A Struggle for Identity: Examining the Plight of Nepali Dalits in Badlindo Samaj by Radha Rasaily
Ms Rohini Singh, PhD Scholar, Department of English, Sikkim University, Sikkim, India
This paper will attempt to analyse the text Badlindo Samaj (Changing Societies) (1986) by Radha Rasaily by focusing on casteism as a form of oppression and to unmask the unethical operations of caste discrimination in the Nepali society. Dalit writings today are more like an intensive investigation into the psychology of power, the process of domination and its relation to the culture of social inclusion and exclusion. The plights of Dalits in the Indian society have been portrayed by many Dalit and Non-Dalit Nepali writers in their literary works. The difference, however, between the Dalits in other parts of India and Nepali Dalits lies in the fact that Nepalis in India have often been associated with belonging to a culturally and linguistically similar neighboring country Nepal which causes them to experience identity crisis and a constant fear of alienation. Unfortunately, in the Nepali society caste-based violence and the gruesome atrocities towards the Nepali Dalits have not been recorded in literary texts as the Nepali literary society is mainly dominated by the upper castes and the writers of Dalit texts do not garner visibility. Representation and re-presentation of Dalits in the literary society emerges as the primary focus of these narratives and by adding a subaltern voice into Dalit discourse, writers try to bring forward personal and collective experiences of pain and humiliation into the public sphere. Gayatri C. Spivak’s famous question ‘Can the Subaltern speak?’ is a powerful statement in itself expressing how the voiceless are up against everything that has constantly marginalized them and has given the higher authorities the power to physically and mentally torment them since birth. The main aim of this paper will be to analyze Dalit discourse of resistance and identity crisis in Badlindo Samaj. Dalit Feminism emerges as a transformative framework by challenging the assumed homogeneity of ‘Woman’ and ‘Dalits’. It analyses how caste and gender simultaneously influence not only Dalit women but the upper caste men and women and Dalit men. Dalit women narratives are important in the world of Dalit writings as they highlight the psychological trauma that Dalit women are subjected to in the private and public sphere. Dalit feminism is identifying the construction of a Dalit woman. In this enormous system of class, caste and gender consciousness Nepali Dalit women in the India society are subjected to triple marginalization and are broadly termed as the minority group. Thus, this paper will analyze how Radha Rasaily displays a remarkable poise and resilience through her work to emerge as an agent of social transformation. It will look into the text through the lens of Marxism, Dalit Feminism and Subaltern studies to examine the class and caste and gender consciousness and the plight of the marginalized in the Nepali community.
Key words: Nepali Dalits, Dalit Feminism, Subaltern studies, Marxism