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“Power, Resistance and Identity: Understanding Intersectional Realities between Brahminism and Racism through Suraj Yengde’s Autobiographical Text Caste Matters

Ms Ruchi Singh

PhD Scholar, Department of English, Guru Ghasidas Vishwavidyalaya, Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, India


Isabel Wilkerson describes in her book ‘Caste: The Lies That Divide Us’ that the word ‘caste’ never applied to United States instead of India and feudal Europe, but some anthropologists have used this term . White abolitionists are enslaving the people continously on the basis of colour or race. Children were separated by the authority of racial mindset in one of the Public School of Boston. Charles Sumner, a politist says, ‘it is in the nature of Caste, and on this account is a violation of Equality. In 1946, B.R. Ambedkar wrote a letter to W.E.B.Du Bois, American sociologist, that he wanted to study the ‘Negro problem.’. He says in a letter, ‘there is so much similarity between the position of the untouchables in India and of the position of the Negroes in America.’

‘Caste Matters’ is an autobiographical text, written by Suraj Yengde. Yengde has talked about India’s progressive Brahmins who took part in ‘Anti-Racism Group’ which was organized by white liberals. Privileged-caste people never hesitate to support the anti-racism but hesitate to talk upon the anti-casteism. Yengde has written and shared his experiences about Brahminism and Racism are not different problems whereas both intersect to each other.

Close Reading of an autobiographical text, Caste Matters by Suraj Yengde

Suraj Yengde’s journey from Nanded (Maharashtra) to Harvard is an indispensable achievement but he says, ‘it crushes the heart, but even today I am still an untouchable. Being at Harvard or anywhere in the world, my primary identity for some reason is not going anyway.’ Caste Matters insights upon the role of Dalit Middle Class in economy, Dalit Capitalism in neo-liberal society, many shades of Dalits, Negro slavery, Dalit love, Brahminism and so on.

Critical study of anti-caste thinkers on the basis of text

In proposed research paper, I shall add the critical markings of anti-caste thinkers on various issues like Kanshiram’s view on ‘Chamcha Age’ which reflects the powerless and incapable conditions of ‘Token Dalits’, Tomy Nishaant’s critical study of Musahars (Mahadalits) and how they are used as puppets for vote bank in political elections and views of Anand Teltumbde on the failure of converting Dalits to Buddhism.

Analysis of specific cases of caste-based violence in the text

There are many caste-based violences cases that have been shared by the author in this text. The author has shared review of a documentary, ‘India Untouched’ by K.Stalin. Some school girls had been forced to clean bathroom in one of the school of Gujarat. The film-maker asked to them, what is the need to do this thing forcely, the school girls replied,’we will be beaten if we do not clean the toilets.’ Another caste-based violence which the author has discussed that when Ambedkar got a job but he found difficulty to find accommodation. In Harvard,the author was humiliated by his Indian friends.

Key Concepts in theorizing anticasteism through the text

Dalit liberation, Dalit love, Dalit Nationalism, Casteism in neo-liberal World, Ambedkarite Dalits, White abolitionists, Racism and Brahminism.

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