconstruction, Logocentric. Collective Consciousness, Bhimayana, Graphic Fiction, Frame Narrative, Untouchability, Caste Discrimination and Resistance.

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