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Abstract 80

Graded Caste Dynamics in Ratan Kumar Sambharia’s Thunder Storm

Mr Vikaskumar Revabhai Solanki

PhD Scholar, Department of English and Foreign Languages, Indira Gandhi National Tribal University, Amarkantak, Madhya Pradesh, India

For many centuries the largest strata of the Indian society have been considered low in the caste structure and treated as subhuman, and tormented with multifarious caste-based discriminations. The defenders of the caste system argue that the caste system is a division of labour but Dr. B. R Ambedkar rejects this notion stressing that it is not a division of labour but a division of labourers, that too on the basis of the gradation i.e. those who are at the top of the vertical caste ladder, they have been privileged with all the rights to claim superiority over the others. This graded caste system supported with religious sanctions has deprived those placed at the bottom of caste structure of the basic rights of human life. Though the caste system originated in the remote past of the socio-cultural history of Indian development, however, it still prevails in the social practices. Hon’ble Supreme Court while deciding cases such as Prithvi Raj Chauhan vs Union of India in Writ Petition 1015 & 1016 (2018) has expressed its worry over historicized disadvantageous position of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (a constitutional term for socially created low castes) which clearly exhibits that graded caste inequalities still exist.

The graded caste ridden social framework which has regulated human psyche and carried forward the caste-based hegemonic ideological design. The primary objective of this research paper is to analyze inhuman status of socially created low castes emerged out of hegemonic caste constructions in Ratan Kumar Sambharia’s short story collection, Thunder Storm. Delving deep into the portrayal of subtle caste oriented ideological system and prolonged caste-based domination over other castes, this paper explicates the treatment of ‘otherness’ which segregates Dalits from the mainstream social order and leaves them fragmented into the various lower- caste division. This sense of “Otherness” and their marginalized situation have brought new challenges to stand before oppression with the changing time.

The caste divide has made the life of Dalits pitiable undoubtedly, however, a new consciousness sprouted amidst them is fighting back against graded caste system. Being motivated with the ideologies of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, educated and non-educated Dalits both are demanding emancipation from their subjugated and objectified identities. The stories of Ratan Kumar Sambharia deal with multidimensional spaces of caste system and its breaking boundaries in the contemporary scenario.

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