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eISSN 2582-0427 || || Crossref Member || UGC-CARE Enlisted || Journal Impact Factor

Challenging the Savarna Articulation of Gender Equality: The Rise of Dalit Feminist Viewpoint

The emergence of Dalit feminist viewpoint,as an autonomous force,in parallel to the dominant imaginationof feminist politics in India led by the English-speaking upper caste/middle classsavarna women, marks a paradigmatic shift in our doing of gender politics, which seeksto reformulate an alternative agenda of women’s emancipation by including the specificities of the lived realities of women belonging to marginalised social locations.It critiques the essentialist and monolithic imagination of the category of ‘woman’ and seeks to radicalise our approach to the question of women’s liberation by pluralising the personal experiences of women belonging to different socio-political backgrounds. It foregrounds the intersectionality of caste, class and gender locations of women as an analytic tool to diversify the ways in which women are oppressed and exploited on the daily basis. It demands broadening of the contours of feminist imagination by stressing on the role of family, community, education, sexuality in sustaining gender norms and caste hierarchies that keep women within the ascribed roles of childbearing and nurtures of families. The role of caste as the producer of social hierarchies, perpetuator of gender discrimination and material exploitation is examined from the inersectionality of caste, class and genderin order to formulatean inclusivefeministframework to provide a rightful space to the lost voices of marginalised Dalit women. The paper foregrounds and analyses the collective fight of Dalit womenfor restoringequality, subjectivity, autonomy and dignified identity from the interlocked pointsof thecaste, class and gender locations,thus underscoring the need for launching a holistic critique of the social, political and economic structures that subordinate women and relegate them to the margins of society.

Keywords: caste, discrimination, gender, feminism, marginalised, subjectivity, savarna.

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