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Abstract 71

Twice Untouchables: A Study of Dalit Queer Identity in R. Raj Rao’s The Boyfriend

Dr Kiran Kalra, Assistant Professor of English, Padma Shri Padma Sachdev Government P.G. College for Women, Gandhi Nagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India

"Who desires, whom you desire, who gets to desire, whose desirability counts is a manifestation of caste." - Dhiren Borisa

Caste impacts all aspects of life in India. Even today people are judged on the basis of the caste they are born into. Their struggle to combat inequality in the society has been a historic one. There is another community of people which is fighting for basic human rights, the LGBTQ community. The LGBT movement has gained momentum only in recent times. Caste and sexuality often considered as two different things are, in fact, two sides of the same coin. Caste privilege is manifested within the sphere of the LGBTQ movement in India. LGBT groups and spaces are mostly led by upper-caste-class people voicing issues concerning to certain section of LGBT people while ignoring others. These voices are mostly present in the big cities and towns. Gay politics in India does not include caste; Dalit politics remains as homophobic as any other politics.Therefore, there is a need to examine and introspect different socio-political factors within the movement and to take into account the intersectionality of Dalit and LGBT movement.

The present paper aims to study manifestation of caste in queer spaces in India through a study of R. Raj Rao’s first novel The Boyfriend. The novel, set in the gay culture of Mumbai, deals with a complex homosexual relationship entangled in the criss cross network of class, caste, religion, and other expressions and determinants of power.

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