ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

Violence Against Women in Dalit Literature in Hindi


Browarczyk Monika - Adam Mickiewicz Univeristy, Institute of Oriental Studies, Poznan, Poland


21- Panel Title: Violence against women in South Asian countries


 Dalit literature, or one of the most interesting literary movements of the last five decades that spans almost all regional languages of India, is deeply rooted in conceptualisation of literature, or any form of cultural production of the marginalised, as a means to bring about emancipation by democratisation of public sphere. The paper scrutinizes narrative strategies used by Dalit authors to review and retell instances of violence against women in Dalit literature in Hindi. Numerous instances of gender-based aggression aimed at girls and women of different ages, castes, social strata, ethnicities and religious affiliations demonstrate that the gender-based aggression in India needs to be analysed at the intersection of the established power structures of state, caste, class, ethnicity, religion and family (Chakravarti 2003). The caste system and patriarchy within Indian society and within the Dalit community add to the inequality of Dalit women. They become survivors of violence, due to their exploitation by the caste system, and by Dalit and non-Dalit men (‘graded violence’, Rege 2013: 143). Continuous character of violence against women and the constant presence of some of its forms that might be interiorized by women and misinterpreted by them as ‘normal’ male behaviour, may cause that different women tend to define violence differently (Kelly 1987). The paper studies Dalit writings in Hindi to analyse if and how they narrate ‘continuum of violence’ and ‘graded violence’