Thursday, October 25, 2018

Who speaks for whom? A peek into our new release: Gendering Caste

Systematically organized and exhaustively researched, Gendering Caste: Through a Feminist Lens is a well-rounded discussion on divergent feminist interests. It moves from a common bond of oppression that women face universally towards a more diversified form of oppression and struggle that delineates gender inequality intersected by caste.

Maithreyi Krishnaraj, series editor states that “Patriarchy in India, Uma explains, is in the plural (and the word is used as an adjective), not a monolithic unchanging system”. In the wake of the recent feminist wave that advocates an examination of inequality in terms of multiple vectors, Chakravarti’s work is an excellent study into how caste violence influences, disintegrates and attacks women in particular. One of the most interesting chapters from the book, “Caste and Gender in Contemporary India” discusses women’s complicity in the caste politics and this is by far the most brutally honest rendition on internalization of both patriarchy as well as the caste system. This chapter highlights as to how gender and caste are inextricably linked, thus reproducing the structure of oppression many folds.

The book also explicitly derives that caste is responsible for dividing women and erasing the possibility of a sisterhood amongst women. Uma Chakravarti traces this argument and takes it forward through an organized research on different levels. The ideological and material hold of patriarchy is investigated to determine not just gender inequality or subsequent oppression but it also put forth a dark reality of two kinds of oppression mechanisms correlated and interdependent. Specific and worse forms of oppression experienced by Dalit women are informed in this work.

The series editor introduces the ideas that Chakravarti has discussed in this extensive work and pauses at few questions in her Foreword. She states that symbols of caste are laden with meanings of hierarchy and to discard these symbols would scoop out a major portion of Hindu religion and its manifestation. “These are things to ponder on”, she says.

Read more if you are interested in this inextricably twisted dynamics of Gender and caste, order your copy of the book @ 

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