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Paper 39

Interpreting the biased notion of the intersection of caste and patriarchy through the lives of dalit women

Ms Shuvasree Bhaduri, Undergraduate Student, Department of Sociology, Jadavpur University, West Bengal, India


Disparities among humans have always been a part of our society, regardless of time. Society, or we, as the part of our society, discriminate against each other based on caste, gender, religion, race, class, sexual orientation and our choice of living. Women have been experiencing sexual oppression, economic exploitation, cultural subjugation which in turn shows an image of unequal distribution of capital. Be it cultural , be it societal, be it economical. Excavating evidence gives an account of some atrocious activities committed against women. Apart from gender there are other dimensions like caste , class etc. which are not unprejudiced. Can it be firmly said that all women irrespective of their caste, class, religion, geography etc. have been struggling through the same throughout the world? Focusing on the generalised view of oppression won't give a proper answer to that. The left party of women organization specified economic issues and the autonomous women's vocalised the issue of violence against women, but they never addressed the issue of "masculinization of dalithood and savrnization of womenhood" as described by Sharmila Rege.

Women as a marginalised group not only have to bear the brunt of gender discrimination but also have to endure the pain of caste and class discrimination. Brahminization of patriarchy has been thrashing women’s identity since time immemorial. History clearly indicates that stories of women's subjugation are usually told by males, as if women lack the ability to speak for themselves. Patriarchy views a woman as a helpless being in need of sad aid from a male. We have been seeing what women endure through the eyes of men. Similarly in the case of dalit women, noone from their community was given the opportunity to stand at the forefront and give them voice. There was a time when dalit women were not

included in the theoretical framework as result of which there were almost no attempt to understand how dalit women have been experiencing all kinds of repression, Until the time when people like Shantabai kamble , Babytai Kamble came up to write their biographies in order to walk our society through their real life experiences.

Through this paper I have tried to discuss and argue how the intersection of caste and patriarchy has been tyrannising dalit women since ages. An attempt has been made to draw a comparison between the lives of dalit women belong to two different centuries with the help of secondary data and primary data. I have used Babytai Kamble's autobiography 'The Prisons We Broke'(Jeena Aamucha) as a historical evidence of twenteeth century and a secondary data and some interviews of 21st century dalit women as primary data. I have set out to explore whether in terms of education , in terms of socio- economic aspect , anything have actually changed from last century to this century in dalit women's lives.

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