Dalit or Brahmanical Patriarchy? Rethinking Indian Feminism

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Sunaina Arya

Abstract

The present paper argues that the conceptualisation of notions like ‘dalit’ or ‘intracaste’ or ‘multiple’ patriarchies results from a misunderstanding of the concept brahmanical patriarchy. The category ‘dalit patriarchy’ is gaining popularity in academic and political discourse of contemporary India. It is introduced by Gopal Guru in his seminal essay ‘Dalit Women Talk Differently’ only to challenge patriarchal practices within ‘lower’ caste groups. But mainstream feminists of India attempted to propagate and proliferate this vague concept. They argue that dalit men, as a part of their exploitation by ‘upper’ caste, also face taunts regarding their masculinity which results in their aggressive behaviour on dalit women; which has been called as ‘dalit patriarchy’. The paper argues that conceptualisation of such notions yields no advancement in our endeavours toward a gender-just society, rather it is misleading. Evaluating articulations in mainstream Indian feminism, we need to think through: what effect does this have on our feminist struggle? what is at stake? what possibly can be a resolution? Thus, by exposing flaws about ‘dalit patriarchy’—including a detailed discussion on the empirical, theoretical, and logical shortcomings—this paper seeks to initiate a theoretical rethinking of feminist as well as dalit scholarship, with employment of analytical, hermeneutical and critical methods.

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How to Cite
Arya, S. (2020). Dalit or Brahmanical Patriarchy? Rethinking Indian Feminism. CASTE / A Global Journal on Social Exclusion, 1(1), 217-228. https://doi.org/10.26812/caste.v1i1.54
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Research Articles