Dalit women ! Where are they ?
They are not behind the curtains, or lost in the huge mansions, they are not behind the “purda” or “hijab” yet they are invisible. And we dont think why, we seek escape route. We seek the help of matrimonial sites and match-makers. We pick one, and leave others along with the problem of their invisibility, in oblivion.
Before that, my elder sisters are pulled out of from english-medium school cause, “who would marry an english-speaking(or able-to-speak-english) girl” and then all of them married off after high-school cause, “who would marry a college-educated girl”. Those were Kalahandi in 1970 though 90, and a concerned grandfather.
May be both of these represent the classic case of “the cause is effect”
Thoughts have changed of course. Must have! I know in my family it did. My younger sister has a masters from IIT and a is software professional.
And a tiny fractions of the fortunate ones like her are tired of blending in. They are itching to carve a niche for themselves, their opinions and participations. Some of them launched a platform, SPARKS- A monthly e-newsletter, this month. It is beautifully designed, thanks to Ranjit, and adorned with two lively poems of Cythia Stephen. Have a look yourself, and if you are a dalit women find yourself in there. If you are not read stories of the other side.
I have basically no knowledge on dalit feminism. Although I had identified problems like I have mentioned previously, I didnt associate it with some movement. It still is not very much, I am told. I am hoping to find if they are problematizing their own absence, if you must ask, from the middle-class public spaces. If they are questioning how they are slimmed down to such invisibility and insignificance “here” when they work shoulder to shoulder “there” as manual scavengers, sweepers and laborers in fields. If they think its the intrinsic patriarchal nature of a dalit society which got bolstered of the availability of conducive environment or its an adaptation of the upper-caste upper-class values that the privileged dalits desperately want to imbibe. There are already some great poetries and essays of Dalit women academics and activists I am introduced to lately. I hope SPARKS will ensured I am not starved now.