“Dalit Women’s Bodies: From Docile to Resistive”
PhD Scholar, National Institute of Technology, Patna, Bihar, India
In his book "Discipline and Punish," Michel Foucault has highlighted that the body acts as both the object and the target in a power relationship. The whole purpose of this power is to make sure that the norms of the society remain the same. In a graded society like India, where inequality is apparent because of the prevalent caste system, the idea of power is employed to keep a particular group of people, i.e., Dalits, in control and subordination. Even among Dalits, Dalit women are harrassed owing to their caste-gender intersection. With no power to exert or execute, Dalit women are the most vulnerable group in Indian society. Their bodies are severely scrutinised, and in a true Foucauldian fashion, they are regulated and accustomed to behaving submissively. They are being objectified by the upper caste people and are harassed, raped, and violated in their day-to-day lives. The present paper looks at the challenge faced by Dalit women by analysing two works by Bama Sangati and Karukku. Delving into the concept of body, the present paper aims to highlight the objectification of Dalit women's bodies by the men of upper caste and Dalit men and the subsequent resistance of Dalit women to this idea of objectification. The present paper will explore how the Dalit women have changed their docile bodies into resistive bodies.
Keywords: Power, Hegemony, Body, Dalit women, Resistance